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REPORT: Heat reluctant to include Josh Richardson in Jimmy Butler, Timberwolves trade talks

Josh Richardson

The Miami Heat are aggressively pursuing a trade for Minnesota Timberwolves small forward Jimmy Butler, but are reluctant to include shooting guard Josh Richardson, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

Butler, a four-time All-Star, reportedly prefers to be traded to the Heat. He has a close relationship with Dwyane Wade and believes he can recruit star players to South Beach. The 29-year-old Butler can become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019 if he declines his player option for the 2019-20 season.

The Heat actually received trade interest in Richardson earlier this summer, but weren’t interested in moving him. Miami was offered a first-round pick by at least one team in a proposed trade for Richardson and the team declined. The Heat want Richardson to be more aggressive on offense this season and are high on his potential two-way production moving forward.

In 81 regular season games last year, Richardson averaged 12.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and 37.8 percent from beyond the 3-point line. The 25-year-old signed a four-year, $42 million contract extension with the Heat in 2017.

Richardson spent most of his offseason working on creating his own shot off the dribble. Heat guard Dion Waiters won’t be ready for the start of the year due to an ankle ailment, so Miami will need Richardson to be a scorer for them. The 6-foot-6 swingman trained in both Miami and California this summer.

The Heat are enamored with Jimmy Butler and believe he and Josh Richardson can form an elite defensive backcourt. So far, it appears Wade and Richardson are the only untouchable players in Miami.