Miami Heat president of basketball operations Pat Riley told the team’s players that he is “pulling the plug” on trade talks involving Jimmy Butler, multiple media outlets reported Thursday.
Butler, the disgruntled Minnesota Timberwolves star, requested a trade before finally reporting for the start of his final season before he hits free agency. Discussions between Minnesota and Miami reportedly hit a snag last week.
Riley reportedly updated the Heat players on the situation Sunday.
Heat point guard Goran Dragic told the Miami Herald regarding Riley’s comments, “It calms you down, for sure, a little bit. Of course, everybody is talking, including me. I just want to focus on my job. But deep down, it affects you a little bit.
“I want to stay here. I like it, really. So when Pat came after practice and sat us down and we had a small meeting, he told us that (the trade talks are off), and you can feel a little bit of relief. But that doesn’t mean in the near future it can’t happen. So we still need to do our job. We still need to be professionals.”
Riley also refuted media reports that indicated he cut off his talks with Timberwolves coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau in a profanity-laced tirade.
In a statement issued Thursday, Riley said: “As to what has been reported in the past 24 hours, I have too much respect for Tom Thibodeau and all that he’s accomplished in this league. Our conversations have been nothing but cordial and I have never used that kind of language in negotiations.”
The Heat lost 104-101 at Orlando in their season opener Wednesday, then won 113-112 at Washington on Thursday.
--Field Level Media