Jimmy Butler’s trade request creates even more uncertainty for the Minnesota Timberwolves

Jimmy Butler

This doesn't necessarily mean that the Clippers are guaranteed to land Butler - according to numerous reports, Thibodeau has remained reluctant to actually trade the two-way star. However, more competition as well as numerous teams will also have cap space.

Butler's ability to partner on the Clippers with a second star player in a deep summer free agency market holds a strong appeal to Butler, league sources said.

Butler is the latest in a line of stars to turn down the opportunity to play with James. With everything that is going on surrounding him, it will be inevitable to see him with a new team possibly sooner than later. NY is expected to pursue Irving aggressively next summer, so if Butler signed there long-term, it would increase the likelihood that his buddy would leave Boston to join him. The guard willed Minnesota to the playoffs, snapping a 13-year postseason drought.

Butler has two years remaining on his contract but has the option to opt-out after this coming season and that's exactly what he would do. He has provided a list of one to three teams with which he would be open to signing a long-term deal, sources said.

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Getting a deal done theoretically is one thing.

The Clips have emerged as "front-runners" to sign Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard when he hits free agency next summer, Wojnarowski reported Wednesday, so it's more plausible L.A. uses its two maximum contract slots to sign Butler and Leonard, rather than Butler and Irving. With headlines about Butler trades and his preferred destinations, only a fellow former Golden Eagle can be bold enough to pull a clever recruitment like this.

In July, Butler reportedly turned down Minnesota's four-year extension offer worth $110 million.

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