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Chris Webber and Reggie Miller have heard the rumors about the Miami Heat and the Heat’s trade talks with the Minnesota Timberwolves centered on Jimmy Butler.
And neither Webber nor Miller would make the deal if it meant the Heat surrendering swingman Josh Richardson.
“I would say no,” Webber said during a conference call featuring TNT analysts. “The reason why is I think the culture of Miami is one, even though they don’t have the championships of a San Antonio or the Patriots, I still look at [Heat President] Pat Riley as that type of a winner. I look at the organization as that professional, that precise, that you have winning ways, even if you have a losing season there.”
Webber and Miller are both former NBA All-Stars and currently work as analysts during broadcasts of NBA games for TNT and NBA TV.
ESPN reported that the Timberwolves and Heat were close to a trade over the weekend that would have sent Butler to Miami in exchange for a package that included Richardson. The report said the Heat would also send second-year center Bam Adebayo and a draft pick back to Minnesota.
Butler requested a trade from the Timberwolves three weeks ago. He reportedly prefers the Heat over all other potential destinations.
But Webber reiterated the Heat should play it safe.
“I’m going to say they don’t need one player, because one player is not going to change the culture in Miami,” Webber told reporters. “It’s not going to change the culture and I don’t know if it will give you seven more wins a year. And so being that the culture does need to be changed [if Butler arrives], I don’t know if that’ll give you five to seven more years of winning.”
“I will also say no,” Miller said. “I’m going to go towards the business side of this. You’ve got Josh Richardson on a four-year, $42 million [contract]. You’ve got Bam working on a rookie deal. And, to Chris’ point, chemistry means a lot, and you’ve got young guys that the Heat, [coach Erik] Spoelstra and Riley, that they’ve started to develop. And I’m looking long term, because you’ve got young players, young legs, young development for years to come.
“Jimmy Butler — fantastic person, in my opinion, fantastic player. But his longevity, because of some of the injuries that have occurred, they kind of scare me a little bit.”
Miller added that a Butler deal, with those parameters, likely wouldn’t make much of a difference in the standings.
“If you make that deal, does that automatically put the Heat in contention like Boston is?” Miller said. “You don’t say, ‘Oh, OK, now it’s between Boston and Miami.’ I mean you still have Philly, Indiana, Toronto. So it doesn’t make them, like Chris said, seven games better. It doesn’t make them like, ‘OK, there’s a clear-cut favorite.'”
In a strange twist, Butler rejoined the Timberwolves for practice Wednesday. He indicated it didn’t change his desire to be traded.
“It’s not fixed,” Butler said in a sit-down interview with ESPN. “Let’s be honest. It could be. Do I think so? No.”