The Heat remain the favorites to land Jimmy Butler should the Timberwolves trade him away, Marc Stein of The New York Times relays. Miami is Butler’s preferred destination and owner Glen Taylor has been informed of the four-time All-Star’s preference.
Stein writes that Butler’s preference matters in this situation because the wing can become a free agent after the season. Miami doesn’t want to wait for Butler and has been trying “as hard as anyone” in the league to put together a package that Minnesota will accept. Stein expects the Heat to find a deal that works for the Wolves, as attempting to reintegrate Butler with all of the tension between the two sides would be a difficult feat.
Miami won’t have the cap space to sign Butler outright next summer, so Minnesota seemingly holds some leverage in the trade negotiations. Butler’s camp is reportedly frustrated by the lack of progress on a deal and they have seriously questioned whether the team’s front office is legitimately trying to find a solution on the trade market.
Team president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau and GM Scott Layden were initially against trading Butler and appear to have a high asking price in negotiations with other teams. The Wolves reportedly asked the Sixers for Ben Simmons in a deal and sources within interested teams believe the counter-offers received by Minnesota are “downright delusional.”
The Rockets have pursued a Butler deal and Stein believes Houston would have to package Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker along with some draft picks to land Butler. The scribe adds that the Wolves would prefer not to send him to the Rockets and help Daryl Morey’s squad become more of a superpower than they already are.
Minnesota opens up the season on October 17 against the Spurs. The club has four remaining preseason games, including Wednesday night’s tilt with the Clippers.