Despite the fact that we keep inching closer and closer to the start of the 2018-19 NBA season, the Minnesota Timberwolves still have not accommodated Jimmy Butler’s trade request. It remains to be seen if he’ll still be on the roster once the season kicks off, but following talks between the Wolves and the Miami Heat falling through, that seems like a real possibility.
The rumblings have been that there hasn’t been too much of a market for Butler beyond Miami, which makes sense, because giving up players and picks for someone who can hit free agency at the end of the year is awfully risky. Apparently, the Timberwolves think the Houston Rockets are the type of team that is willing to take this risk, because a report from Stefano Fusaro of ESPN indicates they reached out to their fellow Western Conference organization this week.
The catch: Minnesota’s asking price is a bit too steep, as Fusaro indicates the Wolves would like to get both Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker back in a deal for Butler, which doesn’t quite jive with what the Rockets would want to do.
As Fusaro mentions, Tucker is an important part of what Houston does, especially on the defensive end. He’ll play center in some small ball lineups, hits threes at a 37.1 percent clip last season, and provides a toughness and an energy that few players can match. Basically, it’s understandable why the Rockets would want to hold onto him, especially if they’re already giving up one important rotation player like Gordon.
You can make a case that giving up those two players for Butler is worth it, and we’ve argued in the past that the Rockets have long seemed like a potential dark horse in the race to acquire Butler’s services. But for now, it seems like talks between these two squads aren’t going to anywhere as long as the Timberwolves want Tucker, leaving Minnesota looking elsewhere for a deal.