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Source: Thibodeau still reluctant to trade Jimmy Butler

September 25, 2018

A source told the Star Tribune on Tuesday that Tom Thibodeau is still reluctant to trade Jimmy Butler, information at odds with what Thibodeau is saying publicly.

Thibodeau, the Wolves head coach and president of basketball operations, said many times during media day Monday and reiterated at the teams first practice Tuesday that the team is working to honor the trade request Butler made last week.

Thibodeau met with Butler on Monday to try again and convince Butler to stay but Butler remained steadfast in his desire to leave, according to a report from ESPN.

Thibodeau declined to discuss what he told Butler on Monday and reiterated his comments from the Wolves media day that the team was looking for the best deal it could for Butler.

Well look at whats out there and if something is good for us thats what we want to do, Thibodeau said Tuesday. Were going to honor his request but were not going to do a bad deal. I think we made that clear [Monday].

Teams have lobbied owner Glen Taylor, who also owns the Star Tribune, in an attempt to facilitate a deal, according to the ESPN report. The report did say general manager Scott Layden, who is handling the trade calls, has moved on to asking for stars, starters and draft picks in exchange for Butler.

A source said Taylor has been in regular contact with Butlers camp, assuring them that the team is working toward completing a deal.

Taylor has referred teams to go through Layden and Thibodeau for any trade requests and on Saturday Taylor spoke with Thibodeau and Layden to tell them the organization should try to complete a deal for Butler quickly.

These stances could be posturing on the part of the Wolves or on the part of rival teams to maximize leverage. Other teams might want to paint the picture of dysfunction in the Wolves organization in order to make them more desperate to accept a bad deal.

Thibodeau and Layden might be slow playing their responses in order to get teams to up their offers and buy more time for a trade market to develop in a tricky time just before the season begins.

Layden disputed that notion at Mondays media day, saying the timing of the request didnt dampen the kind of trade market that exists for Butler.

Thibodeau said nothing changed from Monday to Tuesday.

Im going to reiterate that were trying to make the best deal for the Timberwolves, Thibodeau said. Thats what we have to look after. Thats what my job is. Thats what Scotts job is and obviously a move of this magnitude, Glen is involved with it too just as he was with [Karl-Anthony Towns extension] because those are major decisions.

Butler remained in the Twin Cities on Tuesday and worked out at a local gym. On Monday, he played a pickup basketball game in Minneapolis.

The official line is that Butler needs a week to continue rehabilitating his right wrist after Butler had surgery on the wrist in July. Thibodeau said he expects Butler back on the team after a week if the Wolves have not dealt him by then.

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