Back on Sept. 18, Jimmy Butler met with coach/GM/Grand Poobah in Minnesota Tom Thibodeau and said in no uncertain terms he wanted to be traded (this had been hinted at all summer, but the Timberwolves ignored the warning signs). While the Timberwolves have come close to a deal with the Heat, here we are nearly three weeks later and Butler has yet to be moved.
On Monday, Oct. 8, Jimmy Butler was back in Minnesota working out, sat down with Thibodeau and told him the same thing — “trade me” — reports Jon Krawczynski at the Athletic (who has owned this story).
Butler worked out in Minneapolis on Monday and talked with Thibodeau, making clear that nothing has changed in the last three weeks, sources said. It remains unclear when, or if, he will join the team in practice as they prepare for the season opener at San Antonio on Oct. 17.
There have been mixed messages along the way from the Wolves front office as to who will make the final decision, but owner Glen Taylor has yet to step in and make the kind of unilateral decision that some league executives expected him to make.
This is all largely the status quo.
Miami was close to a deal a couple of times — the two sides exchanged medical information on players, one of the last steps before the trigger is pulled on a trade — before Minnesota moved the goalposts, asked for more and the deal fell apart. That follows the pattern that is talked about in the article and I heard from sources — Minnesota was already hard to deal with in general and in this case, when they have no leverage, they are acting like a team that doesn’t really want to make a trade. They are asking for the moon.
While the Clippers and Rockets have hung around the fringes, Miami has been the only place with any real traction toward a deal. That’s because the Heat have no cap space to sign Butler as a free agent so they need to make a trade for another star. Miami has finally even put Josh Richardson in the conversation. Still no deal. Which is why around the league there remains a sense Thibodeau really wants is to get Butler into camp and playing with the team again, not trade him.
Butler has said he will play in regular season games — he’s not going to miss those paychecks — but that is going to be awkward on and off the court. As noted in the report, the way this is going to get resolved is owner Glen Taylor taking over a larger role (which he had done in the past, he was involved in the Kevin Garnett and Kevin Love trades, but Taylor tends to hold on to assets too long).