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ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday the Houston Rockets were making another run at four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler by offering the Minnesota Timberwolves a package that included four first-round picks, but it doesn’t appear that proposal is going to get a deal done.
Per Stadium’s Shams Charania, Minnesota has shown “no inclination” to jump at Houston’s latest offer:
Shams Charania @ShamsCharania
Minnesota is showing no inclination to move on Houston offer of two injured players and four first-rounders for Jimmy Butler, per sources. On @WatchStadium: https://t.co/NnXkMwXd9N
Charania noted Marquese Chriss and Brandon Knight would also go to the Timberwolves in the proposed trade. Both Chriss (ankle) and Knight (knee) are currently injured.
Per 5 Eyewitness News’ Darren Wolfson, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor revealed during the offseason that Butler turned down a four-year extension in the $110 million range. Taylor added in an interview with ESPN 1500 that Butler was “really appreciative” but believed it made more financial sense to wait until next summer to sign a long-term deal.
However, Butler requested a trade during the offseason. And that went public a week before training camp opened in September, costing Minnesota leverage in a potential trade since it seems highly unlikely he will re-sign after the season.
Wojnarowski reported earlier this month the T-Wolves and Miami Heat were closing in on a trade, even exchanging medical information. Talks fell apart, though, as the Timberwolves pushed for more in a return package.
Now, the Rockets are reportedly the most aggressive team in trade talks. Houston’s latest proposal includes the maximum number of first-round picks permitted by league rules, as teams can only trade future picks up to seven years in advance and not deal away first-round picks in back-to-back years.
Houston was knocking on the doorstep of the NBA Finals a season ago, losing to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals in seven games after Chris Paul suffered a hamstring injury late in Game 5 with his team up 3-2. The Rockets lost Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute in free agency this past offseason but did acquire 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony.
With Paul, Clint Capela, Eric Gordon and reigning MVP James Harden, the Rockets believe Butler could be the missing piece.
Earlier this month, Butler was involved in a heated practice that saw him confront Timberwolves players and general manager Scott Layden. He has been all business since, averaging 24.8 points on 53.3 percent shooting, 5.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.8 steals for the 2-3 Wolves.