Amid Jimmy Butler trade talks between Heat and Wolves, Pat Riley denies cursing at Tom Thibodeau

The Jimmy Butler saga has entered a new phase this week, with the All-Star forward returning to Minnesota. He caused a ruckus at practice, reportedly challenging everyone from Tom Thibodeau and Scott Layden to Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Following the incident, both Butler and the Timberwolves are reportedly preparing to begin the season together, though the Heat are still apparently interested in a potential trade. 

Last weekend, the two sides nearly completed a deal, according to reports, but it fell apart at the last minute. In the aftermath of that deal crumbling, a report from Jorge Sedano of ESPN stated that the breaking point was Thibodeau's last-second request for more assets, which led to Heat president Pat Riley calling him a "mother------" and hanging up. Via Sedano's Los Angeles radio show, as transcribed by Deadspin (warning: headline NSFW:)

The medicals were exchanged, which generally in the NBA means this is a done deal. And then, Thibs called back and wanted more picks. And Pat Riley literally—I was told—called him a motherbleeper and hung up the phone.

Late on Friday night, however, Riley denied doing so and issued a statement, which was released on Twitter. But in classic Riley fashion, there had to be another layer to his words. 

"As to what has been reported in the past 24 hours, I have too much respect for Tom Thibodeau and all that he's accomplished in this league. Our conversations have been nothing but cordial and I have never used that kind of language in negotiations," Riley said, before closing with "but I do admit to telling Danny Ainge to ..."

That cliffhanger refers to a 2013 incident, in which Riley told Celtics GM Danny Ainge -- who had criticized LeBron James -- to "shut the f--- up" and called him "the biggest whiner."

So, in essence, Riley released a statement on Twitter through the Heat's official account, in which he said "I never called Tom Thibodeau a "mother------" but I did tell Danny Ainge to "shut the f--- up."

Incredible. This league is amazing. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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