Jimmy Butler to bypass Minnesota Timberwolves' media day

Could Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard team up in LA with the Clippers

Butler has made his list of preferred teams known, but as we saw in the Kyrie Irving deal, those list rarely are a factor. Taylor is attending the NBA's Board of Governors meetings today in NY, which include owners and top basketball executives. This seems to indicate that Butler will force Taylor's hand and trade him prior to the season starting. Thibodeau is said to be resisting the idea.

One possible concern they face is trying to accommodate Butler's $19.84 million salary for the upcoming campaign, given that they're already set to pay a luxury tax this season.

Butler requested a trade from the team Wednesday, telling team president and coach Tom Thibodeau that he was only willing to sign an extension with the Clippers, Knicks and Nets, with Los Angeles being his top choice. The second vacancy could go to All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard, who could be a free agent next summer after his trade from San Antonio to Toronto two months ago.

Kawhi Leonard #30 and Jimmy Butler #50 of the 2015 USA Basketball Men's National Team talk during a practice session. |Aug. 10 2015- Source Ethan Miller  Getty Images North America
Report: LA Clippers are front-runners to sign Kawhi Leonard if he enters free agency

The Knicks are slowly but surely building back up their reputation around the league, and Butler could be the piece needed to jumpstart a larger plan for the summer of 2019. A Timberwolves' roster without Jimmy Butler would out Andrew Wiggins in an excellent position to up his shot totals and earn every penny of his max contract numbers-wise. However, more competition as well as numerous teams will also have cap space.

If Butler reaches free agency, Minnesota could still re-sign him at five years and $190 million using its full Bird rights, but any other team would be limited to an offer of four years and $141 million.

Butler is downplaying his fractured relationship with Towns as a reason for wanting a trade, league sources said.

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