On Wednesday, Jon Krawczynski and Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Butler had requested a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves and informed Tom Thibodeau about his decision after their meeting Tuesday in Los Angeles.
The Nets have been able to hoard cap space for the summer of 2019, but are still a bit thin on future first-round draft picks - likely to be necessary to wrest Butler away from the Timberwolves. He spent his first six seasons with the Chicago Bulls.
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.
Thibodeau had been planning to meet with Butler in Minnesota about the situation but instead traveled to LA to see him earlier this week.
Butler would make an immediate impact for the Knicks even without Kyrie should they lose patience and trade for him. While the Lakers could put together an offer revolving around Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Lonzo Ball, we'll exclude them for now, since KCP would have to consent to being traded and couldn't be moved until December 15 anyway.
The case for making a change in the Wolves' power structure is rather simple.
"Why Butler would want to go there and sign?"
Other expiring deals the Nets could potentially offer to the Timberwolves, who are negotiating with All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns on a max extension, are DeMarre Carroll, Kenneth Faried and Jared Dudley, as well as Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, entering the final year of his rookie deal.
There is nothing as important as keeping Towns happy and right now that's not the case. As for the Timberwolves who dealt him?
Former Knicks president Phil Jackson signed Noah to a four-year, $72 million contract in July 2016. If he doesn't, he will become a restricted free agent next offseason.
Butler remains a star player who has an unquestioned work ethic on the floor, but he turned 29 last week and has played in all 82 regular-season games only once in seven seasons.
PRO: Putting Butler, Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, and whatever combination of Gordon Hayward and young players (whomever doesn't get traded among Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, and Jayson Tatum) on the floor makes Boston the favorite to win the East. Alienating him would be a massive mistake.
Butler had once imagined playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, but LeBron James' arrival as the franchise's cornerstone made it less appealing for Butler in the prime of his career, league sources said.