Report: Timberwolves rejected Heat offer for Jimmy Butler that included Josh Richardson, protected first-rounder

Dan Feldman
NBC Sports

The Heat and Timberwolves were reportedly moving toward a Jimmy Butler trade, but talks broke down. Then, the Heat and Timberwolves were reportedly moving toward a Jimmy Butler trade, but talks broke down again.

The latest holdup apparently wasn’t Miami’s willingness to include Josh Richardson. It was Minnesota owner Glen Taylor.

Marc Stein of The New York Times in his newsletter on Taylor:

could have escaped his Butler nightmare by accepting a package from Miami that would have been headlined by the promising Heat swingman Josh Richardson and a protected first-round pick.

This trade offer looks good on the surface, but not enough details are known to properly evaluate it.

Additional pieces would have been required to satisfy salary-cap rules. Chiefly, the Heat would have had to send out additional salary. They have multiple players seen as having negative-value contracts – Tyler Johnson, Dion Waiters, Hassan Whiteside. Including one of those three in the deal would have made it worse for Minnesota.

Also, what were the protections on the first-round pick? That could change the value of it significantly. Even if the pick started as lottery protected, a key question would remain: What would happen if not conveyed in the set number of years? Would it become unprotected, or would it become a second-rounder or two? The difference in value is vast.

Maybe Taylor and the Timberwolves should have accepted this offer. But I don’t see enough to make that judgment with any reasonable degree of certainty.

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