Q: Will Jimmy Butler ever get traded? I’m starting to feel bad for the guy. — @codylaws2 from Twitter. Marc Stein: I remain convinced that, yes, Butler will be traded — somehow. Things have gotten so farcical just since our last newsletter that the Timberwolves surely understand, deep down, that trying to hang onto Butler for a little longer, like the Denver Nuggets did with Carmelo Anthony in 2010 after a trade with the Nets collapsed shortly before training camp, is doomed to flop in the Twin Cities. Unless Wolves management are intent on emasculating their young cornerstones Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins to an even more damaging degree than we’ve already seen, I would suspect that, at some stage, Minnesota Owner Glen Taylor will realize that the wisest course is to direct his coach and team president, Tom Thibodeau, to focus all his energies on prioritizing the two players whose long-term contracts are valued at nearly $340 million combined.
Marc Stein: Although I still can’t believe that the Wolves didn’t jump on the Heat’s offer headlined by the promising Josh Richardson, Miami continues to be the most likely Butler destination. Yet I must note that rumbles persist about Houston maintaining serious interest in trying to concoct a workable deal structure that convinces the Timberwolves to surrender their All-Star swingman — even though you hear over and over that Minnesota wants to send him East if it sends Butler anywhere, to avoid helping the Rockets establish their own superteam.