Report: Most NBA executives expect Jimmy Butler trade saga to end by early next month

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The Rockets reportedly offered the Timberwolves four first-round picks for Jimmy Butler.

But that trade wouldn’t work on its own. Houston must send out matching salary.

Previous talks centered on Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker, but the Rockets reportedly wouldn’t include Tucker. However, Houston will be able to aggregate the salaries of Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss on Wednesday (two months after acquiring them from the Suns).

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer:

With leaks, it’s worth considering who would leak the information and why. In this case, a common theory was the Rockets leaked it to pressure Minnesota into making a deal.

Another theory: The Timberwolves plan to take Houston’s offer once Knight and Chriss become aggregation-eligible and leaked it to try to drum up a better offer first. That could explain the widespread expectation Minnesota will complete a trade soon.

We’ll see whether this sparks action from other Butler suitors. Four first-round picks sounds like a whopping haul, but taking back Knight’s toxic contract and the protections of the picks would cut into the package’s value for the Timberwolves. So, it isn’t necessarily a great offer to beat, but it might be time for other teams to make Minnesota their last best offer.