Josh Richardson

Details On Rockets’, Pelicans’ Trade Offers For Butler

A report over the weekend indicated that the Timberwolves had three trade offers on the table for Jimmy Butler before ultimately deciding to pull the trigger on a Sixers package headlined by Robert Covington and Dario Saric. In their latest report for The Athletic, Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic provide some details on the other two offers Minnesota was considering, which came from the Rockets and Pelicans.

According to Charania and Krawczynski, the Rockets – who had previously offered four first-round picks attached to Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss – adjusted their proposal to make it more appealing to Tom Thibodeau, who remains in win-now mode. Houston’s offer featured Eric Gordon, Nene, and two first-round picks, sources told The Athletic. It’s not clear what sort of protections would have been on those first-rounders, or whether any other pieces were involved.

As for the Pelicans, they weren’t mentioned often over the last couple months as a serious suitor for Butler, but they were engaged in talks with Minnesota at the end of the process. Charania and Krawczynski report that New Orleans’ package was headlined by Nikola Mirotic and an unprotected first-round pick. Again, it’s unclear what other pieces would have been included in such a deal — Mirotic’s salary wouldn’t have been enough to match Butler’s on its own.

The full report from Charania and Krawczynski is excellent, providing a timeline of the Butler saga from mid-September right up until today. It’s worth checking out in full if you have a subscription to The Athletic.

Here are a few more highlights from the piece:

  • Friday’s game was viewed as a fork in the road for both the Timberwolves and Butler. We previously heard that Thibodeau and GM Scott Layden decided after that game that Butler had played his last game for the team — it sounds like Butler had made up his mind too. According to Charania and Krawczynski, the 29-year-old had decided to begin sitting out indefinitely after that game if Minnesota didn’t trade him.
  • Thibodeau subsequently told his staff after Friday’s game that they had to move Butler, sources tell The Athletic. In fact, the Timberwolves nearly held the All-NBA swingman out of Friday’s game because they already had traction on a potential deal.
  • The Heat‘s original offer for Butler included Goran Dragic, Justise Winslow, and a draft pick, per Charania and Krawczynski. Miami later extended Winslow and put Josh Richardson into an offer. However, when a deal involving Richardson fell apart, the Heat pulled him off the table and never included him in another offer.

Woj’s Latest: Butler, Timberwolves, Thibodeau

In a piece regarding the final days of the Jimmy Butler saga in Minnesota, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN provides a closer look into the Timberwolves‘ front office and the back-and-forth that went down before the trade was finally completed. Let’s dive into some of the highlights he provides:

  • Tom Thibodeau sold Timberwolves‘ owner Glen Taylor on passing on the initial offer from the Heat centered around Josh Richardson because he believed that Pat Riley would come back with a better offer down the road (the Heat never returned with Richardson on the table in subsequent trade talks).
  • Taylor considered firing Thibodeau and GM Scott Layden this past summer before the Butler saga broke out and continues to think about the possibility of replacing both of them.
  • According to Woj, the Timberwolves desperately tried to find other trade partners throughout the past week, including reaching out to the Pelicans and Wizards, to no avail. The Wolves actually had “extensive” discussions with the Pels, but New Orleans wouldn’t offer Jrue Holiday or multiple draft picks. Washington, meanwhile wouldn’t offer Bradley Beal, which comes as no surprise.
  • The Sixers initially offered the Timberwolves their choice of Robert Covington and Dario Saric in an offer for Butler before eventually agreeing to include both players.
  • The Sixers believe they are operating out of a position of leverage when it comes to dealings with Butler. According to Woj, there are league executives that understand that Butler must be on his best behavior in order to get the full five-year max contract he desires this summer.

Latest On Jimmy Butler Trade To Philadelphia

The Timberwolves and Sixers agreed on Saturday to one of the biggest trades in recent years. Jimmy Butler is headed to Philadelphia, while Dario Saric and Robert Covington headline the package that Minnesota is receiving.

We have more news to pass along on this blockbuster:

  • Butler had shown an interest in Philadelphia long before Saturday. Butler scheduled a free agent meeting with the Sixers  in 2015, when they were still in the early stages of building a contender, before he re-signed with the Bulls, Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated tweets.
  • If Butler agrees to a max contract with Philadelphia, Markelle Fultz‘s long-term prospects with the organization would be in serious doubt, Zach Lowe of ESPN tweets. There are plenty of other questions regarding how Fultz fits with core group that Philadelphia has assembled and the team’s brass will closely monitor how all the personalities mesh, Lowe adds. The top 2017 pick is averaging just 8.9 PPG and 3.6 APG  in 24.3 MPG and will now have to compete with another All-Star for touches.
  • Minnesota avoided sending Butler to a Western Conference contender, one of the goals it set in trade talks involving the disgruntled swingman, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN notes (Twitter link). The Rockets had been mentioned prominently as a possible destination but even a package of four future first-round picks couldn’t entice the Timberwolves to send him to a conference rival. The Sixers became the most viable trade partner once the Heat pulled Josh Richardson out of trade discussions, Wojnarowski adds.
  • The Sixers were prepared to offer a similar package to the Spurs to acquire Kawhi Leonard this summer, Fischer reports in another tweet. Philadelphia was willing to give up Saric, Covington and a first-rounder to San Antonio before the Spurs opted to deal Leonard to the Raptors. The Spurs’ decision to decline the Sixers’ offer thus far seems like a wise move, considering Saric’s early shooting slump (30% from long range), Jabari Young of The Athletic tweets. Toronto’s package, with DeMar DeRozan as the centerpiece, has helped San Antonio get off to a 6-4 start despite a rash of injuries.
  • Buyout candidates will be even more intrigued to join the Sixers for the stretch run, Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype tweets. Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli joined Philadelphia in that fashion last season, Kennedy adds, and the incentive for players seeking a ring to hop on Philadelphia’s bandwagon has dramatically increased.
  • The Timberwolves considered three offers from different teams before picking the Sixers’ package, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic tweets.
  • Philadelphia will likely move J.J. Redick back into the starting lineup because his 3-point shooting will be needed on the first unit, Keith Smith of RealGM tweets.
  • The earliest that Butler could make his Sixers debut, once the trade is finalized, is Wednesday against the Magic, Wojnarowski adds in another tweet.

Heat’s Josh Richardson Discusses Trade Rumors

Heat swingman Josh Richardson hasn’t expressed any dissatisfaction or requested a trade like Jimmy Butler has in Minnesota, but he has still been the subject of several trade rumors this fall since he’s viewed as the potential centerpiece of a Miami trade for Butler. Speaking to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel, Richardson acknowledged that the NBA is a “cutthroat business” but added that he’s trying not to let the speculation affect him.

“For like the first hour, I was hearing from everyone,” Richardson said, referring to when his name first came up in the Butler rumors. “But after that, it is what it is. I don’t get too much into it. When it first came out a little bit, yeah, it was hard to ignore.”

Richardson, who added that the trade chatter was “a distraction at first,” hasn’t demonstrated any signs of being bothered by those rumors during his first two games of the 2018/19 season. The 25-year-old has poured in 24.5 PPG to go along with 4.5 RPG and 4.0 APG so far, showing exactly why the Timberwolves insisted on including him in a potential deal for Butler.

Minnesota’s Butler trade talks are “mostly dormant” at the moment, and multiple reports have suggested that Heat president Pat Riley told his players before the season that he has pulled the plug on Miami’s involvement in those discussions — at least for now. With Butler still expected to be moved by the February trade deadline, Richardson isn’t totally safe in South Beach yet, but for the time being, he’s welcoming his increased role in the Heat’s offensive attack.

“I pretty much embrace it now,” Richardson said of being Miami’s leading man on offense, per Winderman. “I had a whole summer of it and at times it was like that last year. So I’m pretty much used to it.”

Heat Rumors: Butler, Trade Talks, 15-Man Roster

Reports earlier this week on the Jimmy Butler situation suggested that the Timberwolves nearly accepted a Heat offer that included Josh Richardson and a first-round pick, but ultimately asked Miami for more. A subsequent report indicated that Wolves owner Glen Taylor wasn’t responsible for turning down that offer.

During an appearance on Mason and Ireland, ESPN’s Jorge Sedano confirmed both stories, reporting that the Heat and Timberwolves got close to a trade that would have sent Butler to Miami for Richardson, a first-round pick, and Dion Waiters. The two teams even exchanged medical information for the players involved. However, according to Sedano, Tom Thibodeau asked the Heat for more draft picks, at which point Pat Riley called him a “motherf—er” and hung up on him (Twitter links).

For what it’s worth, a source familiar with the negotiations disputes that story, telling Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel that Riley insists he didn’t offer such a reaction. That source apparently didn’t deny the other details of those trade discussions though.

Here’s more on the Heat, including another note on their dealings with the Timberwolves:

  • Both Winderman and Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald report that the Heat aren’t pushing to re-engage the Timberwolves in trade discussions involving Butler. While that doesn’t necessarily mean that a deal won’t happen, Miami sounds ready to move on and prepare for the season. Butler didn’t travel with the Wolves to Milwaukee, with Thibodeau telling reporters that the All-NBA swingman is in Minnesota working on his conditioning, adding that the situation remains “fluid” (Twitter link via Dane Moore of 1500ESPN).
  • The Heat typically carry a full 15-man roster into the regular season, but the team appears likely to open the 2018/19 campaign with just 14 players, as Winderman writes in another piece for The Sun Sentinel. According to Winderman, the Heat haven’t entered the season with fewer than 15 players on standard contracts since 2003/04. Luxury tax concerns likely play a major part in that decision this year — Miami is currently over the tax line by about $6.3MM.
  • In a Q&A with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Chris Bosh explained that he still hopes to return to the NBA because he views his career as an “unfinished painting.” Bosh pointed specifically to his final season with the Heat, noting that he thought the team had the potential to win the East, but he didn’t get a chance to see it through.

Wolves Want Gordon, Tucker From Rockets For Butler

After their latest round of Jimmy Butler discussions with Miami came to a standstill over the weekend, the Timberwolves reached out to the Rockets again on Tuesday morning, a league source tells Stefano Fusaro of ESPN (Twitter link). According to Fusaro, talks between the Wolves and Rockets have yet to advance, since Minnesota wants both Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker in any deal, and Houston is unwilling to put Tucker on the table.

The Wolves’ asking price in negotiations with the Rockets doesn’t come as a surprise. With James Harden, Chris Paul, and Clint Capela sure to be unavailable, Gordon and Tucker are Houston’s next-best assets. Marc Stein of The New York Times suggested last week that the Rockets may have to package both veterans, along with at least one first-round pick, in order to have a real chance to land Butler.

On the other hand, it makes sense that the Rockets would balk at that request from Minnesota. Gordon and Tucker are crucial pieces in Houston’s lineup, and Tucker is an especially good fit in a system which values versatile players who can make three-pointers and defend multiple positions. Having already lost a pair of reliable veterans who fit that bill – Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute – the Rockets presumably aren’t eager to part with another one, plus additional assets, even if it means acquiring Butler.

Fusaro’s report comes on the heels of a Tuesday story which quoted Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta speaking about Butler. Fertitta told SBNation that he and the Rockets would “love to have” the Houston native if the price is right, a comment that seems likely to earn the owner a tampering fine.

Meanwhile, in other Butler news, Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN tweets that he has “zero sense” that Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor balked at a Heat offer that featured Josh Richardson, a first-round pick, and cap filler. Stein had reported on Tuesday that the Wolves turned down an offer of that nature from Miami.

Wolfson’s tweet doesn’t necessarily suggest that the Timberwolves didn’t receive an offer that included Richardson and a first-rounder — it may simply have been front office executives Tom Thibodeau and Scott Layden – rather than Taylor – who passed on Miami’s proposal. Either way, Wolfson noted in a follow-up tweet that he’s not sure he has covered another story where the two sides’ versions differ so much.

While it’s clear the Wolves are still exploring trade options for Butler, the team is also said to be preparing to open the regular season with him still on the roster, as Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic detailed on Tuesday. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Butler was in the Timberwolves’ locker room this morning, though that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll join his teammates on the court.

Wojnarowski adds that the Heat are still pursuing a potential Butler trade.

Latest On Jimmy Butler

The Timberwolves appear as if they are preparing to start the season with Jimmy Butler on the roster despite the fact that the four-time All-Star has reiterated his desire to be traded. Butler maintains his stance even after the organization made numerous attempts to convince him to stay.

Heavy negotiations between the Heat and Wolves broke down yet again this week with Miami’s latest offer not satisfying Minnesota’s front office. The Heat’s proposal was a package headlined by Josh Richardson and a protected first-round pick, as Marc Stein of The New York Times reports in his weekly newsletter. Stein doesn’t provide full details on that offer, but based on Miami’s reported interest in moving Dion Waiters, it wouldn’t be surprising if he was also included for salary-matching purposes.

Here’s more on Butler and the Wolves:

  • Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau and GM Scott Layden have been known as one of the most difficult front offices to negotiate with over the past two years, agents and executives within the league tell Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. That has continued to be the case with teams attempting to nab Butler. Rivals have been willing to undergo “unconventional” negotiations because of Butler’s talent, Krawczynski explains, adding that if Butler weren’t a franchise talent, rival organizations would simply hang up the phone and not deal with the Thibs/Layden duo.
  • According to Krawczynski, the Timberwolves are still talking with teams about a potential deal and talks with Miami are expected to resume this week.
  • Should Minnesota hold onto Butler through opening night, he is unlikely to sit out and forfeit game checks. Butler was in Los Angeles when the Wolves faced the Clippers last week and he dined with several current teammates. While some players have said Butler would be welcomed back on the team, Krawczynski notes that it would no doubt add to the club’s chemistry issues.
  • Thibodeau would welcome Butler back unconditionally should he warm up to the idea of playing out the season in Minnesota even though he could leave for nothing next summer, Stein reports in the aforementioned newsletter. Thibs also isn’t concerned about how uncomfortable the situation might get between Butler and the team’s young stars (Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins). Butler’s “chilly” relationships with Towns and Wiggins are said to be high on the list of reasons why Butler wants out, per Stein.
  • The Heat, Clippers, Sixers, Nets have all reportedly had negotiations with the Timberwolves for Butler. Stein contends that Miami’s package headlined by Richardson and a protected first-rounder is likely the best-case scenario for Minnesota, given the circumstances. Stein believes that deal allows the Wolves to recoup a good portion of the value they gave up (Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, and the draft pick that became Lauri Markkanen) to bring aboard Butler in the first place.

Latest On Jimmy Butler Trade Saga

It has now been 19 days since word of Jimmy Butler‘s trade request was leaked, and despite pressure from Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau, Butler has “never wavered” on his desire to be moved, sources tell Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. According to Krawczynski, Butler has dined with teammates and sent text messages of encouragement to players like Taj Gibson and Josh Okogie, but remains determined to leave Minnesota, preferably before the season begins.

If the Timberwolves are unable to complete a deal soon, Butler may “begrudgingly” report to the team in advance of the regular season, says Krawczynski. Despite not reporting to Minnesota so far, Butler isn’t expected to forfeit pay checks once the season begins, even if his return would create an awkward situation for him and his teammates.

Here’s more on the Butler saga:

  • While trade talks between the Timberwolves and the Heat – and other teams – have hit a stand still at various times in recent weeks, those discussions are still ongoing, says Krawczynski. While some potential trade partners can perhaps afford to wait and see if they can sign Butler during 2019’s free agent period, clubs like the Heat and Rockets are under more pressure to pull off a trade, since they won’t have cap room next summer.
  • The Heat now appear willing to include Josh Richardson in a potential deal for Butler, but the Clippers haven’t relented on Tobias Harris, according to Krawczynski. A report last week indicated that the Clips didn’t plan to trade Harris, and nothing has changed on that front — L.A. hasn’t put its veteran forward in any offers for Butler, per The Athletic. There are “no active talks” between the Timberwolves and Clippers, Krawczynski adds.
  • The Timberwolves have “quietly pushed back” on the idea that they deserve the blame for a deal not being completed yet, writes Krawczynski. The Wolves insist they don’t feel obligated to accept a below-market offer for Butler just because the regular season is approaching.
  • Within his Sunday report on the talks between the Heat and Timberwolves, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski suggested that the Heat’s apparent willingness to pay Butler a five-year deal at or near the maximum salary has contributed to the swingman’s enthusiasm for a trade to Miami.
  • The Heat had been looking to involve a third team in the Butler talks to take on an unwanted contract – perhaps Dion Waiters‘ deal – but incentivizing that third team with draft picks became one of the road blocks to getting something done, league sources told Wojnarowski.

Heat-Wolves Trade Talks Collapse Again

11:28am: The Heat have been willing to include Josh Richardson in potential deals with the Wolves, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). However, he adds that Minnesota doesn’t appear to be close to a trade involving the All-Star forward.

10:22am: The Heat and Timberwolves were close to a Jimmy Butler trade this weekend, but negotiations have “fractured,” tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Owners from both teams were involved in trade talks and reached an agreement they were prepared to finalize, but the deal fell apart when Minnesota asked for more, sources tell Wojnarowski. The Wolves shared Butler’s medical records with the Heat, including the condition of his right wrist following offseason surgery.

Wojnarowski doesn’t provide any details about what other players or draft picks would have been included in the proposed deal.

The Wolves haven’t gained traction with any other organization since Butler made his trade request last month, Wojnarowski adds (Twitter link). Nearly all the teams that originally expressed interest have backed off because of Minnesota’s asking price and a belief around that league that Butler will wind up in Miami.

Coach/executive Tom Thibodeau is reportedly hoping to patch things up with Butler and keep him on the team, but owner Glen Taylor hasn’t changed his orders to the front office to work out a trade, according to Wojnarowski.

Butler hasn’t practiced with the team since training camp opened. Although he hasn’t wavered in his desire to be traded, there are reports that he won’t sit out regular season games if his wrist has recovered enough for him to play.

Latest On Jimmy Butler

It has been another busy day of Jimmy Butler rumors, with the latest whispers suggesting that Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor wants to make a deal soon, and that the Cavaliers are among the teams with interest in the All-Star swingman.

We have a few more Butler-related items to pass along to finish off the weekend, so let’s dive in and round up the latest….

  • Pat Riley and the Heat have been “as aggressive as any team” so far in pursuing a Butler trade, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), who adds that Timberwolves ownership would still like to find a deal by early this week.
  • Noting that the Heat have long been fans of Butler, Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald confirm that the club is “aggressively” pursuing a trade for the 29-year-old. While Miami would likely be willing to give up Justise Winslow in a Butler deal, it’s not clear if the team would open to including Josh Richardson or Bam Adebayo, per the Herald report. As Jackson tweets, the Heat also wouldn’t be going after Butler unless they believed they could lock him up long-term.
  • The Timberwolves have told at least one interested team that they can get a good player back in a Butler deal, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. Wolfson also hears that the Raptors are interested in Butler.
  • Despite the Timberwolves‘ lack of leverage, they should be able to do pretty well in a trade, given the number of teams that view Butler as their potential difference-maker, opines Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune (via Twitter).