clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

New Orleans Pelicans had extensive discussions with Minnesota Timberwolves on possible Jimmy Butler trade

When Jrue Holiday was taken off the table, did Tom Thibodeau also express interest in adding several former players?

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Minnesota Timberwolves Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the New Orleans Pelicans and Minnesota Timberwolves had extensive conversations about a trade centered around Jimmy Butler.

Minnesota desperately tried to cobble together trade offers in the past week, including extensive discussions with New Orleans, league sources said. The Pelicans are limited on tradeable assets, but desperate to find star power to keep Anthony Davis for the long run. The Pelicans wouldn’t include point guard Jrue Holiday in its offer, nor multiple draft picks, league sources said.

With Tom Thibodeau failing to come to an agreement with Pat Riley and the Miami Heat on a return that included Josh Richardson, Minnesota’s front office was forced to look elsewhere. Before finally settling on yesterday’s deal with the Philadelphia 76ers for Robert Covington and Dario Saric though, the Wolves did contact several other teams first. The Washington Wizards proved to be one phone call in gauging possible interest for Bradley Beal, but the other was to Dell Demps and the Pelicans.

Obviously, Anthony Davis is off the table in any proposal, and according to Wojnarowski, so too were Jrue Holiday and multiple trade picks. Regarding the future draft assets, did Thibs also have possible interest in snatching a couple of very good former players of his in E’Twaun Moore and Nikola Mirotic?

During his last season at the helm in Chicago, Thibodeau gave Mirotic, a rookie fresh from Europe, an average of 20 minutes of playing time per night. Considering his penchant for NBA veterans, that’s rather impressive and it shows just how much Thibs believed in Mirotic’s abilities from the start. Although Moore only averaged nine minutes of action during the 2014-15 season for the Bulls, it’s not hard to fathom Thibs hasn’t become a big fan since their time together as E’twaun seemingly checks a lot of boxes now: blue collar work ethic, fantastic long range shooting efficiency and defensive versatility.

The idea of pairing Jimmy Butler with Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday had to have been a tantalizing one for the New Orleans front office, especially if you consider Elfrid Payton and Julius Randle would have at least remained on the roster. Regardless, it sounds like the Wolves asked for too much.

Imagine that.

Anyways, Mirotic and Moore have fit like a glove in Alvin Gentry’s system. If there was any interest in one or both of these players — plus the attachment of multiple other assets in any package, Demps made the right choice. Taking a large gamble on a rental (remember, Butler is in the last guaranteed deal of his contract) who flipped the Minnesota locker room upside down isn’t a smart bet if the cost is an arm and a leg — plus, don’t forget to factor New Orleans’ harmony and balance when fully healthy.

The current Pelicans roster has already shown the potential to be a tremendously effective group during the first week of the regular season. A roster upheaval isn’t necessary, just a smaller tweak or two here or there.