Jimmy Butler trade update: Heat interested in continuing talks for disgruntled Wolves star, per report

Jimmy Butler is still a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves. With now less than a week to go until opening night, the Wolves still haven't been able to pull the trigger on a deal. Part of that is Tom Thibodeau's reported reluctance to trade Butler in the hopes that he can convince his All-Star to return to the team, and part of that is the Wolves feeling like the offers they were receiving weren't good enough. 

With the Wolves' season opener soon approaching and no deal in place, Butler has reportedly returned to Minnesota and met with teammates at the team facility. It has long been clear that while Butler wants to be traded, he won't sit out regular season games, which would require him to forfeit those checks. Prior to Wednesday, Butler had been working out privately, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. Via ESPN:

Butler hasn't yet practiced with the Timberwolves this season, but he was with his teammates in the locker room at the team's practice facility on Wednesday morning, league sources said.

There has been hope among the Minnesota front office, coaching staff and some teammates that Butler would rejoin the team, but it remained to be seen what, if anything, Butler would do on the court with the Wolves on Wednesday. At times, Butler has been working out away from the team at the facility since his trade request three weeks ago.

Still, there is hope that a deal could be completed soon. Per Wojnarowski, the Wolves and Heat had the framework of a trade all set over the weekend, but it crumbled before it could be completed. Despite yet another setback, the Heat are still pushing to finalize a deal. 

After a proposed deal fell apart over the weekend, the Miami Heat remain interested in restarting talks with Minnesota to acquire All-Star forward Jimmy Butler, league sources told ESPN.

Minnesota had shared Butler's medical information with Miami late last week, sources said, a typical last step before finalizing a trade.

Minnesota moved to amend the framework of the trade and talks collapsed on Saturday, league sources said.

Miami had softened on including guard Josh Richardson in versions of a possible deal for Butler, only to recoil once Minnesota pushed late for a sweeter return on the four-time All-Star forward, league sources said. 

There are a few key things to note here: 

For one, the Heat relenting and including Richardson in a deal is huge. The Wolves have coveted him in previous trade talks, but his inclusion had been a deal-breaker for the Heat. That they're making him available should greatly increase the chances of a deal getting done. 

And that's important for the Wolves, because Butler has not once wavered from his request to be traded. While he may show up as to not lose his money, he doesn't really want to be in Minnesota anymore. Plus, per Wojnarowski's report, the Heat are the only team the Wolves have had substantial talks with in recent days. 

So, this is how things stand. Butler wants to be traded, the Heat want Butler (who they won't be able to sign as a free agent this summer) and the Wolves and Heat have been very close to getting a deal done. Given those three facts, and considering how close it is until the start of the season, it shouldn't be long now until a trade happens. 

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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