When it was first reported that Jimmy Butler wanted out of Minnesota, it was believed that the Knicks were on his short list of preferred teams. Remember, the team acquiring Butler needed to feel confident they could re-sign him as a free agent next summer, so who he preferred to play for mattered at the time.
Minnesota's Jimmy Butler has three preferred destinations for a trade, league sources tell ESPN: The Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks. Those three teams have max cap space to sign Butler as a free agent in July.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 19, 2018
Since then, we learned the Knicks didn’t even kick the tires on Butler. And, of course, he was subsequently traded to Philadelphia.
With the Knicks set to face-off against Butler and the 76ers on Wednesday, local reporters are revisiting Butler’s supposed interest in New York.
Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia inquirer tells us Butler was never interested in joining the Knicks.
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) November 28, 2018
Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News questioned Butler, directly, about his interest in wearing blue and orange. Bondy writes:
Butler seems very happy in Philly, and every indication is that he’s off the table for the Knicks in free agency since the Sixers can — and likely will — offer him the most money in July. Butler, according to sources, included the Knicks on his preferred destinations prior to the trade and would’ve re-upped in free agency.
When [Bondy] asked him about that Tuesday – a day before his Sixers host the Knicks – Butler claimed amnesia.
“I don’t know,” Butler said. “And to tell you the truth, I don’t talk about the trade because I’m here, I’m loving it here man and all of that is in the past so I’m leaving it just there.”
Why this matters: While Jimmy Butler seems happy in Philadelphia, and it seems increasingly unlikely he would leave a contending team in the East to join a lottery team next summer, the NBA is a crazy world where crazy things happen, so until he has signed his new contract with Philadelphia, the speculation will continue.