On Thursday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN announced that the Houston Rockets made a major offer for Minnesota Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler.
Story posting soon: The Houston Rockets are making a renewed bid to acquire Minnesota All-Star Jimmy Butler, including four future first-round draft picks in their most recent trade offer, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 25, 2018
The trade proposed involves Minnesota giving up four first-round draft picks.
This deal is an "all-in" offer for Houston, as they don't have much in the way of trade assets or salary cap flexibility. NBA rules don't allow teams to trade draft picks in consecutive years or picks that are more than seven years down the line.
Minnesota would also benefit from the fact that the "seven-year rule" means picks cannot have lottery protection unless the pick does not rollover to the following season:
7-year rule allows a team to trade up to 4 picks between 2019 to 2025. The first has to alternate each year (19, 21, 23 and 25) and cannot have protection unless the pick does not rollover to the following season. Ex: Protected top 14 and doesn’t convey if HOU is in the lottery.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) October 25, 2018
It will be interesting to see how the trade talks progress, as President of Basketball Operation Tom Thibodeau and General Manager Scott Layden have been reluctant to take a deal, even after the now infamous practice story. Wojnarowski stated that league sources have said talks between Houston and Minnesota have been "fluid", which would seem to indicate that a deal may actually get done, as far as when, that's a whole different story.
Both teams have legitimate reasons to entertain this deal. With a 1-3 record and a -5.8 point differential, the Rockets look like they may have lost some of their luster from last year. Acquiring Butler would help improve their defensive rating, which is currently ranked 21st after finishing just outside the top-five last season. They also are dealing with a minor injury to MVP James Harden, who has averaged over 35 minutes per game for seven-straight seasons, and their is no doubt that Butler's arrival would help ease his workload, as well as that of veteran Chris Paul.
For the Timberwolves, this deal would only make sense if the front-office has come to a consensus about what their expectations are moving forward. Reports have stated that Thibodeau is searching for a trade that keeps them competitive/playoff-eligible right now, which would make a trade featuring four first-round draft picks not as desirable, but as talk of T'Wolves owner Glen Taylor getting involved intensifies, it is very possible that he overrides the decision of the his front-office, whatever it may be.
One thing is for certain, with the T'Wolves having Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins under contract long-term, there is not much else they can change with this team moving forward, unless they had more assets. If this deal gets completed, expect to see a flurry of activity from Minnesota moving forward.