Tom Thibodeau appears to be serious about getting the band back together. And when that band features some of the better pieces from a perennial Eastern Conference contender like the Bulls, that’s not a bad idea.
Last week, the report was that the new Wolves coach and personnel boss was interested in targeting longtime Bulls big man Joakim Noah in free agency when it begins July 1.
Now there’s a fresh report from ESPN.com, citing league sources, that indicates the Wolves are interested in dealing the No. 5 pick in next week’s draft in a deal for the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler. The Bulls would almost certainly want more in return than just that pick, meaning the Wolves would also need to deal another good asset.
Butler is a shooting guard/small forward with a reputation for being a very solid defender while also contributing 20 points per game each of the past two seasons in Chicago. He was rewarded for his rise under Thibodeau with the Bulls when he signed a five-year, $90 million deal last summer.
Butler will turn 27 just before the start of the season, meaning he would give the Wolves a proven player entering his prime years. He’s also the kind of defensive player Thibodeau covets — and the Wolves desperately need.
His addition, though, would create somewhat of a roster logjam, pending whatever other player(s) the Wolves would deal as part of the trade. Minnesota already has Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine and Shabazz Muhammad occupying minutes as shooting guards/small forwards. It would be interesting to see how much the Wolves would have to give up — and who they would consider expendable — in a deal like this one.
Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns are the only two untouchables on the roster. The No. 5 pick and LaVine would probably be fair value, but it would also make me wince a little.
With the draft just nine days away, the only certainty is that it will be interesting to see how this plays out.