The Minnesota Timberwolves aggressively pursued a trade for All-Star guard Jimmy Butler on Thursday night after drafting Kris Dunn, but the talks ultimately fizzled after some initial optimism that a deal could be struck, according to league sources.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Timberwolves, after Dunn unexpectedly lasted until the fifth pick, drafted the Providence guard, then pushed hard to see if they could hammer out a trade with the Bulls, who are also known to be big fans of Dunn.
But the Bulls, sources say, ultimately decided not to go ahead with a deal in which they’d be forced to surrender Butler, just one day after completing a blockbuster trade with New York that sent Derrick Rose to the Knicks.
Butler was actually spotted at the Bulls’ facility Thursday evening, a source told ESPN.com, but it is unknown how much contact, if any, he had with team brass.
ESPN.com reported earlier this month that Tom Thibodeau, the Wolves new coach and president of basketball operations, was prepared to surrender the No. 5 overall pick in the draft for a chance to reunite with Butler, whom he previously coached in Chicago. And Minnesota’s chances initially seemed enhanced by the fact Dunn — widely projected to be drafted No. 3 overall by Boston — didn’t go to the Celtics.
But the longer the evening went, sources said, it became apparent that Chicago would not be willing to surrender Butler on Thursday night, despite suggestions that the Wolves would be willing to trade anyone on their roster apart from Karl-Anthony Towns or Andrew Wiggins.
ESPN’s Bulls reporter Nick Friedell contributed to this report.