Heat’s best offer for Butler: Richardson, Olynyk and a first-round pick

The Heat offered a package built around Josh Richardson, shown shooting over Tim Hardaway Jr. of the Hawks, for Jimmy Butler.

Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said the team “wasted some time” trying to persuade Jimmy Butler to remain in Minneapolis before sending him to Philadelphia on Sunday.

However, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times, not only did the Timberwolves “waste some time” in regard to their now-former disgruntled All-Star swingman, they also turned down what may have been their best offer for him.

Stein reports in his weekly newsletter that the Miami Heat offered John Richardson, a protected first-round draft pick and big man Kelly Olynyk in exchange for Butler.

Per Stein:

I’m told that Minnesota’s talks with the Heat largely collapsed when Thibodeau asked for a $5 million cash infusion from Miami as part of a deal that would have sent Richardson, Kelly Olynyk and a future first-rounder to the Wolves for Butler.

The package Minnesota received in return for Butler, headlined by Robert Covington and Dario Saric.

However, Richard has emerged as a rising star for the Heat, averaging 20.1 points, 3.9 rebounds. 3.4 assists and 1.1 steals in 35.1 minutes in 14 games through Thursday, and is on a team-friendly deal for another four seasons. Richardson signed a four-year, $42-million extension with the Heat on Sept. 18, 2017, with his $11.6 million salary for 2021-22 being a player option.

While Olynyk is owed more than $39 million over the next three seasons, he has proven to be a valuable contributor for Miami. He is averaging 9.1 points, 3.4 boards and 2.4 dimes in 18.9 minutes in 14 games this season.