The Timberwolves are telling teams that inquire on the availability of Jimmy Butler that they intend to keep him, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Butler, who has been unhappy with his situation in Minnesota, recently requested a trade, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, with Wojnarowski reporting the Knicks, Nets, and Clippers are Butler's preferred destinations.
Wojnarowski added that the Clippers are where Butler is "most determined" to land if a trade is to go down.
Darren Wolfson reported in July that Butler turned down a 4-year, $110 million contract extension with the Timberwolves.
The 29-year-old Butler is set -- for now -- to become a free agent after the 2018-19 season. And Knicks brass intimated Thursday that they didn't plan to pursue Butler.
"Our plan is not to use draft picks as assets (in trades)," Knicks president Steve Mills said Thursday, adding that the team won't skip steps when it comes to their rebuilding plan.
New head coach David Fizdale echoed Mills' sentiments, saying he's "locked in" to the idea of patience.
"We don't want to jump at the shiny things," Fizdale said. "We want to make solid decisions and be patient with this process."
Butler was an All-Star last year during his first season with the Timberwolves, when he averaged 22.2 points, 4.9 assists and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 47.4 percent from the field and 35 percent from three.
He fueled the fire in July by liking an Instagram comment calling for him and Kyrie Irving, who can also become a free agent next season, to join the Knicks. But he also liked an Instagram post earlier in the month week of him in a Spurs jersey.
If the Timberwolves don't trade Butler, he will be available to the Knicks and other teams with enough cap space after the season -- along with the rest of the star-studded 2019 free agent class.