As the 2018-19 NBA season draws near, the Minnesota Timberwolves are active on the market, searching for an ideal trade partner for Jimmy Butler. The 29-year-old small forward decided to demand a trade from the Timberwolves after a dispute with his young teammates Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Timberwolves Head Coach Tom Thibodeau initially hesitated to make Butler available on the trading block, but owner Glen Taylor urged him to move the disgruntled superstar as soon as possible.
One of the NBA teams who is making a hard push to acquire Jimmy Butler from the Timberwolves is the Miami Heat. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Heat and the Timberwolves have already engaged in advance trade negotiations, with the latter sharing Butler’s medical information with Miami. In the potential deal with the Timberwolves, the Heat are reportedly willing to offer a trade package centered on Josh Richardson.
The Timberwolves see Josh Richardson as a strong two-way player who can help them remain competitive in the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season. Unfortunately, the trade between the Heat and the Timberwolves collapsed after Minnesota asked for more sweetener. Wojnarowski details the problematic nature of the potential trade, arguing that a deal is still possible.
“Minnesota and Miami had been discussing deals that included a third team to take on salary, as well as doing a direct trade between the Timberwolves and Heat, league sources said. Miami had softened on including guard Josh Richardson in versions of a possible deal for Butler, only to recoil once Minnesota pushed late for a sweeter return on the four-time All-Star forward, league sources said. Talks between the two teams could restart again, but it appears there would need to be a resetting process.”
The @MiamiHEAT came close to acquiring Jimmy Butler over the weekend ????
— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) October 7, 2018
When Jimmy Butler requested a trade, Timberwolves Head Coach Tom Thibodeau made it clear that they have no intention to make a bad deal. Though he is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2019, the Timberwolves are still expecting a good return — especially knowing that they sacrificed valuable trade assets to acquire him from the Chicago Bulls last summer. As Wojnarowski notes, the Heat and the Timberwolves could still continue their trade negotiation, but both sides will likely have to start negotiations from scratch.
Both teams are reportedly hoping to unload lucrative contracts in the potential deal. The Heat want to get rid of Dion Waiters, while the Timberwolves are looking for NBA teams who are willing to absorb Gorgui Dieng. Other NBA teams like the Los Angeles Clippers, Brooklyn Nets, and the Houston Rockets have also expressed strong interest in acquiring Butler, but as of now, the Timberwolves have only engaged in serious trade talks with the Heat.