Report: Jimmy Butler May Still Return to the Timberwolves

The Miami Heat are working around the clock in an effort to acquire All-NBA wing Jimmy Butler. But Minnesota's demands might be too much to make it happen.

Tyler Johnson, Jimmy Butler

Image via Getty/Issac Baldizon/NBAE

Tyler Johnson, Jimmy Butler

We're less than two weeks from the start ot the 2018-19 season, and Jimmy Butler remains a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves. After requesting a trade to a trio of teams well under the salary cap—the Knicks, Clippers and Nets—he's told the Wolves the Heat will also work as a landing spot. But the window to complete a trade before the season tips for real on Oct. 16 continues to close, and the Heat are pulling out all the stops to push it through, sources tell ESPN

Even with discussions between the two sides continuously happening over the last two weeks, they appeared no closer to an actual deal as of Wednesday night (watch the trade go through right as we publish). The Heat have revised their offer, but the Timberwolves seem to want a pair of players—Josh Richardson and Bam Abedayo—that Miami have explicitly said were not on the table. On top of those two young, cheap pieces, the Wolves are also reportedly asking for a protected first-round pick to acquire their All-NBA wing. Other players, or even a third team like Sacramento, could be included to make the contracts work, ESPN reports.

The Wolves have told other teams hoping to get in on the Butler bidding that they haven't yet heard an offer that meets their criteria for honoring his request to dealt out of (Karl-Anthony) town. Sources tell ESPN they plan to hold on to him until a deal surfaces that meets those requirements. That could be the result of Tom Thibodeau's continued reluctance to part with his superstar, despite Butler's vocal wish to be moved. The team president and coach has butted heads with owner Glen Taylor over the trade demand, and the disparate negotiating voices, with GM Scott Layden on team Thibs, has sowed confusion as teams have tried to figure out the minimum it might take to secure the services of the two-way star.

Another team of note that has been pushing hard to acquire Butler is Houston, which might be able to offer more of the win-now return that appeals to a coach in no mood for a rebuild or another missed postseason. However, Thibodeau's prayers could be answered because Butler might still return to the team, league sources tell ESPN. Right now, he's still rehabbing the right wrist he had surgery on in the offseason. 

He hasn't been traveling with the team during preseason, but he's still working out in Minnesota's facilities and has been in regular contact with teammates. Whether that includes Captain Jax antagonist Andrew Wiggins, or Karl-Anthony Towns, isn't clear.

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