As the Heat continues its pursuit of a trade for guard Jimmy Butler, Minnesota Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau said Monday that all teams are in play with a potential trade, not merely the three that were on Butler’s reported wish list (the Clippers, Nets and Knicks).
“We have to do what’s best for us,” he told Minneapolis media on Monday in his first public comments since Butler recently asked for a trade. “It may not be a team you feel like you wanted to go to.”
Butler is believed to have positive feelings for the Heat organization, though ESPN reports the Clippers are his preferred destination.
But Miami would not be pursuing this deal if it did not believe it would have a good chance to keep him when he enters free agency next summer.
Any team trading for Butler would acquire his Bird rights, meaning it could pay him the five-year, $190 million max deal he’s expected to seek next summer. Outside bidders for Butler could offer only four years and $141 million next summer.
“Our job is to seek out the best opportunity for us,” Thibodeau said. “If something’s good for us, then we’re interested in doing it. If not, we’re ready to move forward the other way. We’re not going to make a bad deal. If it’s a good deal, we’re interested.”
Butler was at team headquarters for his physical Monday but was given permission not to participate in media day and Thibodeau said he would not participate in the first week of training camp because he needs conditioning work.
He said if Butler has not been traded by the time he has moved past conditioning issues, then he would resume practicing with Minnesota at that point.
Though a trade is widely anticipated, the Wolves made clear they aren’t going to give him away for diminished returns.
“When you look at who Jimmy is, he’s a top 10 player in the league. We’re not going to make a bad deal,” Thibodeau said, making clear that he, owner Glen Taylor and general manager Scott Layden have conveyed that to teams.
THIS AND THAT
For the first time in years, Goran Dragic didn’t have any commitment to Slovenia’s national team this past summer because he has retired from international competition, though he hasn’t totally ruled out future Olympics.
The upshot, he said, is “my body is well rested. If I put it in perspective, it’s way better than last year. I’m hungry again playing basketball, can’t wait to start. That’s the main difference.
“I am 32 but I am in great shape. I want to practice every day. I want to play games.”
Dragic said he“did a lot of stuff” with Heat shooting coach Rob Fodor to “try to expand my game a little more, try to make it easier for me. We will see how it goes. I was working a lot on my shot going right, finishing right. This is the first summer I have completely for myself so I can work on my game. That helped me out.”
▪ Heat center Hassan Whiteside said the team has permitted him to practice corner threes in workouts in recent weeks and hopes to add that to his game. Whether the team wants him taking those shots is another story entirely.
“We’ve been practicing [those shots],” he said. “They’ve been letting me practice [them]. I’ve been working with the coaches. We’ve been getting threes up, corner threes up. I haven’t done that in the last four years I’ve been here. So we’ve been working on it.”
Here’s my Monday piece with lots of notable things that Dwyane Wade and Erik Spoelstra said today.
Here’s my Monday piece with some injury news on James Johnson and Dion Waiters.