The Houston Rockets are currently very serious about trading for Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler. I recently reported how they offered four future first-round picks for Butler. They’ve also included Brandon Knight and Marqueese Chriss in these talks.
It doesn’t appear that Minnesota is interested in this deal. They instead want all potential offers to include Rockets guard Eric Gordon.
Minnesota General Manager Scott Layden and head coach Tom Thibodeau both want the team to remain competitive if they do indeed deal butler. Thibodeau wants his team back in the playoffs after they grabbed the No. 8 seed last season.
Adding Gordon – rather than just draft picks and role players – would definitely align with this vision. Gordon is one of the best shooters in the NBA and could ease the impact of losing Butler.
Layden Ultimately Responsible for Finding Trade Partner
Thibodeau obviously has a lot of sway in who Minnesota is willing to deal with. But team owner Glenn Taylor wants Layden to focus on the trade while Thibodeau coaches the team.
So far, the franchise has failed to find a deal that interests them. The Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers’ have made offers for Butler. However, like the Rockets, Minnesota hasn’t jumped at their proposals either.
Again, they’re looking to keep a competitive team around stars Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins. This is a big reason why they want to add Gordon in any potential deal.
Of course, the key reason why Houston wants to make this deal is to become better than the reigning conference champion Golden State Warriors.
They’re willing to mortgage their future in order to make this happen. But it’s unclear if they’ll give up a key piece like Gorden.
Did Minnesota Leak the Gordon Trade Offer?
Speculation is that Minnesota has leaked the Rockets’ offer to motivate other suitors to increase their potential deals.
Miami thought they had a deal in place after offering Josh Richardson, Dion Waiters, and a protected 2019 first-round pick. However, Thibodeau and Layden wanted more at the last second, which caused Miami’s Pat Riley to coll off on the talks.
Philadelphia has quite a bit of young talent, including point guard Ben Simmons, center Joel Embiid, and guard Markelle Fultz. The Sixers are highly unlikely to part with Simmons or Embidd. But they might be willing to include Fultz – assuming Thibodeau would even be okay with this.
Multiple sources claim that Taylor wants to get a deal finished as quickly as possible. But if the team actually wanted this to happen, it would be done already.
That said, expect the Butler saga to continue playing out for more of the season. Minnesota obviously places a high value on their All-Star shooting guard, and they’re not going to give him up for just any deal.