Jimmy Butler Trade with Minnesota Timberwolves Reportedly 'Close'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 22, 2017

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 28:  Jimmy Butler #21 of the Chicago Bulls talks to the media during a press conference after Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Boston Celtics during the 2017 NBA Playoffs on April 28, 2017 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images)
Randy Belice/Getty Images

The Minnesota Timberwolves are reportedly 'close' to acquiring Chicago Bulls small forward Jimmy Butler, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.

Adrian Wojnarowski‏ of The Vertical (h/t Sean Highkin of The Atlantic) reported on his NBA draft show that the Bulls are "seriously engaged" with Minnesota on trade talks, stating Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn and picks are involved in the discussion.

On Monday, Wojnarowski‏ reported the Wolves made first contact with Chicago to declare their interest in the 27-year-old three-time All-Star selection.

Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago reported Tuesday the Bulls were "actively shopping" Butler heading into the draft. The Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets were listed among the potential landing spots.

The high level of interest comes as no surprise. The Texas native averaged 23.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.9 steals for the Bulls during the 2016-17 campaign. His Player Efficiency Rating ranked 14th in the NBA among all qualified players.

In turn, Minnesota would likely need to sweeten its offer beyond the No. 7 pick in the draft in order to seriously engage Chicago in trade discussions.

The top two small forwards in this year's class, Kansas' Josh Jackson and Duke's Jayson Tatum, will likely come off the board inside the top five Thursday evening. And it's an otherwise mundane prospect group at the position.

That said, joining the Timberwolves would be a nice fit for Butler if a deal could get worked out.

It would reunite him with head coach Tom Thibodeau, who coached the Bulls during the star's first four NBA seasons. The Marquette product transformed from a little-used reserve into one of the league's best players during that span.

Minnesota also features a highly intriguing roster led by the likes of Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Adding Butler could allow the team to turn the corner toward serious competitiveness in the Western Conference playoff picture.

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