Timberwolves targeting Bulls star Jimmy Butler

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Tom Thibodeau’s winning ways aren’t the only thing he’s trying to bring from Chicago to Minnesota, if the latest NBA rumors are to be believed.

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According to an ESPN report that cited unnamed “league sources,” the new Timberwolves coach and president is eyeing a trade for Jimmy Butler, the Bulls swingman whom he helped mold into a two-way star. As bait, the Wolves are said to be dangling the No. 5 pick in next week’s draft.

It would almost certainly take more than that to land Butler, a two-time All-Star and All-Defensive team selection who averaged 20.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists last year. The report speculated at a price “of at least one front-line player in addition to a top lottery pick this month.” It didn’t name anyone (To the trade machine!).

And it’s not clear how actively the Bulls are looking to part with him — nor how chummy they’re willing to get in talks with Thibodeau, whom Chicago fired last summer amid clashes with management.

But there’s been talk of a rift between Butler and the team’s front office and of a divided locker room coming off a disappointing year for the Bulls. As the Bulls entered this offseason, general manager John Paxson said “everything is on the table” as far as roster moves.

The report follows another that has the Wolves chasing another of Thibodeau’s former Bulls stalwarts, center Joakim Noah, in free agency.

TNS

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