The Minnesota Timberwolves engaged in "escalated" talks with the Miami Heat centered around a Jimmy Butler trade this weekend, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, before a potential deal fell apart.
Discussions reached the point of Minnesota sharing Butler's medical information, and owners on both sides were involved and prepared to finalize, but trade talks stalled after the Wolves reportedly pushed for more.
ESPN Sources: Minnesota-Miami talks escalated close to a Jimmy Butler deal over weekend – only to see trade fall apart. Minnesota shared Butler’s medical info with Miami, owners were involved and sides prepared to finalize. Minnesota pushed for more, talks fractured.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 7, 2018
Those talks can always start again, but Minnesota has little else, if anything, going in the marketplace. Teams had backed away because of price and belief Minny would get deal w/ Miami. Sources say owner Glen Taylor's mandate stands to his front office: Find a deal for Butler. https://t.co/LIXQwXPKkl— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 7, 2018
Despite Butler's standing as a bona fide top-20 player in the NBA, the market for him hasn't been as robust as Minnesota likely anticipated. Adding to the dry market is the fact that Butler, 29, is slated to be a free agent next summer and will likely command a long-term max contract. It may be seen by some teams as a risk given his injury history.
But this isn't likely the end of the Jimmy Butler saga. As Wojnarowski notes, Minnesota's owner, Glen Taylor has a standing mandate to management to find a deal for Butler. Though coach Tom Thibodeau has reportedly been skeptical of dealing Butler, and made an effort to talk him into re-joining the team, it appears the situation is irreparable. Which means it may be a matter of when -- not if -- Minnesota's star gets dealt.