The Minnesota Timberwolves’ season-long problem was solved over the weekend, when the team agreed to trade Jimmy Butler to the Philadelphia 76ers for a packaged headlined by Robert Covington and Dario Saric. Tom Thibodeau had said in the past that the Wolves wanted to get a good deal for Butler, and while Covington and Saric are good players, there is a sense they could have done better.
To give Minnesota some credit, they certainly did not lack ambition in what they tried to get back. We know this because of the latest edition of Marc Stein of the New York Times‘ weekly newsletter, in which he drops a fascinating nugget about the Timberwolves’ attempt to enter trade talks with the Washington Wizards.
The issue: According to Stein, Minnesota wanted All-Star guard Bradley Beal, who is “off limits” despite Washington’s slow start.
Word is the Wolves did try to engage Washington — another team falling well short of expectations — in trade talks for the sharpshooting guard Bradley Beal.
But the Wizards have kept Beal off limits amid their 4-9 start. They would naturally prefer to trade the struggling Otto Porter, or perhaps even John Wall, but both possess hard-to-move contracts.
This is understandable by both teams. For Minnesota, this would get a star back for Butler, and Beal would be an excellent fit next to Karl-Anthony Towns. However, the Wizards were smart to hold onto Beal, as his contract is relatively favorable, he’s only 25, and he’s the kind of player you build around even though it’s been a rough start to the year in D.C.
Barring Beal going through a similar situation to what we saw out of Butler — one in which he straight up demands a trade — it’s awfully hard to see the Wizards moving him this year. He’s too good of a player and too important to what Washington tries to do, so while this was an admirable effort by Minnesota, it makes sense that it was a non-starter.