TNT lead NBA analyst Reggie Miller on Wednesday cautioned the Heat not to include Josh Richardson in a bid for disgruntled Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler.
And Miller and TNT colleague Chris Webber said they certainly would not trade Richardson, Bam Adebayo and a No. 1 draft pick for Butler.
“I love Josh Richardson and I think he’s a young stud and I would not part ways if I’m Pat Riley and Micky Arison,” Miller said on a TNT conference call in advance of the network’s NBA coverage this season. “You’ve got Josh Richardson on a good deal of four years, $41 million. You’ve got Bam Adebayo on a rookie deal. Bam Adebayo was a fantastic draft choice.
“Chemistry means a lot, and I’m looking longterm. You’ve got young players, young legs, young development for years to come.
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“Jimmy Butler fantastic person, fantastic player, but his longevity because of some of the injuries that have occurred kind of scare me a little. Does it automatically make them in contention like Boston [if Miami acquires him]? You don’t say now it’s between Boston and Miami. It doesn’t make them seven games better, doesn’t make them clear cut favorites. I keep those young players and personally wouldn’t do the deal.”
Meanwhile, Webber also said he would not trade Richardson, Adebayo and a No. 1 pick for Butler.
“One player is not going to change the culture in Miami and I don’t know if it will give you seven more wins a year,” Webber said. “I don’t know if it will give you five or seven more years of winning. I like those young guys in the locker-room. That would not be something I would do.”
The New York Times has reported that Miami offered Richardson, a protected 2019 first-round draft pick and at least one other player in a package for Butler, but that the Timberwolves said no.
Miller rates Boston, Philadelphia, Indiana and Toronto as his top four in the East, and places Miami seventh behind Milwaukee and Washington.
“I do not put Miami in that [top] category,” Miller said. “If you added Jimmy Butler in that situation [maybe that changes but], it depends on who they’re losing.”
Meanwhile, Webber puts the Heat on par with teams such as Washington and said: “Miami is always going to be [in the mix] because they’re always on the same page in talent. They outplay their talent. I agree with Reggie on Richardson. He’s so good.
“From the Minnesota point of view, I would love Richardson to play with those young guys. For me, I would love to see the trade knowing Butler doesn’t want to be there. He’s a Miami Heat type guy – tough nosed player, kind of a poor man’s Dwyane Wade when he was in his prime. It would be fun to watch.”
Here’s a Wednesday midday update on where the Butler situation stands.
Count Udonis Haslem among those thoroughly impressed by Rodney McGruder’s improvement.
“He’s a whole lot better,” Haslem said. “If you take a picture of player development and somebody who has been here over the summer working on their game, it’s Rodney. We have seen his game tremendously change, the way he’s handling the ball, the way he’s shooting the ball. He is one of our better players getting into the paint and shooting that floater or [creating for] others. A year or two ago, we couldn’t put him in that position.”
Frank Martin, who coached Haslem at Miami High and then later coached McGruder at Kansas State, long ago sent Haslem a text saying “take care of our guy,” Haslem recalled Wednesday. “I created a relationship with his family, love his mom, love his dad. It’s grown from that point on. He’s a guy we don’t have to run any plays for, but he will impact the game. He kind of reminds me of myself.”
THIS AND THAT
Goran Dragic, who banged knees with an Orlando player on Monday, could have played Wednesday against New Orleans if this had been a playoff game, Erik Spoelstra said. But Spoelstra said he planned to rest him anyway in one of the team’s final two preseason games.
▪ James Johnson, who had sports hernia surgery in May, has not yet been cleared for contact work but he’s “close,” Spoelstra said.
▪ Asked if he has anything special – such as a video diary - planned for what could be his final NBA season, Haslem said unlike his close friend and teammate Dwyane Wade, “I don’t have [merchandise] and T-Shirts. I don’t know how he put together that stuff. I don’t have time for that.”
Haslem then mentioned their joint ownership in an Aventura restaurant, 800 Degrees Woodfired Kitchen.
“He’s making T-shifts, I’m cooking pizzas,” Haslem cracked. “That’s how our relationship works.”
Here’s our Wednesday piece exploring looming lineup decisions for Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and UM basketball coach Jim Larranaga, who must still determine starters at shooting guard and in their power rotation.