A few weeks ago, I made the case for trading for Jimmy Butler. Some loved it, some hated it, but what couldn’t be denied is that it at least makes sense to consider; given the Minnesota’s cache of young players, Butler’s uncertain status in Chicago, his familiarity with Tom Thibodeau, and the persistent chatter that the Wolves will try to trade their pick in the upcoming draft for a veteran, it’s not crazy to connect those dots, even though it seems unlikely Bulls GM John Paxson would ever work with Tom Thibodeau on a deal.
Give that reality, such a trade, while theoretically plausible and fair, is more or less entirely impossible. Which is why Marc Stein’s report from last night is kind of fascinating:
Story going online now with @chadfordinsider: Wolves making No. 5 overall pick available in hopes of tempting Bulls into Jimmy Butler trade
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 13, 2016
A few thoughts:
- It always gets a little crazy time of year. I’m sure there’s a reason for this report becoming public, but I have no idea what it could be. If the Wolves want everyone to know the 5th pick can be had in a trade, there are plenty of non-public channels to convey that message. If the Wolves want to trade for Jimmy Butler, and he has interest in coming to Minnesota, they could find intermediaries (agents) to handle the back-and-forth communication.
- One possibility: if the Wolves have tried the back channel route and the Bulls are completely shutting it down, this could just be Thibs and Layden’s way of needling Chicago a little bit. Or perhaps it’s Chicago’s way of rubbing it in Thibs’ face that he can’t have Jimmy Butler.
- In the 0.01% chance that such a trade actually becomes really, truly possible, there’s almost no way it doesn’t involve Zach LaVine. The 5th pick would never be enough on its own. There are some good prospects in this draft, but certainly none that could net a two-time All Star (on what is about to become a very cap-friendly contract) straight up.
- At any rate, buckle up, everyone. The Wolves appear keen to deal that pick, and even if they aren’t, the rumor mill will be flying. It’s going to be a fun week and a half.