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- Four-time NBA All-Star Jimmy Butler requested a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves last week.
- Butler listed the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, and Los Angeles Clippers as his desired destinations, but those teams have not made serious attempts to acquire him in a trade.
- The Miami Heat have emerged as a favorite to land the forward, as their front office has been "aggressive" in pursuing Butler and have multiple intriguing players available to trade in return.
Last week, four-time NBA All-Star Jimmy Butler requested a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves after playing just one season in Minneapolis.
Although Butler listed the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, and Los Angeles Clippers as the three teams he was interested in playing for next season, another team has distinguished itself as a possible landing spot for the two-time All-NBA team honoree.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Miami Heat have expressed serious interest in acquiring Butler and "have been as aggressive as any team in pursuit of a Jimmy Butler trade with Minnesota."
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.
Heat president Pat Riley and head coach Erik Spoelstra are both fond of the star forward "not only because of his offensive game but because of his competitive nature and strong defensive skills," according to the Miami Herald. And even though Yahoo! reports that 40 percent of the league would like to trade for Butler, Miami has distinguished itself as a front-runner because it has intriguing assets available in return.
When asked if there was any player on his team's roster who would be considered "untouchable" in a trade for Butler, Riley was straightforward:
"No. Show me the right name and I could be all in on everything."
The Herald reported that the Heat informed other NBA teams that Hassan Whiteside, Tyler Johnson, and Dion Waiters were available this offseason, but it seems unlikely that those same players would be enough to move the needle on a player of Butler's caliber.
Miami is reluctant to part ways with Josh Richardson, Bam Adebayo, and Kelly Olynyk, but they may be willing to deal away Justise Winslow. Winslow is slated to reach free agency next summer and, and with no contract extension in sight, the Heat may be interested in sending him off in their package for Butler. As a defensive-minded strategist, Timberwolves head coach and president of basketball Tom Thibodeau could be intrigued by Miami's 2015 first-round draft pick for his evident defensive prowess.
Still, the Heat and Timberwolves are a ways away from reaching any deal for Butler, who is expected to reach free agency this summer and could command a $190 million contract extension from any team to which he is traded.
Minnesota's front office has reportedly been conflicted regarding how best to handle Butler's situation. Thibodeau was initially reluctant to trade the team's star, steering interested teams away and shutting down trade opportunities, but owner Glen Taylor has made it abundantly clear that he is adamant about dealing Butler away as soon as possible.
Story filed to ESPN: As Minnesota’s front office tells inquiring rivals that team has no plans to trade Jimmy Butler, owner Glen Taylor had a different message at NBA’s Board of Governors meetings: Butler is available and owners/GM’s should contact Taylor himself if necessary.
It appears as though Taylor has won out in the battle over Butler's future with the franchise, and Miami appears to be the most probable landing spot. Even though Butler requested the trade in the first place, it looks as though he may not be so happy about the final outcome:
The one thing i’d never wear it…
a Miami Heat jersey.
-Jimmy Butler pic.twitter.com/Et17Fbhpy3
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