The Trail Blazers are among a handful of teams that have engaged the Minnesota Timberwolves in trade talks regarding Jimmy Butler, according to multiple reports.
One report, from NBC Sports Northwest's Dwight Jaynes, indicates that Portland's front office has made it clear that Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum will not be a part of any trade discussions.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Sunday morning that "few franchises, if any, are engaged in serious conversations with the Timberwolves on Butler," but that Portland, Brooklyn, Detroit, Houston, Miami, Philadelphia, Sacramento and the LA Clippers have all expressed interest in "talking further" with Minnesota about trading for Butler, the four-time All-Star who asked to be traded last week. USA TODAY Sports' Jeff Zilgitt added Washington and Milwaukee to the list.
Minnesota owner Glen Taylor wants Butler dealt before the Timberwolves' first practice on Tuesday, Wojnarowski reports.
It's unclear what kind of return Taylor is looking for in a Butler trade or what other teams are offering. Because Taylor has made it clear that Minnesota will expeditiously honor Butler's trade request, the Timberwolves have reduced leverage in trade discussions.
Teams could also be concerned about Butler's long-term outlook, considering he can opt out of his contract after this season and become a free agent. They might also be worried about his injury history. Butler has missed an average of 15 games over the past five seasons.
All of those factors means there's a chance the return for Butler, a two-time All-NBA and four-time All-NBA defense selection, could be underwhelming.
If the Blazers are unwilling to include McCollum in a trade for Butler, Portland has other trade chips. The Blazers have all of their first-round picks going forward. They have young talent in Zach Collins, Anfernee Simons, Caleb Swanigan and Gary Trent Jr. And they have some younger veteran players who could interest the Timberwolves, like Al-Farouq Aminu and Maurice Harkless.
Jusuf Nurkic, who signed a four-year, $48 million contract in July, can't be traded until December 15. The same rule applies to Seth Curry and Nik Stauskas, Portland's other free-agent signings this offseason.
Jared Cowley writes about the Blazers and other topics for KGW and is the co-host of the 3-on-3 Blazers podcast. You can reach him at twitter.com/jaredcowley.
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