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REPORT: Cleveland Cavaliers pursuing trade for Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star SG Jimmy Butler

Reportedly, the Cleveland Cavaliers are pursuing a trade for Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star shooting guard Jimmy Butler.
Credit: Troy Taormina
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler (23) dribbles the ball in Game 1 of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center in Houston.

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to accelerate their rebuild following the departure of LeBron James to the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency in July, and they are working on a deal to add an all-star to the roster.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting the Cavaliers have joined the trade discussions for Minnesota Timberwolves shooting guard Jimmy Butler, who met with team management earlier this week and let it be known his desire to move on from the team that acquired him from the Chicago Bulls last summer.

“Cavs owner Dan Gilbert was seen talking privately with Glen Taylor at NBA Board of Governors meeting on Friday,” Wojnarowski reported. “Both others played a part in negotiated the Love-Wiggins deal.”

The deal Wojnarowski referenced in his team was a three-team trade between the Cavaliers, Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers in August of 2014, where for a pair of No. 1 overall picks in the NBA Draft, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, Cleveland got back multi-time All-Star power forward Kevin Love.

In that deal, the Timberwolves acquired Thaddeus Young from the 76ers, who got Luc Mbah a Moute and Alexy Shved from Minnesota and a 2015 first-round pick from the Cavaliers.

Credit: Jesse Johnson
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler (23) looks to get around Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) in the first half in Game 3 of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Target Center in Minneapolis.

During his first year with the Timberwolves, Butler averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.0 steals over 36.7 minutes of work in 59 regular-season games, all of which he started. Butler shot 47.4 percent from the field, 35.0 percent from three-point range and 85.4 percent from the free-throw line.

In 458 regular-season games over seven years in the NBA, Butler has averaged 16.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.5 steals while playing 32.8 minutes a night. Considered one of the best two-way players in the NBA, Butler is a career .452 shooter from the field, .339 from three-point range and .832 at the free-throw line.

Credit: Troy Taormina
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler (23) controls the ball as Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul (3) defends during the first quarter in Game 2 of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center in Houston.

A first-round pick of the Bulls in the 2011 NBA Draft out of Marquette University, Butler has averaged 16.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals in 43 playoff games, including 38 in Chicago and five with Minnesota.

During the postseason last year, Butler’s scoring average was down by nearly five points per game from the 2017 NBA Playoffs with the Bulls.

Currently, Butler is under contract for the next two years, where he is due to make $20.44 million in 2018-2019 and $19.84 million in 2019-2020. However, the 2019-2020 season is a player option, and it is expected that Butler would opt out of his contract to pursue another max deal.

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