Report: Timberwolves want Jimmy Butler, making No. 5 pick available

By Michael Dixon

The Minnesota Timberwolves reportedly want Jimmy Butler. It makes sense, given that new Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau used to coach Butler with the Chicago Bulls. According to ESPN’s Marc Stein and Chad Ford, Minnesota is willing to give their No. 5 pick in the upcoming draft to tempt the Bulls to part with him.

A couple thoughts emerge.

One, draft picks are interesting assets when they’re draft picks. But now that the draft is just over a week away, teams have a pretty good sense of who will and won’t be available to them and what those picks might represent. The fact is that this isn’t a particularly deep draft, at least as it’s being looked at now.

Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that nobody outside of the top three or four will be any good. Remember, 2011 wasn’t considered a great draft at the time. Yet it yielded Klay Thompson (No.11) and Kawhi Leonard (No. 15). Still, if the Bulls don’t see a potential star available at No. 5, giving up Butler wouldn’t make much sense.

The second thought is more juicy. Even if Chicago sees a potential star at No. 5, would they be willing to make a trade with Thibodeau? Thibodeau’s split with the Bulls wasn’t exactly amicable. If it becomes clear that the Timberwolves “won” this hypothetical trade in a few years, could the Chicago front office handle the hit to the ego?

Losing a trade is one thing. Losing it to your former coach is something completely different.