The Timberwolves are willing to move the No. 5 overall pick as the centerpiece of a trade package to acquire Bulls shooting guard Jimmy Butler, league sources told ESPN.com’s Chad Ford and Marc Stein. The Timberwolves are eager to reunite Chicago’s top scorer with new coach and former Bulls head man Tom Thibodeau and have told the Bulls they’re strongly interested in making such a deal if Butler is available, the story continues.
While Bulls are not believed to be shopping Butler, they are willing to listen to offers, Ford and Stein claim. The Bulls would demand a major package in return, which would likely translate to at least one front-line player in addition to a top lottery pick, sources told the ESPN duo. Rookie of the Year Karl-Anthony Towns would seemingly be untouchable but the Timberwolves have some other young talent to dangle, including Andrew Wiggins, Ricky Rubio, Zach LaVine and Gorgui Dieng.
A multi-team trade scenario is also in play, according to the story. Butler has four years remaining on his five-year, $90MM contract.
The Celtics, who have three first-rounders including the No. 3 pick, are also angling to acquire Butler, according to Ford and Stein. The Bulls are high on Providence point guard Kris Dunn, a projected Top 5 selection, the story adds.
The Bulls would save $2.6MM on a trade kicker if they deal Butler this month, according to a tweet from Basketball Insiders’ Eric Pincus.