WASHINGTON – In another rare confirmation of Miami Heat trade negotiations, a team spokesman confirmed shortly Thursday that Heat President Pat Riley recently told the team’s players he was “pulling the plug” on trade negotiations regarding disgruntled Timberwolves All-Star guard Jimmy Butler.
Amid growing speculation of specific Heat players being offered for Butler, Riley, during a recent practice session, lined up the team’s players on the practice court at AmericanAirlines Arena and told them he was standing by them.
Riley, however, did not state that a trade was categorically off the table.
Last week, Riley refuted a report that he had used a profanity amid trade discussions with Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau, who also handles the team’s personnel decisions.
Riley then issued a statement that read, “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, during Riley’s tenures, have seldom, if ever, acknowledged trade negotiations.
The Butler negotiations have played out so publicly that Riley has instead found himself offering clarifications about the process through the team’s media relations wing.