Just when you thought it was safe to look away from your phone and forget about those Jimmy Butler to the Miami Heat rumors, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves almost happened this weekend. Owners were involved, Butler’s medical history was being shared, and the deal was set to be finalized but that’s when the Timberwolves just couldn’t help themselves and got greedy by asking for more assets.
Those talks can always start again, but Minnesota has little else, if anything, going in the marketplace. Teams had backed away because of price and belief Minny would get deal w/ Miami. Sources say owner Glen Taylor's mandate stands to his front office: Find a deal for Butler. https://t.co/LIXQwXPKkl— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 7, 2018
With all the reported infighting going on right now within the Timberwolves franchise, it’s no surprise that they’re their own worst enemy but to derail a trade everyone knows is their best and only realistic option is still a head scratcher. They’re not in any sort of position of strength, Butler isn’t even training with the team, and Miami is apparently bidding against no other team.
The only minimal leverage they have given the fact that the Heat have no other viable means to add an All-Star talent except via a trade and acquiring his Bird Rights isn’t enough, at least so far, for the Heat to consider sweetening the deal.
Wojnarowski reported the Heat may have been open to including Josh Richardson in a deal, whom the Timberwolves want included in the deal, and that the trade discussions were between just both franchises but could have also involved a third team.
Miami had been searching for a third team to re-route a contract, which included conversations on Miami guard Dion Waiters, sources said. Incentivizing a third team with draft picks became one of the road blocks in Minnesota completing the trade, league sources said.
However, there is still a possibility that trade talks could resume since there are no other good offers from another team.
As it stands, this situation isn’t only just a distraction with the Timberwolves but now the Heat and their players have to be more than ready to put these trade rumors behind them so they can focus on the season with whoever is going to be on the roster moving forward. Though Richardson’s current injury appears to have been legitimately suffered during last week’s scrimmage, it is rather curious how extensive the injury list has been this preseason (aside from Dion Waiters and James Johnson still recovering from their respective surgeries). Is the franchise merely being cautious with certain players or is it because they’re potential trade pieces?
For now, the Heat remain in a holding pattern in their efforts to acquire Butler. Stand pat, Pat Riley and the Timberwolves should blink first.