The Minnesota Timberwolves are “hell-bent” on moving Gorgui Dieng’s contract in any potential deal involving disgruntled forward Jimmy Butler, according to a report from Kelly Iko of The Athletic.
Deng signed a four-year, $64 million contract extension with the Wolves in October of 2016.
Butler asked for a trade from the Wolves over the offseason, and has served as a giant distraction for the franchise ever since — despite the fact that he has been very productive on the court. The forced inclusion of Dieng’s contract, combined with Wolves president of basketball operation Tom Thibodeau’s hesitance to move Butler has made a deal hard come by.
However, despite the lack of traction on a potential deal, the Houston Rockets remain determined to try to trade for Butler, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski recently reported that the Rockets were including up to four future first-round picks in their most recent offer to Minnesota.
“Whenever Butler is dealt, Minnesota is hell-bent on moving off the salary of Gorgui Dieng, league sources told The Athletic.
A few weeks ago Houston called up to six teams, looking for a third partner to facilitate a deal in some fashion, league sources told The Athletic. However, nothing materialized and negotiations went back to square one… The whole premise of looking for outside help is moving Dieng’s contract, but Minnesota receiving a number of future firsts gives it the flexibility owner Glenn Taylor needs moving forward. Attaching a pick or two to Dieng’s salary makes it easier to move, and can also be utilized in future roster-building.
However, Houston didn’t feel confident its reported offer would cause Minnesota to ease up its stance, league sources told The Athletic.”
While nothing has come to fruition yet, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor remains confident that a deal will ultimately get done, as he doesn’t think that the Wolves have been on the receiving end of any teams best offers yet.
“I don’t think any team has given us their best offer yet,” Taylor said. “I think teams started out with the idea that Jimmy said he wanted to be traded, so that maybe they make an offer where they think they can a good deal, but it isn’t necessarily a good deal for us. And I understand that. But that’s the part where we need to be patient, and work with the other team.
“Ideally, you want a [trade] where both teams feel they got good value. That can happen. It’s hard, but it can happen. That’s what I’m striving for.”
Eventually, the Timberwolves will likely trade Butler as they will lose him for nothing over the offseason in free agency otherwise. However, it’s clear that Thibodeau is in no rush to make such a move, and is willing to wait for an offer that he views as appropriate. The Rockets are clearly interested, but it is yet to be seen if they will be able to put together the most intriguing offer.
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