Gery Woelfel: NBA teams aren’t exactly blowing away Minnesota officials with offers for ex-Marquette standout Jimmy Butler, Sources say the Heat offered Josh Richardson, Kelly Olynyk and a protected first-round pick. Twolves wisely took a pass.
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Google the name Jimmy Butler and you’re likely to come across Richardson’s name as well, the two linked in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ efforts to attempt to trade their disgruntled All-Star guard. “It’s a business,” Richardson said during a private moment. “It is what it is. It’s a cutthroat business. I know that. I can’t get too up or too down about situations like that.”
“For like the first hour, I was hearing from everyone,” he said of when his name initially was reported as the Timberwolves’ trade focus. “But after that, it is what it is. I don’t get too much into it. When it first came out a little bit, yeah, it was hard to ignore.”
Nichols said she spoke with Butler during training camp about when he might want to talk publicly. “Honestly, at one point when it looked like things were going a certain way with Minnesota, Jimmy was in Los Angeles for a week and we thought he was going to come and be on the show,” she said. “That was the original plan, to come to the studio and be on the show and we had the beginnings of that setup. Then the trade conversations with Miami heated up and he and his agent —and this was smart on their part — thought Jimmy randomly going on TV and talking about stuff might not be the smartest thing.”
“As those days went by there was the casual, ‘Hey, are you going to go back to practice? Are you going to do media? What are you going to do?’” Nichols said. “The day before (his first practice), at 7 p.m. at night was one of those conversations. We learned that he’s ready to go back, he’s going to go to practice, he wants to talk. But as a lot of these guys do, if they want to say something complicated …. doing it in a scrum environment where you are leaning up against a wall and there are 10 cameras in your face and people are asking you questions where one question does not necessarily follow another question in terms of topic, or you start an answer and get interrupted or sidetracked, maybe you don’t say the whole thing that you wanted to say. I think a lot of athletes feel that sitting down and having an interview is the way they want to get that stuff out first.”
On the issue of whether she felt at all used by Butler’s camp as part of a media strategy, Nichols said, “When is it bad to have somebody get out what they think and what is going on with them? I think within the interview if people are not held accountable, that is when you have a problem, if the interview becomes fluffy. I have done a bunch of interviews lately including one with Anthony Davis where he came out in the opening answer and said, ‘I think I am the best player in the league,’ and he gives his general answer about why he thinks he is the best player in the NBA. I could have just let that pass. Instead, I said, ‘You want to tell me why you think you are better than LeBron James or Kevin Durant?’ If within the interview you don’t hold people accountable, that is where you can ask is someone using you to get their message (out).”
Just days before the start of the season, Pat Riley addressed the Jimmy Butler trade rumors with Heat players in a team meeting. According to a team spokesman, Riley acknowledged the trade discussions and apologized for players’ names surfacing in rumors. The message was, “I’m pulling the plug,” after talks continued for too long, but there was no guarantee that a trade will not happen down the road.
A Heat source said last week that Miami would not go back to Minnesota to re-start talks, but would not rule out a trade if Minnesota reaches out to them.
“It calms you down, for sure, a little bit,” point guard Goran Dragic said of the meeting. “Of course, everybody is talking, including me. I just want to focus on my job. But deep down, it affects you a little bit. I want to stay here. I like it, really. So when Pat came after practice and sat us down and we had a small meeting, he told us that and you can feel a little bit of relief. But that doesn’t mean, in the near future it can’t happen. So we still need to do our job. We still need to be professionals.”
Ira Winderman: Heat confirm that Pat Riley addressed his players about Jimmy Butler trade rumors and told them, “I’m pulling the plug.” But he did not tell them anything about standing by his young players. Rather, made them aware of process.
For now, Minnesota’s talks with teams around the NBA are mostly dormant, league sources told The Athletic. The Miami Heat have long been the most aggressive team pursuing Butler, having advantages with a young, promising wing in Josh Richardson, being a team not in Minnesota’s conference and holding other assets to add in a package. Yet days before their own season opener Wednesday, Miami president Pat Riley had informed his locker room that the team would stick with the current roster to start the season and the loyalty the organization has for their current players, league sources said.
Timberwolves coach/executive Tom Thibodeau raised the asking price for Jimmy Butler in trade talks after last week’s infamous practice incident, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on today’s edition of “The Jump.” The ESPN scribe adds that Thibodeau feels like he came away victorious in his struggle with owner Glen Taylor because Butler remains on the team and will play in tonight’s opener. “This is exactly what Tom Thibodeau wanted, which was him in the lineup on opening night,” Wojnarowski said. “The day that Jimmy came back and practiced, Thibs won. He waited out his owner, he waited out Jimmy, got him back on the court.”
A disconnect between his desires and those of owner Glen Taylor, who wants to grant Butler’s trade request? “Great, great,” Thibodeau said of his communication with Taylor through this process. “The one thing about Glen is we probably talk, he, Scott and I, probably three or four times a day. It’s been clear that we’re always going to try to do what’s best for our team.”
Butler said he made it be known early in the offseason that he was not long for Minnesota. Rather than take the Spurs approach of dealing their star at a time when the market was hottest, Thibodeau essentially decided he was going to go the Lakers route. Kobe Bryant requested a trade at one point, but the Lakers never gave in, made some roster moves and convinced him to stay.
ESPN 99.1: .@Jon Krawczynski on Jimmy Butler: “Miami has certainly been the most aggressive in getting him. Think HOU will be in for a while. BRO/PHI maybe come back into it. Hard to handicap it, but odds in favor of him landing in Miami”
In an expansive interview with Glen Taylor on Tuesday, the Timberwolves owner said he has reached an understanding with four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler and will continue trying to trade him.
“The latest is he is going to be going to practice every day, which he has been, and plans to play in games,” said Taylor, who also owns the Star Tribune. “He will be a regular team player. What I said to him in the meantime is our GM, Scott Layden, will be talking to other teams to see if there is a trade that works.”
Is Taylor committed to trading Butler? “Yes I think that he’s made it very clear that he would not re-sign with us at the end of the year and therefore it is in our interest to get a trade so that we can get a player or two to replace him that helps our team.”
Thibodeau has three years left on his five-year that deal that was worth about $40 million. Is he coaching for his job? “No, no, the only thing now is that we are starting to play games and I am asking him to concentrate on coaching and the GM Scott Layden will help to see if any trades are available,” Taylor said.
Q: Will Jimmy Butler ever get traded? I’m starting to feel bad for the guy. — @codylaws2 from Twitter. Marc Stein: I remain convinced that, yes, Butler will be traded — somehow. Things have gotten so farcical just since our last newsletter that the Timberwolves surely understand, deep down, that trying to hang onto Butler for a little longer, like the Denver Nuggets did with Carmelo Anthony in 2010 after a trade with the Nets collapsed shortly before training camp, is doomed to flop in the Twin Cities. Unless Wolves management are intent on emasculating their young cornerstones Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins to an even more damaging degree than we’ve already seen, I would suspect that, at some stage, Minnesota Owner Glen Taylor will realize that the wisest course is to direct his coach and team president, Tom Thibodeau, to focus all his energies on prioritizing the two players whose long-term contracts are valued at nearly $340 million combined.
Marc Stein: Although I still can’t believe that the Wolves didn’t jump on the Heat’s offer headlined by the promising Josh Richardson, Miami continues to be the most likely Butler destination. Yet I must note that rumbles persist about Houston maintaining serious interest in trying to concoct a workable deal structure that convinces the Timberwolves to surrender their All-Star swingman — even though you hear over and over that Minnesota wants to send him East if it sends Butler anywhere, to avoid helping the Rockets establish their own superteam.
But the Warriors won’t have four in-their-prime stars forever. Chris Paul is 33. Towns has a chance to be the most versatile scoring big man in history. You’re gonna leave that dude to go to Miami and play with … who? You’re gonna move to Brooklyn, even though Irving scuttled the dream of teaming up there? Philly would be a different story, and Butler has eyes for them, sources familiar with the matter say. The Sixers have expressed almost no interest in trading for him, sources say. There is some theoretical road map to a Clippers team-up with Leonard.
This isn’t to say Minnesota is blameless. Tom Thibodeau, Scott Layden, and Glen Taylor watched their team culture erode and did nothing, assuming it would repair itself. Taylor and the front office have sent contradictory messages to Butler suitors, sometimes within minutes of each other, league sources have said.
Three days before the start of the regular season, Taylor met with his disgruntled All-Star before practice, searching for some sort of understanding to calm the noise that has drowned out any sense of excitement for the upcoming season. In the meeting, Taylor and Butler came to an agreement, sources said: Taylor will continue to work diligently to find a trade as soon as possible. Until that happens, Butler will be a good teammate and play as hard as he always does.
There may have been some sort of accord reached, but the situation is “fluid,” as Thibodeau likes to call it, and could change at a moment’s notice. One thing was certain: Butler wasn’t walking anything back. Speaking carefully, and occasionally coyly, to avoid breaking any league rules about publicly discussing trade requests, Butler said there has been no change in his stance and no second thoughts about how he has handled things.
“I should have left out the cuss words. That’s it,” Butler said. “It was the same type of energy today (as Wednesday), they just didn’t tell you all. Whoever told you all didn’t tell you all. The league sources didn’t tell you.”
Christopher Hine: Can confirm what @ Jon Krawczynski first reported that owner Glen Taylor and Jimmy Butler met today and Taylor said the team will continue to look for a trade for Butler and honor his trade request, and Butler will play while he’s still a member of the Wolves.
Barry Jackson: Per The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski:, Wolves owner Glen Taylor and Jimmy Butler “came to an agreement” Sunday that “Taylor will continue to work diligently to find a trade as soon as possible. Until that happens, Butler will be a good teammate and play as hard as he always does.”
Ira Winderman: Pat Riley statement: “As to what has been reported in the past 24 hours, I have too much respect for Tom Thibodeau and all that he’s accomplished in the league. Our conversations have been nothing but cordial and I have never used that kind of language in negotiations. But I do admit to telling Danny Ainge to . . .” (That reference to his “STFU” quote during the LeBron Era.)
Paul George, no stranger to uncomfortable situations with NBA management, said on Friday he’s spoken with Jimmy Butler about what’s happening in Minnesota and is firmly on his side. “Jimmy has a very valid point,” George said. “I’m on Jimmy’s side. It’s not coming from a place where he’s going against an organization.”
“Jimmy’s a guy, his whole career, he made it into the league off work, off him having to grind and scratch and claw to get to where he’s at,” George said. “And then he sees the potential he has around him and he just wants guys to match that because if guys are skilled and have that ‘it’ like KAT (Karl-Anthony Towns) has, like Andrew Wiggins has, they have that ‘it’ that a lot of guys don’t have, now they just have to match it with what Jimmy’s bringing to the table. I’m all for what Jimmy is trying to do over there.”
George said he talked to Butler “a little bit” and that Butler’s demonstrative behavior is “not coming from a bad place.” “He wants the best for that organization and is trying to bring out everything for that organization to get to where they want to get to,” George said.
An NBA source familiar with the Miami Heat’s involvement in trade negotiations with the Minnesota Timberwolves for Jimmy Butler on Friday downplayed a report of contentiousness. The Heat, according to a source familiar with the dealings, “are not trying to re-engage” in the talks. The process, however, seemingly remains fluid in light of Butler’s recent behavior and comments.
“So they finally relented on Josh Richardson, they were giving them Josh Richardson. Then Dion Waiters was going to be the cap filler, and then a protected first-round pick. The medicals were exchanged, which, really, generally in the NBA means this is a done deal. And then, Thibs called back and wanted more picks. And Pat Riley literally — I was told — called him a motherbleeper and hung up the phone.” A NBA source familiar with the Heat’s dealings with the Timberwolves said Riley insists he did not offer such a reaction.
The Heat do not publicly comment on trade negotiations and numerous times since Butler’s trade request became public three weeks ago have, through their media-relations department, stressed that players, coaches and team officials would not be made available to comment on the matter. The Heat, according to a source familiar with the dealings, “are not trying to re-engage” in the talks. The process, however, seemingly remains fluid in light of Butler’s recent behavior and comments.
Eric Nehm: Thibs: Jimmy (Butler) is in Minneapolis conditioning. Do you expect him for the start of the regular season? Thibs: The situation remains fluid.
Here’s the audio from Sedano’s ESPN Los Angeles radio show today, in which he describes the almost-trade between the Heat and the Wolves: Here it is transcribed: There’s been a couple of different incarnations of this deal. The first one, the Heat didn’t want to take back Gorgui Dieng. Then, the next incarnation of the deal was ‘OK forget it, let’s just do it straight up, just for Jimmy on your end.’ They finally relented on Josh Richardson, they were giving them Josh Richardson, then Dion Waiters was going to be the cap filler, and then a protected first-round pick. The medicals were exchanged, which generally in the NBA means this is a done deal. And then, Thibs called back and wanted more picks. And Pat Riley literally—I was told—called him a motherbleeper and hung up the phone.
Shams Charania: Timberwolves All-Star Jimmy Butler called a players-only meeting today, airing his feelings toward situation and management, per league sources. Butler expressed to players he would compete with them, as signs pointing to him staying with the franchise into the regular season.
Shams Charania: Sources on @TheAthleticNBA @WatchStadium: Several players spoke up in players-only meeting, but Butler led it, made known his issues with management. His message was similar to one he displayed Wednesday: I run this. He’s far too competitive to sit real games.
Jimmy Butler walked into practice on Wednesday in time for the scrimmage to start. He had not been on the court with his Timberwolves teammates since Game 5 of the Western Conference quarterfinals against Houston in April, but it didn’t take him long to take over, just like old times. “Y’all better hurry up,” Butler woofed, according to three people in the gym at the time. “I’m only here for an hour.”
He jumped into the fray, grabbing several members of the third team such as Luol Deng, James Nunnally and two-way player Jared Terrell to go against Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and some of the higher-profile Wolves players. He challenged them, like he has so often since he first came to town. He talked trash to the young Wolves and the old Wolves, spewed venom toward head coach Tom Thibodeau and GM Scott Layden, as ESPN first reported.
“I run this shit,” Butler howled, according to several people in the practice facility. Some players laughed. Jimmy being Jimmy. Others in the building were concerned, wondering how Thibodeau and Layden could stand for that kind of conduct, sources said.
In a meeting on Monday, Butler told Thibodeau this is how it would go, sources said. He wasn’t going to sit by and be quiet and have his desires ignored. Butler had also made clear that he wanted to sit down to discuss several issues with Towns, including the timing of his contract signing, as a means to challenge the young center about being up front and honest, league sources said. It is unclear if that meeting has taken place.
I agree with Britt that the wise move would be to pay him to stay away from the team. But before Wednesday, Thibs clearly didn’t believe that his presence in the locker room and on the court would be a problem.
There was insight sought from a Chicago media person who had watched Butler from the start of his career. The suggestion was that Jimmy came into the league driven by his underdog status, and that changed a few years later when he started hanging out with Wahlberg and seeing himself as a star.
Darren Wolfson: Told Butler is breaking his silence right now in a sit-down with ESPN. Interview to air tonight. #Twolves
Adrian Wojnarowski: After talks fell apart over weekend, Miami’s still pursuing discussions with Minnesota on a Jimmy Butler trade, sources tell ESPN. Butler has been in Timberwolves locker room with teammates this morning before practice, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll join them on floor.
While teams trying to deal with the Timberwolves as the Jimmy Butler saga drags have expressed frustration with the asking price — Miami’s offer was centered around solid, young two-way guard Josh Richardson and a draft pick, but the Wolves sought to add deadweight salary into the mix — there’s also a good deal of trepidation about acquiring Butler, league executives told Sporting News. “As good as Jimmy is, I think you have to be concerned about the impact he is going to have in the locker room, on your younger guys, on your coaching staff, all of that,” one general manager said. “He has gotten the benefit of the doubt, but if you look at his history, he’s had trouble getting along in Chicago and now in Minnesota.
The Clippers have been in contact with the Wolves, too, but LA won’t include forward Tobias Harris in a deal. Instead, the Clippers have juggled offers that include Danilo Gallinari as the centerpiece, or some combination including guards Patrick Beverley, Milos Teodosic and others. “The Wolves want to get fair value on Jimmy, but that is not going to happen,” one executive told Sporting News. “It’s not just that. If you’re the Nets or Clippers, you know you could sign the guy next summer without giving up anything. It’s also, is this the right fit with what we are doing? The Nets have been trying to build up a certain culture, but you add Butler and that dynamic changes.
Stefano Fusaro: Jimmy Butler update: According to a league source, The Wolves contacted the Rockets again Tuesday morning, after their failed deal with Miami this past weekend. Minnesota was still adamant on receiving Eric Gordon and PJ Tucker, but Houston will not put Tucker on the table.
Jimmy Butler has returned to Minnesota and reiterated his desire to be traded in a meeting with president and coach Tom Thibodeau on Monday, league sources told The Athletic. Barring a change in the dwindling trade market between now and the season opener in San Antonio on Oct. 17, the Timberwolves are making preparations to start the season with Butler on the roster, league sources said.
Butler has not practiced with the team since training camp opened on Sept. 25, just over a week after he first met with Thibodeau to personally deliver his trade request. He was at the facility on Monday, sources said. The Wolves have had conversations with a number of teams — most notably with the Miami Heat, who have discussed frameworks around the promising Josh Richardson — but have yet to close a deal.
Several teams around the league have privately questioned whether the Wolves are truly interested in finding a trade for a player that was the central figure in Thibodeau’s plans to rebuild the team. Thibodeau and GM Scott Layden have driven a hard bargain for their four-time All-Star, not wanting to give him up for pennies on the dollar and take a massive step back heading into a season that could be make-or-break for their regime.
Players have tired of the constant questions about Butler’s status. The cloud has hung over the franchise for three weeks now, and it’s clear that they have enough to worry about with their performances in the preseason. “It’s tough but you have to just circle the wagons like Thibs said,” Gibson said. “I’m just focusing right now on whoever is here because you have to understand we have a strong group of guys that come in here, put a lot of time and work in.
Teague has said Butler is a “good friend” but doesn’t want to get involved in what he has going on off the court. “I really don’t pay attention to much,” Teague said. “Just kind of stick to myself and do what I’m supposed to do. Stay out of everybody’s way and I just enjoy the process, I honestly do.”
That the talks collapsed twice in such a short span should be surprising to no one who has followed the Wolves throughout Taylor’s quarter-century of ownership. The same Taylor who held onto Kevin Garnett and then-General Manager Kevin McHale for too long. Who allowed himself to be talked into hiring the thoroughly ill-prepared David Kahn as McHale’s replacement. Who could have escaped his Butler nightmare by accepting a package from Miami that would have been headlined by the promising Heat swingman Josh Richardson and a protected first-round pick.
Numerous teams have complained in recent days that Thibodeau and Layden are acting like two men who really don’t want to make a deal. But that hasn’t stopped the Heat from engaging in numerous rounds of talks with the Wolves and presenting them with what appears to be a pretty palatable offer given Minnesota’s distinct lack of leverage. Miami, Brooklyn and the Los Angeles Clippers are the teams known to most interest Butler in the long-term. The fact that one of those three is willing to furnish a young player as highly rated as Richardson, along with a potential first-round pick, would enable the Wolves to recoup a good bit of what they gave up (Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the draft pick that became Lauri Markkanen) to acquire Butler.
As lifeless and distracted as the Wolves have looked during the exhibition season, can you imagine Butler, Towns and Wiggins trying to co-exist long enough for Taylor to find a trade he’s willing to sanction? Toronto, Houston, Boston, San Antonio, Philadelphia and, of course, LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers — there are so many teams, for so many intriguing reasons, we should be obsessing over as opening night draws near. There’s also the small matter of the Golden State Warriors preparing to work in the mercurial DeMarcus Cousins as they chase a fourth championship in five seasons.
Multiple reports have the Rockets eliminated from contention, despite offering a package rumored to be as big as Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker, and several draft picks. The reasoning for Houston being ruled out isn’t because of the deal, but because, reportedly, Minnesota doesn’t want the Rockets to become the kind of juggernaut the Western Conference already has in Golden State. “We already are at [that level],” Feritta says in a phone call. “We’re an improved team over last year based on who we’ve acquired this offseason. And last year, obviously, we’re a game away from the Finals. “We would love to see Jimmy come home to Houston. It’s not a financial decision, it’s an assets decision on our part. We’ve got a great basketball team. We think we’re as good as anybody in the league. We’re not going to give up unreasonable assets, to break up this team, to get Jimmy Butler. But we would love to have him.”
While Houston continues to explore its options in the Jimmy Butler saga and has significant interest in landing the disgruntled Minnesota star, strong skepticism remains that the Timberwolves are seriously dedicated to finding a deal. So long as that remains the case, with so many executives convinced that president of basketball operations/coach Tom Thibodeau still wants Butler to stay despite the uncomfortable nature of it all, then these Rockets will have to prepare as if there is no more help on the way. Translation: The prospect of Anthony playing like a legitimate star again would be welcomed. He has plenty of personal incentive, too, as he’ll be a free agent again next summer after signing a one-year, $2.4 million deal with Houston (Anthony was traded by the Thunder to Atlanta in a three-team deal with Philadelphia, then bought out by the Hawks; he’s still slated to earn the $27.9 million he was owed for next season between the buyout and his Rockets deal).
Jon Krawczynski: Jimmy Butler has returned to Minnesota, and in a meeting with Tom Thibodeau on Monday, reiterated his desire to be traded, league sources tell me and @ShamsCharania
Jon Krawczynski: Butler had been away from the team while the Wolves were on the West Coast, and was still not in town when they returned last week. As trade talks have slowed, there is still no change in his desire to move.
But the Clippers have yet to offer Tobias Harris in any package, sources said. It is believed that the Wolves are looking at Harris to headline any potential Clippers deal, just like they are looking at Richardson to be the main cog in a deal with Miami.
The Heat, Clippers, 76ers and Nets are among other teams to have expressed privately their misgivings about the Wolves’ intentions, league sources have said. But they also could have expected Minnesota to fold much more quickly on a deal given the circumstances.
It may seem obvious, but this is the first place to start. Butler has never wavered on his stance that he wants to be traded from the Timberwolves, league sources told The Athletic, even after several attempts by Thibodeau to convince him to rejoin the team and play this season out.
Butler was in Los Angeles hanging out last week when the Wolves were in town to face the Clippers. He dined with several teammates and has been texting players like Taj Gibson and Josh Okogie with messages of encouragement while he has been away. But he remains determined to force a move and is hopeful a deal is struck before the season begins so he can get back on the court and get going, sources said.
He has been working out on his own while the team has excused him from practices and preseason games, but the conditioning that comes from playing in games is on a different level.
Although the Butler drama has seemingly put the organization in a bind, Thibodeau warned against letting it become more of a distraction than it already is. “Focus on the people that are here and get ready to play. That’s it,” Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau said before the game. “We’ve got a long season, and if you look you can get distracted very easily, so focus is very important. This team has been through a lot in the last year. I think they’re ready to handle whatever is thrown our way.”
Jeff Zillgitt: To borrow a phrase my mom used to yell at me, the Heat have had it up to here with the Timberwolves, I’m told. Doesn’t mean talks can’t be resurrected, but exasperated is polite way to describe Heat in this situation.
Talks between the two teams could restart again, but it appears there would need to be a resetting process between Miami and Minnesota, league sources said. Minnesota has been engaged with no serious talks elsewhere on Butler, with teams believing that a Miami deal was inevitable and the Timberwolves steep asking price often remaining a non-starter in talks, league sources said. Butler is a four-time All-Star who has told Minnesota that he’ll leave in free agency in July — and wants a trade now.
Asked what the Wolves are seeking, a Heat source said: “The first born of all our kids.” Still, the source declined to rule out the possibility of a deal still happening if Minnesota lessens its demands.
The Wolves are believed to be asking for several of the assets the Heat considers most valuable: Josh Richardson, Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic, Kelly Olynyk, Justise Winslow and a No. 1 pick. Miami had shown willingness to include Richardson after initially balking, according to a source.
Shams Charania: Sources on @TheAthleticNBA @WatchStadium: Minnesota and Miami have seriously discussed several frameworks of a potential deal for Jimmy Butler, including ones with Heat’s Josh Richardson. Medicals shared both ways. Timberwolves do not appear any closer a deal.
Owner Glen Taylor is pushing president of basketball operations and coach Tom Thibodeau and general manager Scott Layden to find a deal sooner than later for Butler, league sources said. Minnesota had really pushed Miami to include Richardson in any proposed deal. Richardson, 25, is considered a strong, young two-way player. He averaged 12.9 points in 81 starts last season. He’s in the first season of a four-year, $42 million contract.
Minnesota had shared Butler’s medical information with Miami late in the week, sources said, a typical last step before finalizing a trade. Minnesota owner Glen Taylor and Miami owner Micky Arison had become involved in the talks and there was hope that a trade call with the league office could finalize a deal soon — until Minnesota moved to amend the framework of the trade and talks collapsed on Saturday, league sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: Minnesota-Miami talks escalated close to a Jimmy Butler deal over weekend – only to see trade fall apart. Minnesota shared Butler’s medical info with Miami, owners were involved and sides prepared to finalize. Minnesota pushed for more, talks fractured.
While Houston continues to explore its options in the Jimmy Butler saga and has significant interest in landing the disgruntled Minnesota star, strong skepticism remains that the Timberwolves are seriously dedicated to finding a deal. So long as that remains the case, with so many executives convinced that president of basketball operations/coach Tom Thibodeau still wants Butler to stay despite the uncomfortable nature of it all, then these Rockets will have to prepare as if there is no more help on the way.
The Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Clippers have had ongoing discussions about a trade centered around All-Star forward Jimmy Butler, league sources told Yahoo Sports. The Timberwolves’ asking price has been deemed too high thus far, with multiple players and picks being requested, sources said.
In any deal with the Clippers, Minnesota would prefer to acquire forward Tobias Harris, sources said. Various trade packages have been proposed on both sides, but the Clippers do not intend to trade Harris, sources said. The Timberwolves’ brass hasn’t fully engaged the Clippers’ pitches, sources said, because it is believed that president of basketball operations/head coach Tom Thibodeau is holding out hope that he can persuade Butler to rescind his trade request.
Jon Krawczynski: Jeff Teague was asked how Jimmy would fit back into the locker room if he came back: “it would be nice. That’s my friend. But that’s not up to me.”
Christopher Hine: Today’s Jimmy Butler update Question to Tom Thibodeau:”How do you feel about the ongoing discussions?” A: “They’re ongoing.” End of press scrum.
Adrian Wojnarowski: While Minnesota-Miami talks on Jimmy Butler continued today, there’s no deal imminent tonight, league sources tell ESPN.
Timberwolves executives told other interested teams in the past 24 hours that they didn’t have any offers that met the franchise’s criteria to honor Butler’s trade request and planned to hold on to him until a deal met their requirements, league sources said. Miami is one of the preferred destinations of Butler’s, league sources said. He has told the Wolves that he’ll leave the team in July free agency, and has expressed interest in several teams with max salary space, including the LA Clippers, Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks.
During “The Scoop” segment with Darren Wolfson on Wednesday on 1500 ESPN, he mentioned that while the Wolves could fine Jimmy Butler for not practicing with the team they weren’t doing so as a “good faith move with the hope he will rejoin them, even if it’s for a short time.” Butler has made it clear he wants out of Minnesota after one season and has told the organization that if he isn’t traded he will leave as a free agent next summer. Butler did report to training camp but was excused from the early practice sessions as he recovered from offseason surgery on his right wrist.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Miami, Minnesota have been consistently engaged in Jimmy Butler talks for several days, with Heat pushing Timberwolves for an answer today on a revised offer, league sources tell ESPN. Minnesota’s conversations are relatively sparse elsewhere; remain focused on Miami.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Barring a trade, Tom Thibodeau is still determined to get Butler back with the team for start of season. Butler hasn’t made a final decision on when he’ll join team and practice, but he doesn’t plan to miss regular season games if his wrist is healthy.
Darren Wolfson: It’s also why the #Twolves aren’t fining Butler, which they could. Good faith move with the hope that he will rejoin them, even if it’s for a short time. Sort of comparable to ‘Melo in Denver in 2010. Asked for a trade in late August, was moved months later at the deadline.
Marc Stein: As @NYTSports reported last week, Wolves ownership has been notified that Miami is Jimmy Butler’s preferred destination, which is significant given that Butler becomes a free agent July 1
Darren Wolfson: Had a mutual friend of ours in the league say today that he heard the Wolves asked Miami for both Richardson and Bam. But couldn’t confirm from another contact. But falls in line with what @Marc Stein has tonight.
Darren Wolfson: “My understanding is, from talking to numerous league officials – league sources, front-office folks, a coach, actually, a couple of coaching sources – that the Timberwolves have all the parameters of the deals that they can make. So it’s on the Wolves at some point here to say yes. Now, do they wait a little bit longer just to see if some team adds some player in, like Miami? Miami is not willing to move Josh Richardson. But in the end, do they offer Josh Richardson? I talked about that on a recent podcast, that some league people thought yeah, at the end, Pat Riley would make him available when you have the chance to acquire a star like Jimmy Butler. But so far, as of Oct. 2nd, no sense whatsoever that Miami is making Josh Richardson available. Same goes for Bam Adebayo.”
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October 21, 2018 | 1:12 pm EDT Update
Adrian Wojnarowski: Whatever case Rondo’s making, NBA is evaluating a video clip captured courtside that shows saliva/spit shooting from Rondo’s mouth onto Chris Paul’s face. It appears Rondo will have to sell league on fact that it was unintentional — and that appears to be a tough case to make.
Sam Amick: There is a video clip being reviewed by the league that clearly shows Rajon Rondo spitting on Chris Paul before Chris wipes his face & raises his finger, sources tell @theathletic. It’s quick, as if he’s spitting a sunflower seed, & validates Chris’ story. theathletic.com/603529/2018/10…
The Chicago Bulls are walking away from the oft-injured Omer Asik, announcing they had waived the center on Sunday. Asik hadn’t played for the Bulls this season after he was ruled out indefinitely with inflammatory arthritis in September. Asik’s $11.3 million salary for 2018-19 was fully guaranteed, and he is owed $3 million for next season as a partial guarantee. The Bulls would owe him the full $14.3 million unless a team claims him off waivers, which is unlikely.
Malika Andrews: Shaquille Harrison addressed media for the first time this morning. He says this is the first time he’s been to Chicago. He said he was surprised to be cut by the Suns. “I didn’t see it coming at all, but that’s the NBA for you.” He wished the Suns luck.
“This season for me is like, man, I don’t take being healthy for granted any more,” Griffin said after his second straight dominant outing – 33 points to lead a 118-116 win over the Bulls in their home opener – kept the Pistons unbeaten under Dwane Casey at 2-0. “Having a team like this and everybody being healthy right now, I don’t take that for granted.” Griffin has fully emerged not just as the Pistons star – and, yeah, he’s playing at an elite level now, averaging 29.5 points, 10.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists on 50 percent shooting – but as their unmistakable leader.
Malika Andrews: Lauri Markkanen is walking around without a brace. Fred Hoiberg says he is looking at the same timetable for a return but seeing him without a brace is a “relief.”
October 21, 2018 | 12:17 pm EDT Update
The Chicago Bulls have signed guard Shaquille Harrison. In accordance with team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed. In a preceding move, the Bulls waived center Omer Asik. Harrison (6-4, 190) was waived by the Phoenix Suns on Oct. 15, 2018. He played in four games (three starts) for the Suns during the 2018 preseason and averaged 7.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.25 steals and 1.25 blocks in 22.4 minutes per game. Harrison first signed with Phoenix on Feb. 21, 2018, and averaged 6.6 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.13 steals in 23 games last season, his first in the NBA.