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Report: Timberwolves asked for Ben Simmons in Jimmy Butler trade talks

Philadelphia 76ers v Boston Celtics - Game One

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 30: Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers dribbles against the Boston Celtics during the first quarter of Game One of Round Two of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden on April 30, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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We heard earlier on Thursday that the Philadelphia 76ers were “out” on negotiations around disgruntled Minnesota Timberwolves start Jimmy Butler. Now, we perhaps know why.

According to a recent report, the Timberwolves decided to ask the Sixers for up-and-coming point forward Ben Simmons in exchange for what could have been a potential one-year rental on Butler.

At age 30 and with some serious concerns about his long-term health, asking for Simmons in return for Butler is both in line with what we’ve heard out of Minnesota and patently crazy. In a recent podcast with Bill Simmons, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor said that Tom Thibodeau was asking for a big haul in any trade from Philly.

Via The Ringer:

The impression I get is around maybe 15-20 teams have actually made an offer. Some of those offers aren’t anything worthwhile.

...

One of the things that I’ve heard from a handful of sources is that, with the Sixers for example, with the initial offer that they made ... the counter-offer was like, ‘We need Ben Simmons in a deal.’ It’s counter offers like that that make you wonder, ‘Is this actually for real?’


Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has made it a mandate to get Butler off the roster, and he reportedly wanted him away from the Timberwolves by the start of training camp on Tuesday. That hasn’t happened as the front office is still trying to get a reasonable return in exchange for Butler (if they even want to make a deal at all).

The reality of the situation is the Timberwolves have a star that doesn’t want to be there and whose wishes are publicly known. As we have seen with the recent Kawhi Leonard trade, it is possible to get a good player in return. However, real concerns about Butler, including his injury history, and his health will hamper what Minneapolis can get back. I also tend to believe that their trade position and leverage will only reduce with time as they appear more desperate heading toward the regular season.

Asking for Simmons was nuts, but waiting to ditch Butler could be actually detrimental. It’s in the Wolves’ best interest to get something done, and soon.