The Minnesota Timberwolves would prefer to trade Jimmy Butler anywhere but to the Houston Rockets because they don’t want to help a conference rival in their championship pursuit.
Jimmy Butler sent shock waves throughout the NBA when he demanded a trade from the Timberwolves before the start of the season. The Rockets and Heat, among others, quickly lined up and made bids for the four-time All-Star.
We’re now a few weeks into the season, but unfortunately Minnesota hasn’t bitten on any offers.
The Rockets reportedly offered the Wolves a package centered around four first-round draft picks for Butler. The Wolves countered by telling Houston that Eric Gordon needed to be included in any deal for Butler.
The Wolves continue to have a fairly high asking price for Butler, despite the fact that he’ll be entering unrestricted free agency next summer. According to the New York Times’ Marc Stein, the Wolves aren’t too keen on trading Butler to the Rockets, because they don’t want to aid Houston’s championship aspirations.
Stein goes on to mention that if the Rockets would’ve included either Eric Gordon or P.J. Tucker along with those four first-rounders, Minnesota might have shipped Butler to Houston. Minnesota’s brass prefers not to send Butler to the Rockets and make an already talented team even deeper. But it’s just a preference, not a hard rule.
Everyone knows the Wolves have to trade Butler sometime between now and the trade deadline on Feb. 7. No team is going to let a player as talented as Butler walk away for nothing as a free agent after he has clearly expressed his desires to take his talents elsewhere. That is probably the biggest reason Butler is still a member of the Wolves.
Minnesota wants a few talented players in return for Butler so that they’ll have a good enough team around Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins to win now. But other teams aren’t going send over too much of their talent to the Wolves knowing that Minnesota is going to have to trade Butler somewhere eventually, not to mention Butler’s impending free agency will definitely make some GM’s think twice about trading for him.
The best option for Houston to is wait things out until Minnesota starts to feel more pressure from the turning pages on the calendar and then make another offer. Grabbing Butler without giving up Eric Gordon, and especially P.J. Tucker, would be ideal.