The Timberwolves have played multiple preseason games and Jimmy Butler remains on the roster but away from the team, reportedly anxiously waiting to be traded out of Minnesota.
Last week, reports suggested the Miami Heat and Houston Rockets were frontrunners to trade for Butler, but the weekend and first couple of days of the week have been mostly quiet, until now.
Sam Amico of Amico Hoops reports that Miami remains a frontrunner to get Butler, while Marc Stein of the New York Times says Minnesota would prefer not shipping Butler to Houston, who are already among the elite in the Western Conference.
"The best sense I have right now is that the Rockets would have to package (P.J.) Tucker with Eric Gordon and some level of draft compensation to convince Minnesota to send Butler to his hometown team, which is something I believe the Wolves don’t want to do because they’d rather not have a hand in transforming the Rockets into more of a superpower than they already are," Stein wrote in his Tuesday newsletter.
Stein agrees with Amico that Miami remains the frontrunner, and Stein expects a deal to eventually happen.
"Yet I’m sticking with Miami as the most likely destination for Butler. As I reported last week, Minnesota Owner Glen Taylor has been informed that the Heat are Butler’s preferred destination, which matters in this situation because he’s going to be a free agent in July. The Heat want Butler immediately and have been trying as hard as anyone in the league to construct a trade that will satisfy the Wolves.
"Sooner rather than later, I expect Pat Riley to succeed in that quest because Taylor has to know that, deep down, trying to reintegrate Butler at this point — given all the tension in every corner of that organization — is completely unfeasible."
Meanwhile, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic notes that Butler has been working out at the Timberwolves' facilities in Minneapolis while the team has been on a West Coast exhibition road trip. The team returns Thursday, at which point everyone will be curious to see if Butler rejoins the team for practice.
That leads to a report late Wednesday from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, who says the Wolves and Miami remain engaged in trade talks, and that Butler, even if he isn't traded, doesn't plan to miss any regular season games.