Jimmy Butler reportedly informed the Minnesota Timberwolves he would prefer to be dealt to the Miami Heat, and the Wolves appear to be doing their best to facilitate that request.
Minnesota has “remained focused” on Miami in its Butler trade talks, according to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The two sides have been consistently engaged in talks for several days, and the Heat pushed the Wolves for an answer on a revised offer on Wednesday, according to the report.
Wojnarowski added that no deal was expected to happen Wednesday night.
Marc Stein of the New York Times, meanwhile, reported the Wolves and Heat were making “significant progress” on a Butler trade this week, but late changes proposed by Minnesota led to a “breakdown.”
Stein reported that a third team wasn’t involved in the Butler discussions between the Wolves and Heat, adding to the notion Miami is the primary point of focus.
Butler made it clear to Minnesota that he wants to be traded, and coach Tom Thibodeau has been unsuccessful in his attempts to change the star forward’s mind. Butler has been away from the team since being given permission to skip media day last week, though he doesn’t intend to miss the start of the season as long as he’s healthy, according to Wojnarowski.
Butler has been rehabbing from offseason surgery on his right hand.
Thibodeau, also the vice president of basketball operations in Minnesota, and owner Glen Taylor are in a standoff over Butler’s status, with Taylor preferring to end the distraction quickly.
According to reports, the Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings have also kicked the tires on a Butler deal.
Butler, 29, appeared in 59 games last season for the Timberwolves, averaging 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.0 steals.
He is entering the fourth season of a five-year, $92.3 million contract he signed with Chicago in 2015, but he can enter the free agent market next summer by opting out of the final year. He is scheduled to earn a base salary of $18.7 million in 2018-19.
In July, Butler reportedly turned down Minnesota’s four-year extension offer worth $110 million.
—Field Level Media