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Time to kiss rumors about Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler teaming up next season goodbye –– at least for now

Alex Reimer
September 26, 2018 - 11:21 am

It looks like we wasted lots of oxygen this summer discussing the possibility of Kyrie Irving leaving Boston to team up with Jimmy Butler. 

The All-Star forward is reportedly lobbying the Timberwolves to trade him before the start of the season. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Butler’s preferred landing spots are the Clippers and Knicks, but now the New York Times’ Marc Stein says Butler wants to head to the Heat. 

“The Heat have pursued Butler as aggressively as any of the 20-plus teams to inquire thus far but, like many, have found it hard to get Minnesota to clearly communicate,” Stein tweeted Wednesday. “League sources say Miami is a team that strongly appeals to the free agent-to-be Butler after a trade.”

In July, it was widely reported Irving was interested in playing with Butler once they both hit the open market in 2019. Irving, who missed the playoffs with a knee injury, spurred the free agent rumors with his refusal to commit to Boston in a series of promotional interviews about his feature film, “Uncle Drew.” The Knicks were commonly identified as an ideal spot for Irving and Butler to team up. 

But according to ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, Irving and Butler haven't spoken at length with each other for a couple of years. “The last time (Kyrie) talked to Butler at length was when they were both playing with USA Basketball, and the two engaged in a spitballing session along with (Kevin) Durant and (DeMarcus) Cousins about what the future held for each of them,” she reported recently.

On top of that, Irving seems perfectly content in Boston. At least, that was his message at Celtics’ Media Day Monday. 

"I'm finally in Boston for a year, not going through an emotional kind of roller coaster," Irving said, per WEEI’s Josue Pavon. "I don't have to answer questions about the trade anymore, now it's like 'what's free agency like?' I'm just appreciative of the opportunity to finally be comfortable -- that's the biggest thing and I'm happy.”

While the Knicks are still apparently very much interested in Irving –– NBC Sports Boston’s A. Sherrod Blakely said on a podcast this month New York has identified Irving as its No. 1 target next summer –– it seems unlikely he would head there alone. And the Heat, for those wondering, may not even have the salary cap room to sign Butler to a big deal prior to 2020, let alone Irving as well. 

The NBA rumor mill is constantly changing. But right now, Irving and Butler don't appear to be operating in concert with each other.