The Miami Heat have re-opened talks for Minnesota Timberwolves swingman Jimmy Butler after the Wolves turned down a reported offer of Marquese Chriss, Brandon Knight and four first-round picks from the Houston Rockets, according to Lefty Leif of 5 Reasons Sports, seconded by ESPN’s Stefano Fusaro.
According to Thursday’s report, the Rockets would wait until the end of the month until the two-month anniversary of Chriss’ and Knights’ acquisition, making them tradable assets for the first time, and serving as salary-matching pieces to Butler’s $38.5 million that remain in his contract.
The Heat have put themselves back in the race after having tried plenty of revisited offers for Butler, quickly becoming the hardest-charging franchise in request for his services after his request became public.
President Pat Riley is looking for a culture-setter, given that this is expected to be Dwyane Wade’s last season in the NBA and now in need of someone to take the torch for the future to put his team in playoff contention.
The Heat’s last offer included caving on three-and-D extraordinaire Josh Richardson and shooting guard Dion Waiters along with a protected first-round pick. A revised offer reportedly packaged Richardson, center Kelly Olynyk and a first-rounder, but they all got the boot from president Tom Thibodeau, who is quarterbacking operations in trade talks.
Miami is hellbent on remaining active in trade talks despite a month’s worth of disagreements with the Wolves’ front office and their steep asking price for Butler.
Thibodeau and company are hoping the pass of time will drive Butler’s stock up some more, making time the Wolves’ only ally, as teams have been hesitant to offer a war chest of compensation for a player that is clearly looking to leave the Twin Cities.
The main issue standing on the way of the trade seems to be the unloading of Gorgui Dieng’s three-year, $48 million deal, as Miami would have to seek out a third party partner to make that possible and likely shell out another first-round selection and added compensation for taking on Dieng’s hefty contract.