With the NBA Draft a little over a week away, trade talks have begun to swirl as the Minnesota Timberwolves are reportedly willing to deal their No. 5 overall pick in this year’s draft in exchange for Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler.
As Tom Thibodeau assumes his mantle as the head honcho in Minnesota, it seems his first move is acquiring his former player and former Most Improved Player, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein and Chad Ford:
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
Though it remains unclear as to whether Chicago is open to trading Butler, Bulls general manager Gar Forman did mention they would explore all options following a disappointing season in which they missed the playoffs.
The Timberwolves would likely need to sweeten the pot if they were to have any chance of acquiring Butler. The two-way star has risen to one of the premier franchise players around the league, so it would take much more than a top-five pick to pry him away from Chicago.
Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics along with the Los Angeles Lakers have shown interest in the two-time All-Star, both with higher picks in the draft.
However, any chance of dealing for Butler at this time certainly seems to be a long-shot with the Bulls potentially leaning toward trading point guard Derrick Rose rather than Butler. Separating from the injury-riddled former MVP, along with Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol expected to test free agency, Chicago could be taking their early steps into the Jimmy Butler era.