Jimmy Butler has reportedly told Minnesota Timberwolves ownership that his preferred trade destination is the Miami Heat, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times.
Per Stein, the Heat have pursued Butler “as aggressively as any of the 20-plus teams to inquire thus far” but “have found it hard to get Minnesota to clearly communicate.”
Stein also noted that possibly re-signing with the Heat is something that “strongly appeals” to Butler ahead of his ability to become a free agent next offseason.
Last week, ESPN’s AdrianWojnarowskireported that Butler requested a trade and listed the Los Angeles Clippers as his preferred landing spot.
Wojnarowskialso noted that while the Heat have long been interested in acquiring Butler, they don’t have the cap space needed to sign him should he become a free agent (he has a player option for 2019-20).
Although T-Wolves head coach TomThibodeaureportedly doesn’t want to move Butler, Wojnarowski reported that owner Glen Taylor wants to move forward without the All-Star.
The 29-year-old Butler is coming off another productive season, as he averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.0 steals per game. He also helped lead Minnesota to the playoffs for the first time since 2003-04.
And the Timberwolves gave up a lot to acquire Butler from the Chicago Bulls last offseason, sending guards Kris Dunn and ZachLaVineand a pick that became power forward LauriMarkkanen.
Miami has reached the playoffs in two of the past three seasons, but it hasn’t made a deep postseason run since LeBron James left in free agency after the 2013-14 campaign. The Heat boast one of the deepest rosters in the NBA; however, they are lacking the superstar player needed to be a true threat.
If Miami can acquire Butler without giving up a ton, it has a chance to challenge the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference next season.