Jim Mone/Associated Press
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Heat are looking to discuss a potential Butler swap with the Minnesota Timberwolves even though “talks fell apart” during the weekend. Wojnarowski noted Butler was in Minnesota’s locker room prior to Wednesday’s practice, although he pointed out that doesn’t mean he will actually participate.
Wojnarowski reported Monday that the Heat and Timberwolves “advanced to the brink of a blockbuster trade” involving Butler, while Marc Stein of the New York Times noted Miami offered swingman Josh Richardson and a protected first-round pick as part of the return package.
That is a notable offer considering the Timberwolves’ lack of significant leverage, with Butler having a player option on his contract for the 2019-20 campaign.
What’s more, Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic reported Butler “reiterated his trade desire” Monday even after returning to Minnesota prior to the start of the regular season in mid-October.
The Timberwolves are reportedly trying on other fronts as well. Stefano Fusaro of ESPN reported they reached out to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday with the hope of landing Eric Gordon and PJ Tucker in a trade. However, Houston didn’t want to move Tucker.
With uncertainty looming, Krawczynski and Charania noted the Timberwolves are “preparing to start the season with Butler on the roster.”
Whichever team ends up with Butler will have a two-way star who can impact the game with his formidable defense and scoring. He averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game last season for Minnesota and is a four-time All-Star, four-time All-Defensive selection and two-time All-NBA selection.
His ability to become an unrestricted free agent next offseason complicates his future, but a contender would receive a significant boost by having Butler at its disposal for the 2018-19 campaign.