The Minnesota Timberwolves have displayed unreasonable expectations in trade talks involving four-time All Star guard Jimmy Butler, a Heat source indicated Sunday morning in the wake of an ESPN report that a deal between the teams was close but fell apart when the Wolves pushed for more.
“Minnesota-Miami talks escalated close to a Jimmy Butler deal over weekend – only to see trade fall apart,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted Sunday morning. “Minnesota shared Butler’s medical info with Miami, owners were involved and sides prepared to finalize. Minnesota pushed for more, talks fractured.
“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 with Miami. Sources say owner Glen Taylor’s mandate stands to his front office: Find a deal for Butler.”
Asked what the Wolves are seeking, a Heat source said: “The first born of all our kids.”
Still, the source declined to rule out the possibility of a deal still happening if Minnesota lessens its demands.
The Wolves are believed to be asking for several of the assets the Heat considers most valuable: Josh Richardson, Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic, Kelly Olynyk, Justise Winslow and a No. 1 pick.
Miami had shown willingness to include Richardson after initially balking, according to a source.
When the Heat was balking about including Richardson, the Wolves - two weeks ago - asked the Heat for a package include Dragic, Adebayo, Winslow and a first round pick among other pieces from both teams, according to a source.
According to Wojnarowski, “Miami had been searching for a third team to re-route a contract, which included conversations on Miami guard Dion Waiters. Incentiving a third team with draft picks became one of the road blocks in Minnesota completing the trade, league sources said.”
The Miami Herald has reported all summer that the Heat has shopped Waiters, Hassan Whiteside and Tyler Johnson.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst has reported that Dragic has been offered to Minnesota. Wojnarowski has reported that Minnesota was willing to offer protections on the 2019 first-round draft pick that the Heat would relinquish in a proposal.
Butler would prefer to be traded to the Heat, but Minnesota has said that while it will try to honor his trade request, it won’t be limited to the teams high on his list – reportedly Miami, Brooklyn, the Knicks and Clippers.
Minnesota also reportedly has had conversations with Houston.
ESPN’s Stefano Fusaro, a former sportscaster at NBC-6 in Miami, tweeted: “I’m told Jimmy Butler’s frustration level with Wolves front office is at an all time high. A source asked me, “Are they truly trying to get a deal done? Or is this just more smoke and mirrors?”
Aside from medical exams, Butler has stayed away from the Wolves since camp opened. Minnesota has said Butler is away from the team while he rehabilitates his surgically-repaired wrist.
“Minnesota’s approaching 3 weeks since Butler’s trade request and most of league’s dubious about Minny’s sincerity in making a deal,” Wojnarowski tweeted. “Thibodeau’s wanted to get Butler back on floor and tried to buy time. Will Glen Taylor allow him to play that out? Owner is still pushing for trade.”
Butler is eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer, but any team trading for him would also acquire his Bird rights, meaning it could exceed the salary cap next summer to pay him the maximum five-year, $190 million deal with that he’s seeking.
▪ The Heat signed guards Charles Cooke and DeAndre Liggins and waived injured forward Marcus Lee and guard Malik Newman. Both Lee and Newman are expected to end up with the Heat’s G-League affiliate in South Dakota.
Cooke, who signed a two-way contract with New Orleans on August 1, 2017, split last season between the Pelicans and the Greensboro Swarm and the Salt Lake City Stars of the NBA G League. In 25 G-League games (10 starts) last season, he averaged 12.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.40 steals and 25.3 minutes while shooting 45.2 percent from the field. He also appeared in 13 NBA games with the Pelicans, totaling six points, two rebounds, an assist and a steal in 38 minutes of action.
Liggins has averaged 2.0 points and shot 40.2 percent from the field in 177 NBA games. A five-year NBA veteran, he split last season between the Milwaukee Bucks and the New Orleans Pelicans, appearing in 58 games (four starts) averaging 1.7 points and 1.3 rebounds in 12.5 minutes of action. He previously spent time with the HEAT’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, from 2013-16, appearing in 76 games (74 starts) averaging 13.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 2.36 steals and 39.2 minutes while helping the Skyforce to the 2016 G League championship.
Lee, signed by the Heat in August after going undrafted out of the University of California, had 10 points and six rebounds in 12:42 of preseason action but has been sidelined with a knee injury. Newman had four points in two preseason games.