Report: Jimmy Butler to skip Timberwolves media day, start of training camp after trade request

<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/4912/" data-ylk="slk:Jimmy Butler">Jimmy Butler</a> has requested a trade away from the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/teams/min" data-ylk="slk:Minnesota Timberwolves">Minnesota Timberwolves</a>. (Getty)
Jimmy Butler has requested a trade away from the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Getty)

When the Minnesota Timberwolves open training camp next week, Jimmy Butler will not be present, according to a report Saturday from The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski and Shams Charania.

Butler, it seems, after requesting a trade earlier this week, will effectively stage a holdout in an attempt to engineer an exit as soon as possible.

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The Timberwolves, according to the report, have granted Butler permission to skip the team’s media day on Monday.

The Timberwolves have also reportedly “been made aware,” presumably by Butler or his representatives, that the All-Star wing will not show up for the start of training camp.

The Timberwolves begin on-court activities on Tuesday, and practice Wednesday and Thursday as well.

Timberwolves media day will be eventful

Butler’s presence would have made media day awkward. In fact, ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported that some within the Wolves organization wanted to deal Butler before Monday to avoid a potential “circus.” He not only would have had to answer questions; he would have been asked to pose for photos alongside teammates who could soon be his former teammates.

Butler’s absence, therefore, is probably for the best.

But the three-and-a-half-hour event will still be newsworthy. Tom Thibodeau, the team’s head coach and president of basketball operations, and Scott Layden, its general manager, are both scheduled to speak to reporters in a news conference-style setting.

And they – or at least Thibodeau – are reportedly at odds with ownership over whether or not to honor Butler’s request.

The dysfunctional Timberwolves can’t agree on a Butler approach

Thibodeau has reported told potential Butler suitors that the 29-year-old is not available. But owner Glen Taylor, who has been involved in major personnel decisions in the past? He has reportedly disseminated a conflicting message.

Taylor, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, informed other franchises at the NBA’s Board of Governors meetings that Butler is in fact available, and that “owners/GM’s should contact Taylor himself if necessary.”

What effect would a Butler holdout have on trade negotiations?

Butler’s request came at a tricky time for the Timberwolves. With the preseason right around the corner, and plans for the season itself all in place, those plans have been disrupted. The Wolves, therefore, can’t afford to sit on their hands and ponder the decision. In one way or another, they have to act soon.

The timing reduces Minnesota’s leverage. With pressure to get a deal done quickly, underwhelming offers become slightly more enticing. A holdout would only amplify that pressure, decreasing Butler’s value to Minnesota, and therefore decreasing the bar other teams have to clear with offers.

All signs are increasingly pointing toward a preseason trade.

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