Jimmy Butler is still a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and nobody associated with the team is in a good position because of it. The Timberwolves are still trying to prove to the world they have the leverage, yet their leverage in now dwindling and their rank amongst dumpster fire franchises is rapidly rising.
There is no justification to why the Timberwolves have not moved the disgruntled star. They turned down satisfying offers from both the Rockets and Heat that may not be available as the season goes on. The value for a team trading for an impending unrestricted free agent who has not stated he will re-sign goes down each and every night of the NBA season.
At this point for the Heat, just inserting Butler as a rental into a lineup that is clearly flawed is not going to result in anything worth trading Josh Richardson for. The Rockets were offering four first-round picks, but as Marc Stein reports, Minnesota do not want to send him there. Maybe foolishly settling for a worse offer from another team is the plan? What makes this situation with Houston even more of a mess, if Minnesota comes to their senses and wants to work with the Rockets, there is no guarantee they will be offering all those picks in the near future. It is becoming more and more apparent that the Rockets have fallen far below the Warriors’ level. They may just re-think sacrificing their future for a one-year rental the way things are going.
And the Rockets and Heat are not alone. If the Timberwolves are hoping some team close to the trading deadline is going to feel they are close enough to the Warriors they will give up significant pieces for Butler, they once again are not living in reality.
The other question that has to be asked: Do they realize the damage they are doing to their franchise by keeping him around? Refusing to trade Butler to this point is destructive. This Butler situation is a distraction nightly even on the nights he just sits out. It is also stunting the growth of their actual superstar Karl-Anthony Towns and his Robin, Andrew Wiggins. The two players have never worked on the court with Butler, or apparently in the locker room.
The decision to not move forward is also a slap in the face to the fans. It shows them the organization would rather attempt to display their power than do what is best for the team. If Glen Taylor and Tom Thibodeau thought they would get away with it, they were once again wrong. Their 4-7 squad is dead last attendance this season.
Yes, it sucks when an NBA player demands a trade and is going to walk, but that does not give a team the excuse to handle themselves with this level of dysfunction. No player, coach, suit, or fan is gaining from Butler still being a Timberwolf. And pretty soon, if not already, the bogus decision will greatly hurt their future.