Just days before Tuesday’s start of training camp, the Miami Heat find itself in the middle of trade speculation. The Heat was aggressively pursuing a a trade for disgruntled Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler on Sunday, targeting a player who has long been a favorite of the organization, according to several league sources.
The Heat has told teams this offseason that Hassan Whiteside, Tyler Johnson and Dion Waiters are available, according to two opposing front office executives who have spoken to the Heat. But the Heat knows a different combination of more attractive players will be needed to pry away Butler, who averaged 22.2 points per game for Minnesota last season.
The Heat has been very reluctant this offseason to part with Josh Richardson and Bam Adebayo, and it’s unclear if Miami would be willing to include Richardson in a deal for Butler. (Miami’s preference would be not to include Richardson.) Miami also prefers to keep Kelly Olynyk. But Justise Winslow could be put in play because of questions about whether the Heat will keep him if he enters restricted free agency next summer.
Adrian Wojnarowski: So far, Pat Riley and Miami have been as aggressive as any team in pursuit of a Jimmy Butler trade with Minnesota, league sources tell ESPN. Ownership still prefers to find a deal by early this week, sources said.
Tim Bontemps: In talking to people around the league today, Miami has come up as a popular landing spot for Jimmy Butler. Regardless, expectation is Minnesota’s preference is to move him East, if at all possible, to help Wolves’ playoff chances.
The Miami Heat have been interested in Butler too, league sources said, although the Heat don't have the salary-cap space in July to pursue him.
After weeks of seriously contemplating his future in Minnesota, Butler requested a trade from the Timberwolves and informed Thibodeau of his decision on Tuesday in a meeting in Los Angeles, league sources told The Athletic. Players within the locker room first began to hear whispers of Butler’s plans last week, according to sources. Butler has given the Timberwolves a list of teams that could interest him. The Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers are expected as desired destination, and could extend to the Miami Heat and others, sources said. He’s long held a level of desire to potentially play in Los Angeles, a scenario those around him discussed internally as a Bulls free agent in 2015.
Butler met with Thibodeau on Tuesday in Los Angeles, and informed him that he didn't want to start the season with the Timberwolves and hoped to be traded to a big market team that would want to sign him in the summer. ... Miami has also been a team with interest in Butler, league sources said, but the Heat don't have the salary cap space in July to pursue him.
Should the Heat be interested in acquiring Paul George from the Pacers? -- Daniel, Miami. A: I don't know if they "should be," but I know that they will consider every and any possibilities when it comes to elite-level players, be it George or Jimmy Butler, when those respective teams are eliminated from the playoffs. For as much as Pat Riley praised what the Heat have in place, the reality is that you win in the NBA with elite-level talent surrounded by the proper supporting pieces. But if a playoff team is to move on from such a talent, it likely will require a top-tier piece and a youth element in return. So if you're talking about George or Butler, you're probably also talking about Hassan Whiteside or Goran Dragic in return. When it comes to the youth element, the Heat do not have a first-round pick to offer in return, although there is the youth of Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson. So, to instead offer the simplest response: Yes, absolutely, should a player of that ilk come on the market.
October 25, 2021 | 7:33 pm EDT Update
October 25, 2021 | 7:05 pm EDT Update
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