‘Blockbuster’ Trade Proposal Sends Heat Star Jimmy Butler Back To 76ers

One NBA writer proposed that the Philadelphia 76ers acquire Jimmy Butler from the Miami Heat this summer. 

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Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report proposed the following trade idea between the Sixers and Heat:

The Miami Heat acquire a 2024 first-round pick, a 2026 first-round pick (least favorable of OKC, HOU and LAC) and a 2028 first-round pick (via LAC) from the Philadelphia 76ers for Jimmy Butler

“Franchise figurehead and team president Pat Riley didn’t exactly seem committed to an extension for Jimmy Butler, and a trade sending the five-time All-NBA star away from the Miami Heat would constitute a major reshaping of the franchise,” Hughes wrote. “So…let’s go for it. The Sixers make for a fascinating trade partner, as they can simply take Butler into cap space and send out picks. That assumes the Heat value financial flexibility and assets they can flip more than an actual live body who could help the new Bam Adebayo-led core compete.

“Miami might view Butler as the trade chip it could use to secure a high-end replacement from someone else, but it seems at least as feasible for it to collect picks from the Sixers and turn those into the same thing. Considering one of the concerns Riley listed about the 34-year-old Butler was durability, and in light of Butler’s potential to hit free agency via player option in 2025, the Sixers might be able to land him using only their relatively limited draft equity.”

Butler is extension-eligible this offseason. He’ll make $48.8 million next season.

One of the top two-way players in the NBA, Butler has a player option worth $52.4 million for the 2025-26 season. 

The Heat lost to the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 2024 playoffs in five games. Butler didn’t play in the series because of a knee injury. 

A six-time All-Star, Butler averaged 20.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists this season while shooting 49.9% from the field, 41.4% from beyond the arc and 85.8% from the free-throw line.

According to NBA insider Marc Stein, rival teams believe the Sixers could try to acquire Butler from the Heat this summer.

Butler played 55 games for the Sixers in 2018-19 before signing with the Heat in the summer of 2019 via a sign-and-trade deal. The forward is close friends with Philadelphia big man Joel Embiid

“The Heat could still project to have over $100 million on the books in 2025-26 between Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Terry Rozier and Duncan Robinson, so this hypothetical Butler deal doesn’t clear the decks to any great extent,” Hughes wrote. “But it would fundamentally change Miami’s identity, add flexibility and give it a shot to reorient itself around Adebayo and a second star acquired in a separate trade. 

“This trade would put the Heat on path to improve without tearing the whole operation down, and it’d allow them to move off Butler before his value diminishes as he nears free agency. Better to move on from a player a year too soon than a year too late. Meanwhile, the Sixers add a huge name to re(pair) with Joel Embiid in a title chase.”

Butler has career averages of 18.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists with the Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves, Sixers and Heat. 

Miami lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2020 NBA Finals, lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the 2021 playoffs, lost to the Celtics in the 2023 conference finals, lost to the Denver Nuggets in the 2023 NBA Finals and lost to the Celtics in this year’s playoffs. 

The Sixers have never advanced past the second round of the playoffs in the Embiid era. 

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