“Get your bleeping house in order!!” That is the alleged quote from Pat Riley to Tom Thibodeau during trade talks for Jimmy Butler. Last year we had the Kawhi drama and more and more it seems this season will be the Butler drama. It has been almost a month since we wrote about this and everyone expected Jimmy out of Minnesota in the next week or two, and those expectations factored in Thibs and the reputation of the Wolves being difficult to deal with.
This has already been a debacle in management as the owner Glen Taylor reportedly told other owners at the owners meeting that if they can’t get a deal done with Thibs they should call him directly. If you need to say that than it is time to fire your GM. Unfortunately for the Wolves, their GM is also their head coach so things get complicated. Thibs the coach wants to get a lot right away so they can win and be competitive, Thibs the GM should also think long-term, but he isn’t under contract long-term and seems the owner is getting tired of his leadership style. The dysfunction was bound to lead to frustrating reports out of Minnesota and so it begins.
Butler first gave a list of the Clippers, Nets, and Knicks as teams he would like to be traded. The importance of the list is that these would be the teams Jimmy would be ready to express his willingness to sign long-term after this season. You do not trade for Jimmy and give up a lot (and a lot is what Thibs wants) unless you know he will stay for a long time. This means the potential market for a trade is quite small. After things didn’t work out, Jimmy added Miami to the list.
Miami is in such a cap position that their only way to a star in the next few years is via trade. Their best asset is Josh Richardson, a good wing player on an amazing contract (roughly $10 million a year until the ’21/’22 season). As the Wolves do not have leverage, Pat Riley said Richardson is off the table. Then trade talks ensued and Woj reported there was a “blockbuster deal” ready to happen but then Thibs got involved, he asked for more and things got interesting. It seemed Riley put Richardson and a 1st round pick on the table as a foundation for a trade.
ESPN Sources: Minnesota-Miami talks escalated close to a Jimmy Butler deal over weekend – only to see trade fall apart. Minnesota shared Butler’s medical info with Miami, owners were involved and sides prepared to finalize. Minnesota pushed for more, talks fractured.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 7, 2018
Riley is known for a, shall we say, rich vocabulary and he told Thibs to “get his fu&%$#& house in order” and then continued with a barrage of compliments and hung up the phone. If you already have a deal in place and at the 11th hour someone shows up with a new demand, it may be OK if it’s a second round pick, but as reported by Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, when asked what the Wolves are seeking, a Heat source said: “The firstborn of all our kids.” Riley’s reaction makes a bit more sense now.
It is unclear is Thibs intentionally sabotaging the trade to keep Jimmy and have him on the team or is he trying to increase his leverage. If it’s the second one, the strategy won’t work. Butler’s trade value drops every day and getting a good replacement in Richardson and a 1st round pick is the best offer out there. There is a third option, maybe Thibs is trying to get fired. The season is starting less than a week from today and Jimmy is still in Minessota. What is Thibs doing???