The drama surrounding Jimmy Butler and his trade request had fallen silent for a few days, so we were due for a new development soon, and we sure got one. Daryl Morey has come in and is attempting to make his signature big-time move. As reported by Woj, the Rockets have offered Minnesota four first round picks in exchange for Butler. If you’d like to read Woj’s entire story, you can find it here.
Story posting soon: The Houston Rockets are making a renewed bid to acquire Minnesota All-Star Jimmy Butler, including four future first-round draft picks in their most recent trade offer, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 25, 2018
It’s important to note that Houston can not trade their own first round pick in successive seasons, and their are strict rules on how protected these picks can be.
7-year rule allows a team to trade up to 4 picks between 2019 to 2025. The first has to alternate each year (19, 21, 23 and 25) and cannot have protection unless the pick does not rollover to the following season. Ex: Protected top 14 and doesn’t convey if HOU is in the lottery.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) October 25, 2018
Initially, I felt that Minnesota had to accept this offer. I still mostly feel this way, but it’s important to note that Houston obviously has to send players back in this deal for cap reasons. If those players are P.J. Tucker and Eric Gordon, you take this right away. If the idea is to wait until players such as Marquese Chriss and Brandon Knight are available to be traded on October 31st, then it becomes a much less desirable deal for Minnesota.
Note going into the story -- Oct. 31 could be a key date here, league sources say. That's the 2-month anniversary of the Chriss/Knight trade, meaning HOU would be free to aggregate them into larger trades. https://t.co/1rUUr1aGn2— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) October 25, 2018
At this point, If you can get either Tucker or Gordon with those picks, you probably take it if you’re Minnesota. Sure, the first pick or two that Houston sends will not be extremely valuable. However, it is likely that Houston’s championship window will have closed by the time the last few of those picks convey, which would make this a potentially solid long-term deal for Minnesota.
The question then becomes: how much does Minnesota value first-round picks that they won’t be able to use for 6 or 8 years? They were lucky to sign Karl-Anthony Towns to a long-term deal when they did, but nothing is guaranteed after his extension runs up.
Additionally, what kind of message does this send to the other teams vying for Butler? Talks with Miami have stalled, but would this report be enough to move the needle on including both Josh Richardson and Bam Adebayo? This is the first time during this saga that a report has enhanced Minnesota’s bargaining power with other teams, and it will be interesting to see how they use it.
The number of possible outcomes of this whole saga just greatly increased, as Houston’s offer is surely the most intriguing one to date. We will have a better sense of just how good this deal is once we learn which players Houston would be including. Until then, keep Woj’s tweet notifications on be prepared for anything.