IT looks like Jimmy Butler wants to take his talents to South Beach — which means we’ll finally find out if his Instagram spat with Dwyane Wade was real or not.
Reports on Thursday indicated Butler, who is trying to force his way out of an unhappy situation in Minnesota via trade, would prefer to play with Wade’s Miami Heat.
It would reunite the pair, who became close friends while playing together in Chicago a couple of seasons back, but engaged in a weird back-and-forth on social media after Butler commented on a photograph of Wade’s wife last month.
Gabrielle Union-Wade uploaded a photo to social media of her having just come out of the pool wearing bikini bottoms and a crop top. And while her NBA star husband was pretty pleased with what he saw, he didn’t want anyone else stepping on his turf.
He commented on the photo: “MINE!”
Minnesota Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler then ventured into dangerous territory by adding: “WELL DAMN!!”
It prompted Wade to visit Butler’s Instagram page and leave an aggressive warning. “Put well damn in caps on my wife photo again and you’re gonna see what the good, the bad and the ugly is like,” Wade wrote.
Butler immediately signalled his retreat. “Well that escalated quickly. Point noted. I’m still coming to the bbq tho (sic),” he wrote before signing off with three laughing emojis.
Given their previous friendship most assumed the exchange was lighthearted, but Butler knocked back an opportunity to clear it up when approached by TMZ Sports soon after.
“We’ll let the fans keep guessing,” he said.
But it’s unlikely he’d have earmarked the Heat — ahead of the Knicks, Nets and Clippers which he initially listed as his preferred destinations — if there was any lingering tension with Wade.
Butler shocked the NBA last week when he requested the Timberwolves — who just a year earlier landed the superstar in a draft-night deal with the Bulls — trade him once again.
Rumours of discord between Butler, coach Tom Thibodeau and young stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins seemingly escalated to a point of no return, leaving the front office with little choice but to honour his request.
Reports have indicated that Miami has been aggressive in negotiations since Butler announced his desire to be traded, even as he left the Heat off his initial list.
They only have two draft picks over the next three years (both first-round), but the Miami Herald reported that they would be willing to include Hassan Whiteside and Justise Winslow in talks.