With the 2018-19 NBA regular season just days away, it is now being reported that the Wolves are prepared to being their season with Butler on their roster. The report first came from Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic and points to a potential breakdown in talks between Minnesota and Miami:
“Jimmy Butler has returned to Minnesota and reiterated his desire to be traded in a meeting with president and coach Tom Thibodeau on Monday, league sources told The Athletic.
“Barring a change in the dwindling trade market between now and the season opener in San Antonio on Oct. 17, the Timberwolves are making preparations to start the season with Butler on the roster, league sources said.”
Despite the fact that Butler may very well begin this season on the Timberwolves’ roster, Krawczynski did report that they still plan to move the four-time All-Star, but not until they receive a deal that they deem worthwhile.
“We’re always going to do what’s best for the team. That’s the important thing for everyone to understand,” Wolves head coach Tom Thibodeau said on Tuesday. “If that means he’s here, then he’ll be here. If that means he’s not here, then he’s not here. So just focus on what we have.”
Thibodeau has received criticism both from within and from outside his own organization for an apparent reluctance to part ways with the disgruntled star. While his somewhat outlandish trade demands have kept Butler on the Timberwolves roster for the time being, it does seem likely that he will eventually get moved before the trade deadline in several months.
If the Wolves fail to get a deal done before the deadline, Butler will remain on their roster for the entirety of the season. That is until he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Considering the fact that Butler pegged Miami as his preferred trade destination just weeks ago, it seems very likely that the Heat will remain one of the most likely destinations for him throughout the upcoming season. If they have any desire to be considered one of the primary contenders in the Eastern Conference this season, they’ll want to get a deal done sooner rather than later.