Butler will be meeting with coach Tom Thibodeau and general manager Scott Layden on Monday to "have honest conversations about [Butler's] future with the team," Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic reports.
Butler, who is in the final year of his contract, turned down a four-year, $110 million extension from Minnesota in mid-July. That news added to the already swirling rumors that the organization and Butler were not seeing eye-to-eye. Now, it appears the two sides will sit down and have a formal meeting about his future as part of the Timberwolves. Considering Butler's impending free agency, it's possible the team could look to trade the All-Star while they still can in order to get a return, rather than him potentially walking next summer. Though Butler has an injury history, he'll be entering his age 28 season and is coming off 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.0 steals per contest, making him a hot commodity in the open market. It's possible information about the meeting itself will emerge Monday or later in the week.
Butler underwent an elective right hand procedure Tuesday, but has already returned to offseason activities.
It wasn't previously reported that Butler was dealing with any sort of hand injury, so Tuesday's procedure does come as a bit of a surprise. That said, the fact that Butler has already been cleared to participate in offseason activities suggests the surgery was extremely minor and shouldn't impact his availability for the start of training camp. Butler reportedly turned down a four-year, $110 million extension with the Timberwolves earlier this offseason, but he's still set to be the team's go-to option heading into the upcoming campaign after averaging 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.2 three-pointers during his first year in Minnesota.
Butler, who played his first season with the Wolves last year, has a $19.8 million player option for the 2019-20 season. He'll presumably turn that down as well, opting into free agency with an opportunity to explore more options. Prior to tearing his meniscus in late February, the four-time All-Star averaged 22.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.9 steals while shooting 47.3 percent from the field and 35.6 percent from deep. His shooting percentage and steals per game both represented career highs. Considering his future with the team is now in limbo, it's possible the Timberwolves begin exploring trade options for Butler if there's fear he will leave in the summer of 2019.
Coach Tom Thibodeau said Butler's knee injury in Game 5 against the Rockets was simply soreness and that he won't need any sort of procedure during the offseason, Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune reports.
Butler had surgery on his right knee at the end of February, eventually forcing him to sit out 17 games while going through the recovery process. He was cleared for the final few outings of the regular season and for the playoffs, seeing a full workload against the Rockets for all but the final game of their first-round series. Coach Tom Thibodeau confirmed Monday that his star wing wasn't dealing with anything more than some soreness in his knee and Butler will be able to avoid any sort of procedure, so look for him to be fully ready by the time training camp arrives. Butler is set to make $18.7 million next season and he should once again serve as one of the Timberwolves' go-to options.
Coach Tom Thibodeau said Butler didn't play in the fourth quarter of Wednesday's loss to the Rockets because of soreness in his surgically repaired knee, Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com reports.
This could help explain Butler's relatively quiet night, as he finished with just 10 points (4-10 FG, 0-1 3Pt), five rebounds, five assists, a steal and a block across 30 minutes as the Timberwolves were eliminated from the playoffs. The 28-year-old returned from right knee surgery late in the season and didn't have much time to get up to speed before the postseason, so some soreness isn't all too surprising. Expect an update on his status once the Timberwolves provide one.
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