Earlier on Thursday, The Athletic's Sam Amick reported that the Philadelphia 76ers were completely out of trade talks with Minnesota for Jimmy Butler. Beyond preliminary discussions, the two sides got nowhere and now we might know why.
Kevin O'Connor, an NBA writer for The Ringer, hopped on The Bill Simmons Podcast to chat about a number of topics, one of which was Jimmy Butler trade talks. O'Conner mentions to Simmons that he's heard from multiple people that Minnesota's counteroffer to the Sixers for Butler was demanding Ben Simmons in return. Hard pass on that one.
Here's O'Connor's full quote via Sixers Wire:
“One of the things that I’ve heard from a handful of sources is that like, with the Sixers for example, with the initial offer that they made, the counteroffer was like ‘we need Ben Simmons in a deal.'” O’Connor stated.
“It’s counter offers like that that make you wonder, is this actually for real?”
Considering Butler could become a free agent in the summer of 2019, it seems pretty nuts that Minnesota would ask for a player like Simmons for a guy who could run for the hills at season's end. That being said, Butler would be set to make about $50 million more if he signs an extension with the team that acquires him, so the Timberwolves could be thinking about that as well. Butler is obviously hoping that wherever he's dealt, he'll sign a max extension and not have to leave money on the table.
Last season in 59 games for Minnesota, Butler averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists, shooting 47.4 percent from the floor and 35 percent from beyond the arc.