Shortly after rumors of his desire to leave New York for a contender arose, Marc Berman of The New York Post reports that the Knicks are looking to trade shooting guard Courtney Lee in hopes to garner even more cap space.
The Knicks will likely take some kind of loss after agreeing to a buyout (the most likely scenario) with inactive center Joakim Noah, money they could regain by trading Lee and waiving some pieces of their return.
New York has yet to seriously consider the possibility of trading for estranged forward Jimmy Butler, given that they could get him as a free agent next season. The front office's insistence in not trading their draft picks proves the ultimate roadblock to a deal taking place.
Out of the teams that Butler preferred — the L.A. Clippers, Brooklyn Nets and the Knicks — the Clippers boast the most package-ready ensemble to offer for Butler, but it'll be up to the first team to present the right bundle in exchange that can garner his services.
The Knicks have the right cap space to sign Butler to his desired five-year, $140 million deal as a free agent, but they would have to conjure up a trade involving only players as compensation for Butler, one in which Lee could play part with $25 million still left in his deal.
Management seemed rather ambivalent about Butler's trade request during Thursday's press conference, but if any trade goes down between the Knicks and the Timberwolves, it's a near-guarantee that Lee will come up in talks.