Jimmy Butler reportedly has requested a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves, but don’t expect this move to be the beginning of a rebuild.
T-Wolves head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau doesn’t seem interested in starting over, according to this report from Sean Deveney of The Sporting News.
“According to multiple league sources, coach Tom Thibodeau has no intention of letting Butler go for young, rebuilding-type pieces,” Deveney wrote Thursday. “Thibodeau, hotly pursued as a coaching free agent after leaving Chicago in 2015, went to Minnesota because he thought the team would be ready to contend quickly.”
Deveney later added: “Thibodeau has zero interest in taking a step back with Minnesota, even, according to sources, if it means he ultimately parts ways with the team.”
It sounds like Thibodeau, if he trades Butler at all, only is interested in the type of return the San Antonio Spurs received from the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Kawhi Leonard. The Spurs got an All-Star guard and 20-plus points per game scorer in DeMar Derozan and other pieces that will help them contend now, instead of seeking attractive lottery picks that could accelerate a rebuild.
This type of path would make sense for Minnesota. They have a lot of talent, headlined by recent No. 1 overall draft picks Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. They aren’t close to a rebuilding situation with or without Butler, so getting a veteran star in return for him would be a smart move.
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