SOURCES: Jimmy Butler is going to get traded.
OTHER SOURCES: Nobody knows where or when.
When I write my book, it’ll be called “Don’t Become a Sportswriter.” The challenges of being on the job 24/7 in a competitive news industry were tough already, and the job is not getting any easier this preseason — especially with the Associated Press no longer providing preseason game wrapups.
Life evolves around Twitter feeds, SportsCenter highlights, certain national radio shows, Instagram posts and different smartphone alert notifications for when certain people tweet. The Butler trade news can break when you are sleeping, when you are driving, when you are taking a shower or when you are changing a diaper.
You’ve got to have sources, you’ve got to have luck, and you need to be awake.
And when the trade does go down, there is no telling who is going to have it. The smart money is always on Woj, because there are those in the industry who believe he trades positive coverage for information, but Shams Charania, Jon Kraczyzewski of the Athletic, David Aldridge of TNT fame and Steve Aschburner of NBA.com are particularly plugged in, both in Minneapolis and around the NBA.
Also, there are a couple of smaller sites who keep publishing accurate information, but whose proprietors are too feeble to return a DM requesting a phone call.
Nobody is supersourced with every single team, and the peculiarities of getting information out of Minnesota and Miami are acute.
In Minneapolis, Tom Thibodeau has been going on the record with different people at different times depending on his mood, Scott Layden is like a poker player who never shows his cards and Glen Taylor is an entrepreneur (he made his fortune in the wedding invitation business) whose day-to-day moods will ultimately determine which particular deal the Wolves will take.
In Miami, Andy Elisburg is Pat Riley’s cap guy, and Elisburg can engineer two-, three- and four-team trades as well as any cap guy in the league. He, too, does not show his cards as Riley’s guys are all that way: Loyal, silent and diligent.
And every now and then, Erik Spoelstra will put out his favorite line: “All of that is just noise.”
Chances are, it’ll be something nobody saw coming … and it’ll be autopsied the same way the Cavs’ megadeal that turned over half of their roster was autopsied — after the fact.
I can only tell you what I am hearing, and I have sources all around the world on this one.
As you have read elsewhere, the Wolves are asking for a lot … and other NBA teams are low-balling them because they know Taylor has a gun to the head of Layden and Thibs.
The guy who gave me the info for this tweet is very, very tight with all of the key players.
A source who knows everything and everyone surrounding the @JimmyButler trade told me this: “Thibs actually wants to get fired.” @Wolves
— Chris Sheridan (@sheridanhoops) September 27, 2018
The genesis of the Butler trade request has become clearer since training camp opened. We have learned that Butler did not return to Minneapolis after the Wolves were knocked out of the playoffs, flying to Los Angeles instead. There are rumors of a woman being in the middle of a rift between Karl-Anthony Towns and Butler.
There is talk that Thibodeau believed he could smooth everything over once camp began, but Thibs is married to basketball and may have underestimated how a member of the opposite sex may have added an extraordinary degree of difficulty to the whole equation.
For now, my sources are telling me that Miami will do a bunch of different trades, but Bam Adebayo and Josh Richardson are off limits. Perhaps Hassan Whiteside’s 20 points and 13 rebounds last night against San Antonio will make him more palatable to someone. The Heat have been trying all offseason without success to move him.
There is a school of thought that a Whiteside-Gorgui Dieng swap as part of a Butler deal would be reasonable to both sides for financial reasons, but I have been told by sources close to Thibs that the coach wants no part of Whiteside.
One key player is Sacramento Kings GM Vlade Divac, who has nearly $12 million in cap room and $36 million in expiring contracts, including Zach Randolph ($11.7M), Iman Shumpert ($11M), Kosta Koufos ($8.8M) and Ben McLemore ($5.5M). Which means Vlade can broker anything short of Mideast Peace.
I know that the Wolves called the Bucks and asked for Khris Middleton, and that was rejected. I also know that the Bucks are open to moving Malcolm Brogdon, and Eric Bledsoe and his expiring $15 million contract are enticing to many teams.
But would the Bucks shake up their roster for a rental?
Especially a 30-year-old rental who has had two knee surgeries, wants a max contract and has become an instant pariah?
Doesn’t pass the “it makes sense” smell test.
And at the end of the day, Butler will likely be a rental unless he is moved to the Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, New York Knicks or Los Angeles Clippers — his four most preferred destinations.
When will it happen?
The only guy who can answer that question is Glen Taylor. I wish I had his cell phone number.
Sheridan: Jimmy Butler trade to Brooklyn Nets is most likely, oddsmakers say