Report: Miami Heat Remain in Active Pursuit of Jimmy Butler

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In the midst of the Miami Heat getting ready to open up its training camp for the 2018-19 NBA season, the team continues to look at possible acquisitions to bolster its roster. Some of that focus remains on working out a possible deal to acquire disgruntled Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jimmy Butler.

Miami Heat Beat indicates that despite the reluctance of Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau to trade the 29-year-old veteran, team owner Glen Taylor has now taken it upon himself to look for a possible trading partner. While previous stories about Butler’s trade preferences didn’t indicate the Heat among his top three choices, the report offers some key reasons why it might happen:

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“Butler not only has a close relationship with Dwyane Wade, who just re-signed with the Heat, but is also intrigued by the Heat’s culture under coach Erik Spoelstra. Some of Butler’s issues with teammates have resulted from his feeling that they didn’t work as hard as he does.

“We have learned that Spoelstra would be engaged directly in conversation with Butler, pending the Timberwolves’ permission, as he has been with other Heat targets, to explain how Butler would fit in the basketball plan.”

Of course, to trade for Butler means that the Heat would have to give up young talent in return, since the Timberwolves are apparently not interested in taking on the expensive contracts of players such as Hassan Whiteside or Tyler Johnson. That could mean sending away a package of still-developing talents like Bam Adebayo, Josh Richardson or Justise Winslow, a strategy that the team hasn’t been eager to pursue in the past.

Butler has two years remaining on his current contract, though it’s fully expected that he’ll opt out of the final year of that deal next July to enter the free agent market. The Heat likely won’t be in a position to sign him, given its current salary cap issues, which means that a trade is the only way that Butler ends up wearing a Heat uniform. Making that a reality is now the challenge facing the Heat front office.
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Brad Sullivan is a freelance writer for, having been an avid fan of NBA basketball for more than four decades. During that time, he's watched the Heat evolve from gestation period to expansion team all the way to three-time NBA champions. He'll follow their quest toward again reaching those lofty heights, and do so by offering some perspective along the way.