Butler will be a free agent this summer but wants out of Minnesota. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Butler's three choices are the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, and the Los Angeles Clippers.
So on June 22, 2017, with the Timberwolves on the clock - though the trade between the Bulls and Timberwolves for Jimmy Butler had been agreed upon - they "selected" Markkanen.
The Knicks, much like the Clippers and Nets, also have enough cap space to bring in a top-tier free agent, but what separates NY from LA and Brooklyn is its All-Star talent in Porzingis - a rising 23-year-old star who's years away from his prime.
The Clippers have a roster that includes a blend of good, hard-playing veterans (Tobias Harris, Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams) and talented young guards who could appeal to Thibodeau's desire to surround All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns and forward Andrew Wiggins with playoff-competent talent.
The Knicks are shopping Courtney Lee, who is amenable to being traded to a contender. One reason Towns is dragging his feet on signing a contract that will pay him life-changing money is believed to be because of his feelings toward Butler.
Butler's impact on the Wolves was easy to see last season.
As previously noted though, Minnesota will have the final say on Butler trade request and where he lands, which could ultimately end up being the difference of $50 million and another year on a future contract. The Knicks are not willing to trade young stars like Kevin Knox or Kristaps Porzingis, the Nets finished 12th in the Eastern Conference previous year and the Clippers don't have any potential All-Stars on their roster.
Butler is most interested in joining the Clippers.
The Knicks could offer Courtney Lee, but not much else that would help the team contend next season. Butler didn't have LeBron on his list of teams he'd like to be traded to. Thibodeau wants to keep Butler this season in hopes of making a deep playoff run after losing in the first round to the Rockets past year. (See Leonard, Kawhi). And Vegas thinks the Sixers are the most likely new team for Butler to start the season on. I'm not giving up hope yet, though, because Daryl Morey is an actual magician that could make a deal if needed.
Can the Rockets give them that deal?
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