Butler turned down a relatively modest 4-year, $110 million contract extension offer from the team this summer.
Butler's ability to partner on the Clippers with a second star player in a deep summer free agency market holds a strong appeal to Butler, league sources said.
While they are free agents, in order to get space for the two max players, the Clippers would have to renounce most of, if not all, of their bird rights which means they can not be signed over the cap. But the organization can ship him anywhere, especially if another team can send a better trade package that will help the team.
There have also been questions about Butler's relationship with younger teammates Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns.
Butler bent on leaving - and accepting less than the mega-max available to him if he stays - means they could have to deal him for pennies on the dollar. "Even if he has to agree to dissolve the contract, they'd do that before they go and trade Butler for draft picks".
So despite his request for a trade, it seems likely Butler will remain in Minnesota - and likely will for some time to come. That would allow them to have more salary-cap space in July if they try to sign a player they won't mortgage any of their future for now.
T-Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau has been resistant to the idea of trading Butler but is running out of options with the team's training camp set to start on Tuesday. In fact, he said what many people believe, which is that Wiggins has hella talent but no heart, and if you remove Butler from the squad, you'd be left with tons of potential and minimal grit.
So, is it to risk losing next summers' draft pick along with other players in order to get Butler in a guaranteed spot with the team?
With under a week to go before players report to their respective franchise, a Butler trade could send the start of the National Basketball Association season into a wild place. But the teams did what was best for them. I'm not giving up hope yet, though, because Daryl Morey is an actual magician that could make a deal if needed.