The Minnesota Timberwolves are looking to make big progress right out of the gate under new coach and president Tom Thibodeau, according to reports. The Wolves have a young core of great talent in Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns with Zach LaVine, and the No. 5 pick in this year's draft. But ESPN reports that they're looking to dangle that pick in order to try and lure Thibodeau's old team, the Chicago Bulls, into trading their star Jimmy Butler.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are prepared to part with the No. 5 overall pick in this month's draft, as the centerpiece of a trade package, if they can use it to construct a deal for Chicago Bulls star swingman Jimmy Butler, according to league sources.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Wolves, in these early days of the Tom Thibodeau Era, have made it known to the Bulls that they are strongly interested in dealing for Butler should Chicago elect to make him available.
The move would give the Wolves two phenomenal defensive players on the perimeter in Wiggins and Butler, assuming Minnesota isn't trading Wiggins, the former No. 1 pick they dealt Kevin Love for, who can both play the small forward and shooting guard positions interchangeably. They both have great athleticism and defensive instincts, and neither is an elite perimeter threat.
Butler has been rumored to be on and off in trade talks since word started to surface about potential attitude issues as he's coming into his own as a star player.
However, the Bulls are highly unlikely to do such a deal considering what they would need in return. The Bulls would need the No. 5, future picks and likely another impact player, which the Wolves are lacking, unless they trade Wiggins. Zach LaVine is talented and promising, but does not project as a Butler-level player, even with how young he is. The Wolves could conceivably offer Wiggins in return, but that's giving up very early on an extremely promising young star who could end up better than Butler.
For Minnesota, the intriguing part of this is the fact that Thibodeau is actively pursuing a veteran star instead of building the team slowly. If this translates to free agency, it could get very interesting. In the meantime, don't expect the Bulls to bite, but if they do, there's bigger issues in Chicago than just their playoff absence this season.