Is Josh Richardson the reason a Jimmy Butler to Miami trade hasn’t happened?

Getty Images
5 Comments

This much we know: The Miami Heat have been the most aggressive team in the pursuit of a Jimmy Butler trade so far. Also, Miami is now Butler’s “preferred destination.”

After that this is all speculation, but this is what a lot of people around the league are suggesting is the hold up in getting a Butler to Miami trade done:

Josh Richardson.

Maybe Thibodeau wants the 25-year-old wing who averaged 12.9 points per game last season, is versatile, plays with a high motor, can defend, is improving fast, and is locked up through the summer of 2021 on a team-friendly contract to come to Minnesota as the core of a deal. We know Miami doesn’t want to put him in the trade, something reported by Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

The Heat has been reluctant to include Josh Richardson, preferring instead to have a Butler/Richardson tandem that would be among the league’s best for a small forward/shooting guard pairing.

Miami has made Goran Dragic available, and he with Justise Winslow would work financially as a trade. However, a third team would need to be involved to get the Gorgui Dieng contract off the Timberwolves books, plus it would leave Minnesota with two quality point guards because they already have Jeff Teague, so this is at least a three-team trade, maybe more.

Thibodeau’s reluctance to make a trade is being painted by some as him clinging to hope he can get Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns on the same page again. Maybe that’s overstated (by teams trying to force a quick trade), Thibs has said consistently he just wants a good deal, and he has sat down with Butler to try to change his mind and failed. No doubt the first offers were lowball ones, maybe he is holding out for better. It’s a complex scenario with a lot of moving parts, but if you ask me what makes the most sense it’s this:

Thibodeau is waiting for a good Josh Richardson offer.