The Minnesota Timberwolves "advanced to the brink" of trading Butler to the Miami Heat this weekend but saw the deal fall apart at the last minute, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Sunday, citing sources.
Minnesota and Miami had been discussing deals that included a third team to take on salary, as well as doing a direct trade between the Timberwolves and Heat, league sources said.
"Miami had softened on including guard Josh Richardson in versions of a possible deal for Butler, only to recoil once Minnesota pushed late for a sweeter return on the four-time All-Star forward, league sources said".
Talks had reportedly progressed to the point where medical information was being shared, and team owners were brought into the discussion. The Los Angeles Clippers, one of the three landing spots Butler initially preferred, were reportedly in talks with Minnesota, along with the Houston Rockets.
He is entering the fourth season of a five-year, $92.3 million contract he signed with Chicago in 2015, but he can enter the free agent market next summer by opting out of the final year. Miami always desires to be a destination for the NBA's elite players, and having Butler in tow helps with that goal.
Every trade in every sports league is influenced heavily by leverage, and the current Jimmy Butler trade talks going on in the National Basketball Association right now are no exception. At first blush it might seem like the Heat could afford to hold off and not bite on Butler right now. But it appears that it is the Wolves camp that would always force teams to back off from negotiations due to reports that Minnesota's asking price is way too high.