How the Timberwolves screwed up the Jimmy Butler trade situation
Back in October 2018, the Minnesota Timberwolves were in panic mode, as star wing Jimmy Butler made it obvious that he did not want to be there and threw an infamous tantrum in practice to try and force his way out.
But even though the Timberwolves were panicking, they somehow settled for a trade offer that was significantly worse than the one they had initially received.
Of course, Minnesota ended up trading Butler to the Philadelphia 76ers that November for Dario Saric (who is no longer with the team), Robert Covington (who is nothing more than a decent role player) and a 2022 second-round draft pick (who cares?).
But at the end of October, the Timberwolves received a much more lucrative offer from another team. That team was the Houston Rockets, who, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, offered up a package that included four first-round draft picks.
Now, to be fair to the Wolves, part of their reasoning for rejecting that trade offer could have been based on the fact that they assumed those picks would probably be late first-rounders, which is valid.
After all, the Rockets would have had a team that consisted of Butler, James Harden and Chris Paul, so it’s hard to imagine that club would have finished in the lottery over the next few years.
But even if every single one of those first-rounders would have ended up being the 30th overall pick, the haul still would have been better than the one Minnesota received from Philadelphia.
The Timberwolves basically had no leverage in Butler trade discussions, as Butler was as clear as he could possibly be that he wanted out, and he was set to enter free agency that ensuing offseason.
So, the fact that Minnesota actually tried to get too picky with its demands is foolish.
Not saying that the Wolves should have just taken the first garbage offer that came their way, but if a team is offering you four first-rounders for a guy who a.) does not want to play for you and b.) can simply walk the following summer, you make the trade. Period.
It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that the Timberwolves botched this. I mean, this is an organization that wasted away 12 years of Kevin Garnett by surrounding him with Joe Smiths and Anthony Peelers and Ervin Johnsons.
But taking into consideration what Minnesota gave up just to get Butler the year before, the fact that it settled for so little, passing up an offer that would have given it so much more in the process, is mind-boggling.
Remember: the Timberwolves sent Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the draft pick that turned out to be Lauri Markkanen to the Chicago Bulls for Butler in June 2017, and while Dunn hasn’t really panned out, LaVine seems to be developing into one heck of a scorer, and Markkanen looks like a future stud (his early struggles this season notwithstanding).
At the time, it looked like a fine move, as what looked to be an ascending Minnesota squad was putting Butler with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
But now, in November 2019, it all just looks bad, and to be perfectly honest, the Timberwolves blew it by not taking the Rockets’ offer.
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