Jimmy Butler Trade Rumors: Pat Riley, Heat Most Aggressive in Pursuit of Star

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 23, 2018

PARIS, FRANCE - AUGUST 25:  Jimmy Butler of the Minnesota Timberwolves attends the Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-Germain and Angers SCO at Parc des Princes on August 25, 2018 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)
Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

If team president Pat Riley has his way, Jimmy Butler could be playing in a Miami Heat jersey for the 2018-19 season.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Riley's Heat "have been as aggressive as any team in pursuit of a Jimmy Butler trade" with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Wojnarowski noted Minnesota's ownership is hoping to make a deal early in the upcoming week, so Riley and the Heat may not have to wait long.

This comes after Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Butler requested a trade, and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported he preferred the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks as destinations.

While the reports led to social media beef with Butler, Andrew Wiggins, Wiggins' brother Nick and even Stephen Jackson, it also means one of the NBA's best players is readily available.

According to Wojnarowski, Timberwolves president of basketball operations and head coach Tom Thibodeau doesn't want to trade Butler but that owner Glen Taylor has insisted because he doesn't want him "threatening a bigger circus than already exists within the franchise."

That is good news for the Heat and other interested teams, as Butler can take over a game on either end of the court. He is a four-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA selection and four-time All-Defensive selection who consistently serves as a go-to scorer and someone who can defend the opponent's best player on the wing.

Miami made the playoffs last season as the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference but lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round.

The Eastern Conference is fairly wide-open after LeBron James left to join the Los Angeles Lakers, and trading for Butler could make the Heat a realistic contender. He could defend the likes of Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, Kawhi Leonard or Victor Oladipo, among others, in a potential playoff series and would also take some of the offensive pressure off Goran Dragic's shoulders.

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