Published: Mon, September 24, 2018
Sport | By Patty Hardy

Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor wants Jimmy Butler trade done quickly

Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor wants Jimmy Butler trade done quickly

It was a bad sign when this week's meeting between Butler and Thibodeau was moved from Minneapolis Monday to Los Angeles Tuesday.

If a loaded Western Conference wasn't enough, the OKC Thunder were staring down the barrel of a season long battle to win the Northwest division.

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Karl-Anthony Towns (32) is congratulated by teammate Andrew Wiggins (22) during the fourth quarter of the team's NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, March 28, 2018 in Minneapolis.

Thibodeau doesn't want to trade Butler, especially in a scenario that would imperil the franchise's ability to reach the playoffs for a second straight year after missing the postseason the previous 13 seasons, league sources said. Initial reports were head coach Tom Thibodeau did not want to deal the All-Star. Taylor, who was involved with trades surrounding Kevin Garnett and Kevin Love, plans to avoid that. But how exactly do the Thunder benefit from his inevitable trade to an alternate destination? He could possibly do it if the Butler trade request is accomplished before the start of the new season.

Towns' willingness to finally sign his max deal means that he nearly certainly has been assured he's never going to have to see Butler in the Wolves' locker room ever again. It remains to be seen how quick and decisive the Wolves will be able to get a deal with the three teams (Knicks, Brooklyn Nets & LA Clippers) that Butler has given them.

The Miami Heat have been interested in Butler too, league sources said, although the Heat don't have the salary-cap space in July to pursue him.

Butler and Towns led the way on the court but it's clear now they did not click off the court. Trading for a 29-year-old Butler and paying him $190 million until he's 34 may fall under the category of skipping steps.

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