This blockbuster sign-and-trade might not happen after all. While it had been initially reported that Jimmy Butler would be traded to the Miami Heat, Tim Cato of The Athletic has reported that the deal has been nixed — for now — due to a misunderstanding between the Heat and the Dallas Mavericks regarding which players would be acquired in the Butler deal.
Long story short, if the two sides can’t sort this out, the Heat must find another trade partner for Goran Dragic to preserve the trade construction it prefers. Based on how many dominoes are related to this deal, multiple teams have incentive to get it done quickly.
The original report that came about in the last few hours had Jimmy Butler being traded to the Miami Heat in a three-team sign-and-trade deal with the Philadelphia 76ers and Dallas Mavericks. The Sixers would acquire Josh Richardson, who emerged as the Heat’s leading player this past season, while the Mavericks would acquire Kelly Olynyk and Derrick Jones Jr — but the Heat want Dragic and not Jones to be traded.
Shams Charania of The Athletic also reported that Butler would sign for the four-year, $142 million max with the Heat once the trade is completed.
This move wasn’t exactly unexpected as the Heat were one of the major suitors in the Butler trade sweepstakes that took place at the beginning of the 2018-19 season when the All-Star forward had demanded a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves. Despite Pat Riley offering a robust trade package featuring Richardson, Kelly Olynyk and a protected first-round draft selection, the T-Wolves rejected the offer.
There is no doubt that this would be a major move for both squads. Not only do the Sixers replace Butler with a younger version in Richardson, they also agreed to terms with Al Horford formerly of the Boston Celtics. Despite losing a multiple-time All-Star in Butler, the Sixers remain one of the elite teams in the East due to their ability to replace and reload.
As far as the Heat are concerned, after missing the playoffs last season by just two games, they finally acquire the star they’ve long coveted since LeBron James left South Beach in 2014. Butler brings a plethora of playoff experience and grit that matches Erik Spoelstra’s coaching style for the Heat.
Also of note is that Dwyane Wade if Butler was acquired by the Heat after retiring at the end of the 2018-19 season. It remains to be seen if Wade was actually serious and if he will actually be influenced by the acquisition of Butler.
Unlike most trades that take place, both the Sixers and the Heat look like they end up better off following this deal — assuming it still moves forward as originally planned.