Welcome to the Friday edition of The Cooler, where there’s always the next seven years. Let’s get to it:
*ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Thursday that the Rockets have resumed their pursuit of Jimmy Butler and are dangling four first-round picks — in 2019, 2021, 2023 and 2025 to fall within NBA rules — as part of a package to get him from the Timberwolves.
We don’t know at this point if the Wolves are interested in listening to this offer, though as our Chris Hine points out a deal heavy on future assets might not be as appealing to head coach/basketball president Tom Thibodeau as a deal that helps him win now.
The bigger question, though, is this: Should this reported trade interest the Wolves?
Well, assuming the picks don’t have much protection on them — which sounds like is the case — they could end up being quite valuable if the Rockets fall on hard times down the road.
But one would also imagine that if the Rockets made the deal and were able to sign both Butler and James Harden to extensions to pair with Chris Paul over the next several years, Houston will remain a top contender and at least most of those picks will be near the end of the first round and therefore less valuable.
The wild card is that having four additional first round picks over the next seven years, regardless of potential slot, would give the Wolves all sorts of resources for more trades.
At the end of the day, I think I’d still rather have the deal the Heat were reportedly willing to do involving Josh Richardson and a first-round pick. At least with that you know you’re getting a solid player with the potential to be even better. Four first round picks could wind up yielding little or nothing beyond a couple useful rotational players.
But I wouldn’t hang up the phone on the Rockets. It’s a unique trade proposal and is the kind of thing that — if played right — could be the kind of home run this franchise needs to hit.
*Speaking of Butler, you might have noticed that one of the players the Wolves dealt to get him — guard Zach LaVine — is off to a blistering start offensively. He’s topped 30 points in each of his first four games and is third in the league with a 32.3 average for Chicago.
The downside: The Bulls are 1-3 and LaVine’s defense is still a major question. Basketball Reference lists his offensive rating and defensive rating as both 120. LaVine gives and takes away.
*This is the 27th anniversary of Kirby Puckett’s Game 6 World Series home run that sent the Twins into Game 7 and even more drama in 1991. TPT Twin Cities has a cool feature on the fan who caught that home run ball.