While the Timberwolves reportedly don't want to trade Butler, the Marquette product will be a free agent next offseason and it doesn't sound like he wants to make the Twin Cities his long-term home. Anyone reading that would conclude the only option for the Timberwolves is to trade him and get something back for him. In other words, they are determined to lose him for absolutely nothing.
But ESPN also reported that owner Glen Taylor is expected to be involved in any discussions about a potential trade, and is far more willing to unload Butler than the front office.
But still, plenty of players get traded to teams that aren't on their "list". None of those apply for Butler's current team.
Whether or not the Timberwolves trade Butler, who is entering the final year of his contract, could come down to who is making the decision in the organization. Players signed this summer can't be traded until at least December 15 (and, in specific instances, January 15), which greatly reduces Minnesota's flexibility to make the best deal it can for one of the league's elite wing players. Taylor doesn't want this process to weigh down Minnesota all season, nor should he.
Should that happen, it would give John Paxson a significant win in the trade, considering that Minnesota would have lost their main asset in the trade that brought the Bulls Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, and Lauri Markkanen. Butler's time with the Wolves saw Minnesota return to the National Basketball Association playoffs for the first time in over a decade.
And Butler has reportedly had problems in Minnesota, with Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns - two of the team's young players - being cited most often as players Butler has taken issue with. If Butler is forced to stay, they'll have to deal with the drama the entire season, and then he'll go to the Clippers for nothing. Towns and Wiggins are great players and at this point better than Butler.