The Houston Rockets are making a renewed bid to acquire Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Jimmy Butler, including four future first-round draft picks in their most recent offer, league sources told ESPN.
The Timberwolves have continued to solicit offers on Butler since the start of the regular season, the sources said.
Houston’s push represents a desire to sacrifice some long-term roster flexibility and go all-in with a legitimate third star to partner with All-NBA guards James Harden and Chris Paul in pursuit of a championship.
The Rockets’ offer constitutes the maximum number of first-round picks allowable in a deal, factoring in league rules that necessitate no first-rounders can be conveyed in successive years, and no pick can be traded farther out than seven seasons.
The lottery protections on picks in this proposed deal would be limited.
Discussions on the players involved in the Minnesota-Houston talks remain fluid, league sources said.
So far, Minnesota has been unmoved on offers for Butler, who requested a trade in the preseason and has told the organization that he plans to leave in free agency this summer.
The Rockets would be trading for Butler with a strong desire to re-sign him this summer to a long-term contract extension. Butler, 29, plans to become an unrestricted free agent.
Once Butler returned to the team to start the regular season, owner Glen Taylor made an assurance to Butler that the franchise would trade him as soon as the organization was satisfied with an offer, league sources said.
Taylor could have more interest in long-term draft assets than president of basketball operations and coach Tom Thibodeau, who wants the Wolves to continue as contenders now and may not be part of the organization when many of those potential picks are conveyed.
Still, those picks could become immediate trade assets for Minnesota to use in other deals — or perhaps to incentivize additional teams to take on forward Gorgui Dieng’s remaining $48 million in a trade.
Butler, 29, is averaging 24.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.8 steals in his first four starts this season.
Source: Read Full Article