Report: Timberwolves reticent to accept Rockets’ four-first-rounder offer, which includes Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss

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The Rockets reportedly offered the Timberwolves four first-round picks for Jimmy Butler, leaving two big questions:

  • Which players is Houston sending out to match salary?
  • How are the picks protected?

Apparently the answer to the first question is Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss, who salaries can be aggregated Wednesday (two months after being acquired from the Suns).

Shams Charania of Stadium:

Knight (making $14,631,250 this season and due $15,643,750 next season) holds significantly negative value. He hasn’t played well in years, and he’s currently injured. It would generally take a couple first-rounders just to unload him.

Chriss (making $3,206,160 this season with a $4,078,236 team option for next season that must be exercised by Wednesday) holds fairly neutral value. He’s young but has looked in over his head in the NBA, and at least he’s not guaranteed any money beyond this year.

So, to get Butler, Houston must send picks worth his value plus the absolute value of Knight’s negative value.

Does this offer do that? Perhaps. By rule, the first-rounders could convey in 2019, 2021, 2023 and 2025. Though the Rockets are already good and would be even better with Butler, their stars – Chris Paul (33), James Harden (29) and Butler (29) – are nearing the ends of their primes. Those later picks could be quite valuable.

But it depends on the protections. If Minnesota can’t get high picks in 2023 and 2025, the trade wouldn’t be worth it.

So, maybe the Timberwolves are just being stubborn by not accepting. Or maybe they’re being prudent with an offer that sounds better than it really is. We just don’t know.

At least Houston’s proposal served one purpose for Minnesota: Drumming up other offers. After dropping from negotiations, the Heat are involved again.

Five Reasons Sports Network:

Miami was reportedly close to sending Josh Richardson, a protected first-round pick and another player (probably Dion Waiters) to Minnesota for Butler. Maybe the teams will iron out that deal now.

The expectation is the Timberwolves will do something soon.