Meanwhile, the Heat continues to aggressively pursue a trade for the four-time All-Star, who has asked for a trade and informed the Timberwolves that he would not re-sign with them as a free agent next summer. An executive with another Eastern Conference team said he believes Miami is the leading contender for Butler but that wasn’t based on anything the Wolves have told him.
Marc Stein: Jimmy Butler and his agent Bernie Lee have informed Wolves ownership that Miami is Butler's preferred trade destination, league sources say
Marc Stein: The Heat have pursued Butler as aggressively as any of the 20-plus teams to inquire thus far but, like many, have found it hard to get Minnesota to clearly communicate. League sources say Miami is a team that strongly appeals to the free agent-to-be Butler after a trade
Darren Wolfson: Interesting day that isn't close to being over. Have a few min. to post videos. Here's Thibs/Layden on Butler trade request. See @ Jon Krawczynski saying to not sleep on Nets, LAC, Philly, which I have heard. Heard Kings today too. Heat still pushing.
An NBA source familiar with the situation Sunday told the Sun Sentinel that he would expect the Heat to be particularly aggressive in light of the state of the team's current roster and the franchise's long-term outlook. "It makes too much sense for them not to," he said. "But do they have enough?"
Tim Bontemps: In talking with people, there are a lot of names being bandied about in different combinations to make a possible Butler deal to Miami happen. Heat have always been a team unafraid to take a swing for a star. Trying to do so again.
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.
September 18, 2021 | 2:39 am EDT Update
The Bulls’ offseason overhaul couldn’t have come at a better time, as Zach LaVine is on the final year of his contract with an extension yet to be signed. But if it were up to LaVine himself, he’s reportedly all-in on staying in the Windy City. That’s according to ESPN Chicago radio analyst David Kaplan, who’s heard from sources that the All-Star doesn’t want to go anywhere. Via ESPN 1000 FM: “He has told people that I know: ‘Hey man, if they want me here, I’m not going anywhere. I’m building this thing. I’m the first guy in the door. I wanna be part of this.’”
Is KAT’s trade value at all impacted by missing the playoffs yet again? If a Simmons deal can’t get done, would you think about trading him now, considering the likelihood that you may need to next offseason? — @JWeAnd1 Definitely no interest in trading him now. Towns will have plenty of value for the foreseeable future, barring a big injury. This is a big season. I think there will be more clarity, positive or negative, when 2021-22 concludes. Then the Wolves can make a real decision on how best to move forward. But Towns remains a focal point right now. That’s not changing anytime soon.
Morey will be in a similar position to Thibs in that rival executives will try to back him into a corner and wait for things to get really uncomfortable with Simmons, thereby driving down the asking price. But Morey is much more experienced in front office work than was Thibodeau, a coach to his core who had not yet started his third season as the lead decision-maker. Those around the league believe that if there is any executive able to stomach the circus that is sure to descend upon Philly, to block out the noise that comes with this kind of drama, it’s Morey.
Ben Simmons trade buzz has been one of the offseason’s hottest storylines, but president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and the 76ers have yet to pull the trigger in a deal involving the 25-year-old three-time All-Star. Will the Aussie wear the 76ers’ red, white and blue to start the season? By a wide margin, our panel’s vote projects Simmons to remain in Philly — at least until the season tips off on Oct. 19. 1. Philadelphia 76ers: 45%
Despite the on-paper match, ESPN’s NBA insider Zach Lowe took to his podcast to say there’s a slim chance of that actually happening due to the Clippers’ lack of interest in Russell Westbrook when he was available: “The Clippers were never interested in Russell Westbrook. They were a rumored Russell Westbrook trade in a few places whenever that happened. They were never interested. That was never a real thing. I think they value their optionality too much.” Lowe ultimately concluded, “I just don’t see it,” because, like Westbrook, Wall is over 30 and has a massive contract — $44 million due this season and a player option the following season for over $47 million.
The Philadelphia 76ers earn the top spot for Team Turmoil, as our experts predict which teams will be surrounded by the most drama this season. While the Ben Simmons saga lingers in Philly, the Lakers could share in the dramatics, as head coach Frank Vogel will have to incorporate former MVP Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony along with five former Laker alums. 1. Philadelphia 76ers: 61 points (55.0% first-place votes)