Report: Butler now prefers to be traded to the Miami Heat
NBA.com Global on Sep 27, 2018 05:22 AM
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 17: Jimmy Butler #23 of the Minnesota Timberwolves talks to the media during NBA All-Star Media Day as part of 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend at the Los Angeles Convention Center on February 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michelle Farsi/NBAE via Getty Images)
NBA.com staff report
All-Star forward Jimmy Butler wants to play for the Miami Heat, according to a report from Marc Stein of The New York Times.
Jimmy Butler and his agent Bernie Lee have informed Wolves ownership that Miami is Butler's preferred trade destination, league sources say— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) September 26, 2018
Stein reports the Heat have been "aggressively" pursuing Butler since he requested a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves last week. Despite their mutual interest, the Heat have reportedly "found it hard to get Minnesota to clearly communicate," according to Stein.
The Heat have pursued Butler as aggressively as any of the 20-plus teams to inquire thus far but, like many, have found it hard to get Minnesota to clearly communicate. League sources say Miami is a team that strongly appeals to the free agent-to-be Butler after a trade https://t.co/YYTQT8FW22— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) September 26, 2018
Thibodeau reportedly tried to convince Butler to stay during a meeting on Monday, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, but the 29-year-old star "remained resolute" on his desire for a trade.
Meanwhile, team owner Glen Taylor reportedly wants to accommodate Butler's request in order to quickly end this situation.
Thibodeau talked about the Butler situation with Reid Forgrave of CBS Sports on Tuesday.
"Our reality is that he has requested a trade, so we'll honor that," Thibodeau told CBS Sports. "But we're not just going to make any deal. He requested a trade and we're going to honor his request. But we're not going to do anything that's bad for the Timberwolves. We're going to do what's good for the Timberwolves. We have to prioritize that. That's what our job is."
The Heat enter '18-19 with a nearly identical roster as last season, when they went 44-38 to secure the No. 6 seed. The addition of Butler could be enough to vault Miami into the top half of the Eastern Conference.
Phoenix's pursuit of a starting point guard could factor into the Jimmy Butler trade discussions as a potential third-team partner, league sources tell ESPN. If Minnesota trades for Goran Dragic in a Miami/Butler scenario, that could make Wolves PG Jeff Teague available for Suns.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 26, 2018