Tom Thibodeau is driving a hard bargain in the trade market for his star player, Jimmy Butler.
Butler wants to be traded and Wolves owner Glen Taylor has made it clear that he'll honor that request so long as Butler continues playing hard. While various trade offers have been reported for the last month, the latest report from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski says the Houston Rockets are prepared to give Minnesota four first-round draft picks for Butler.
Four first-round picks sounds like a lot, but it's apparently not enough to get Thibodeau to agree to a deal.
ESPN's Malika Andrews reports that Thibodeau wants the Rockets to include shooting guard Eric Gordon, "who'd be mandatory for Minnesota in any proposed deal."
Gordon plays a big role off the bench for the Rockets but could be the starting shooting guard and 3-point threat in Minnesota, providing the Wolves with a bonafide 3-point threat. Gordon has connected on 37.5 percent of his 3s in his career while averaging 16.7 points per game.
Four picks would rival the 2013 trade the Celtics and Nets agreed to in which Brooklyn sent Boston four players and three first-round picks in exchange for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
Boston turned those picks into young stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, and used another pick in the trade that brought them Kyrie Irving from Cleveland. Of course, Brooklyn's trade didn't pay off, making the postseason just twice before getting old and becoming one of the worst teams in the league.
Those lousy seasons gave the Celtics high picks to land Tatum and Brown.
Houston, barring injuries, will be among the best in the NBA with James Harden and Chris Paul as is, and adding Butler would only make them better, meaning any picks in the next year or two will almost certainly be late first-round selections.
Minnesota's situation is also uniquely different because they already have Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins signed for the next five years, meaning they should be competitive anyway.