The Brooklyn Nets are reportedly pulling back a bit on trade talks surrounding Minnesota Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler. While the team is widely considered one of the top landing spots for Butler, a recent report points to the asking price simply being too steep.
As Legion Hoops had originally revealed, the Nets reportedly pulled back after the Timberwolves asked for D’Angelo Russell, Caris LeVert and additional future assets.
*Note: Legion Hoops has since removed the tweet on the Nets pulling back, but report the team is unwilling to overpay for Butler.
It’s somewhat eye-opening considering the expectation that Russell and/or LeVert were almost certainly going to be a focus of any deal for the Timberwolves. While the Nets have quite a bit of young talent, Russell and LeVert would carry the most weight in any potential deal.
The two young playmakers will almost certainly remain in the conversation should talks move forward, but it’s unknown what other assets the Timberwolves have requested.
Value of Russell and LeVert
It’s hard to consider dealing two players on the rise who are both under the age of 25. Even though Russell played just 48 games in his first season with the Nets and played a career-low 25.7 minutes per, he still managed to post averages of 15.5 points and 5.2 assists per game. Russell has tremendous upside, and if included in a deal, he’s an instant-impact player for Minnesota.
LeVert played in his second season with the Nets in 2017-18 and was typically one of the first players off the bench. He increased his production across the board in almost every statistical category from his rookie season. Over 71 games last year, the 24-year-old former first-round pick totaled 12.1 points, 4.2 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game. While his field goal percentage dropped a bit due to a higher number of attempts, he improved as a 3-point shooter.
If the Timberwolves were asking for a first-round pick (or picks) on top of Russell and LeVert, it’s pretty over-the-top. But it’d be interesting to see how the Nets would react to an offer of just Russell and LeVert for Butler, although based on the first response, it seems they wouldn’t be on board with it.
We’ll update this post as additional information is revealed.