These 3 Jimmy Butler trade offers were available for Timberwolves before the deal, reports say

The Jimmy Butler trade request saga is finally over. Nearly a month into the regular season, with Butler sitting out multiple games a week and the Timberwolves struggling to a 4-9 start, they finally pulled the trigger on a trade. Butler is now off to the 76ers along with Justin Patton in exchange for Robert Covington, Dario Saric and a second-round pick. 

It's a pretty solid trade package for the Timberwolves given the circumstances, and it gives them two solid young players as they look to the future. Watching how each team in the deal gets along with their new players will be quite interesting. 

Just as interesting, though, is thinking about some of the trade packages that could have been. We knew about the Wolves' talks with the Heat, and also the reported offer of multiple first-round picks from the Rockets. But according to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Wolves also had "extensive discussions" with the Pelicans and talked to the Wizards. Each of those two teams was reluctant to give up a key guard though, so the talks fell apart. Via ESPN:

Minnesota desperately tried to cobble together trade offers in the past week, including extensive discussions with New Orleans, league sources said. The Pelicans are limited on tradeable assets, but desperate to find star power to keep Anthony Davis for the long run. The Pelicans wouldn't include point guard Jrue Holiday in its offer, nor multiple draft picks, league sources said.

Minnesota passed on a Miami deal weeks ago that would've included guard Josh Richardson, and the Heat never returned him into talks, sources said. Washington wouldn't offer guard Bradley Beal, sources said.

Other details on deals that never came to fruition were reported by Shams Charania. The Rockets were looking to move Eric Gordon, Nene and two first-round picks, while the Pelicans' deal was centered around Nikola Mirotic. Via The Athletic:

After Butler plays 39 minutes in a loss to the Clippers that dropped the Wolves to 0-3 on the trip, the Wolves have conversations with the Heat about a possible trade. But the Heat inform the Wolves that Richardson is no longer on the table after his stellar start to the season, and the Wolves move on.

Minnesota begins to engage seriously with Philadelphia, New Orleans and Houston. New Orleans' package is headlined by Nikola Mirotic and an unprotected first-round draft pick and the Rockets' proposal has Eric Gordon, Nene and two first-round picks, sources said. The 76ers come with their proposal around Robert Covington and Dario Saric, leaving the Timberwolves to deliberate.

It's not hard to see why any of these teams would get involved in the trade talks. The Pelicans and Wizards are desperately in need of another star, and stars don't often become available like Butler was. Meanwhile, the Rockets have gotten off to a terrible start, and could use some reinforcements. At the same time, it's easy to see why those talks went nowhere. 

The Pelicans and Wizards each need one more great player, but including Holiday or Beal negates the purpose of trading for Butler. Those teams are trying to get more talent, not just swap one of their best players for Butler. And from the Wolves' side, it's not surprising that they would pass on deals centered on Gordon or Mirotic. Neither are all that young or all that good. Still, it's pretty interesting to think for a bit especially about the possibility of Butler pairing with Anthony Davis in New Orleans. That would have been quite fun. 

Alas, we will have to settle for watching Butler partner with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, which should be quite entertaining in its own right. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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