With the regular season fully underway, the Jimmy Butler trade saga appears to be on hold. If nothing else, Butler appeared for 32 minutes in Minnesota’s season-opening loss to the San Antonio Spurs and his presence on the floor in a fully sanctioned game would, on its own, do wonders to quiet speculation.
In addition, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Wednesday that Heat president Pat Riley spoke to the roster about widely reported talks and essentially indicated that discussions weren’t ongoing.
Yet days before their own season opener Wednesday, Miami president Pat Riley informed his locker room that the team would stick with the current roster to start the season in a show of loyalty the organization has for their current players, league sources said.
Riley’s assertion to the players would make sense, if only to assuage any active doubt from a few key cogs — like Josh Richardson and Bam Adebayo — that may be distracted by thoughts of a move elsewhere. Then, on Thursday evening, the Heat organization confirmed the rumblings to reporters, sharing that Riley told the team he was “pulling the plug” on the talks.
As common sense would dictate, this does not mean that Riley won’t engage with Tom Thibodeau and the Timberwolves in the future. However, this is essentially the only move to execute for a team with playoff aspirations, as Miami is projected to reach the postseason with or without Butler on the roster.
Given all of the weirdness with the Wolves and Butler’s expiring contract, it still appears likely that the All-Star wing isn’t long for Minnesota. For now, though, the Heat aren’t actively pursuing his services, at least from what Pat Riley told members of his team.