Jimmy Butler trade rumors: Heat aggressively pursuing trade for All-Star forward

After the news broke that All-Star forward Jimmy Butler had requested a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves, it didn't take long for Butler's preferred destinations to be revealed, and they included some surprising teams: the Los Angeles Clippers, Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks. None of the teams are good right now, but they're all in big markets, and have the potential to not only pay Butler, but maybe another star. 

So far, however, it doesn't appear either of those three teams are particularly eager to give up assets to get Butler considering they might have the chance to sign him next summer anyway. Perhaps sensing that lack of enthusiasm, another team has jumped into the sweepstakes. According to the Miami Herald, the Miami Heat are "aggressively" pursuing a deal for Butler. 

The Heat was aggressively pursuing a a trade for disgruntled Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler on Sunday, targeting a player who has long been a favorite of the organization, according to several league sources.

Heat president Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra always have admired Butler, not only because of his offensive game, but because of his competitive nature and strong defensive skills, which resulted in him being named second-team All-NBA defense four times in his career.

But what could a potential deal with the Heat look like? Per the Herald, the Heat have long made other teams aware that Tyler Johnson, Hassan Whiteside and Dion Waiters are available. They could also be willing to part with Justise Winslow, but would prefer to hold on to Josh Richardson, Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk

The Heat has told teams this offseason that Hassan Whiteside, Tyler Johnson and Dion Waiters are available, according to two opposing front office executives who have spoken to the Heat. But the Heat knows a different combination of more attractive players will be needed to pry away Butler, who averaged 22.2 points per game for Minnesota last season.

The Heat has been very reluctant this offseason to part with Josh Richardson and Bam Adebayo, and it's unclear if Miami would be willing to include Richardson in a deal for Butler. (Miami's preference would be not to include Richardson.)

Miami also prefers to keep Kelly Olynyk. But Justise Winslow could be put in play because of questions about whether the Heat will keep him if he enters restricted free agency next summer. Winslow and the Heat are not close to a contract extension, with a mid-October deadline looming, and one GM said he could command a deal starting at $9 million in a new contract.

This is the classic problem when trying to complete trades. The players the Wolves want are the ones the Heat don't want to give up, and the players the Heat would be willing to part with are the ones the Wolves don't want. 

Eventually someone will have to compromise if they want to complete a deal. But without being privy to the actual negotiations, it's too hard to project what will happen. The Wolves have the pressure to complete a deal quickly per the owner's direction, but the Heat also have the pressure to offer up a competitive package, or risk another team swooping in to get a deal done. 

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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