Since the early chatter surrounding NBA free agency began, it appeared the Philadephia 76ers had a strong chance to re-sign Jimmy Butler. But now, the Miami Heat have apparently caught the All-Star guard’s eye, and the belief is that he will inform the team that South Beach is his preferred destination.
Unfortunately, it’s not quite as easy as Butler signing with the Heat in free agency, though. Before diving into that, it’s worth noting that Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press first reported the news of Butler’s interest in leaving Philadelphia to join the Heat.
But the situation in Miami is going to lead to things getting a bit messy in order to make this happen. Realistically, the Heat may need to bring a third team into the mix to make this trade with the Sixers work, largely due to their cap space.
According to Spotrac, the Heat currently sit at $-35,129,730 in practical cap space. This means they would have to move a number of large contracts to figure out the best way for a trade to work. We’re going to take a look at a few potential avenues for the Heat and Sixers to make a trade involving Butler happen.
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Sixers Target Josh Richardson, Bam Adebayo & 3rd Team Involved
In an interesting piece of news which came on Saturday night, NBA reporter Greg Sylvander revealed that the Dallas Mavericks may be “a willing participant” to act as a third team in this trade. But, they would want to land point guard Goran Dragic from the Heat, which would be a big deal for Miami’s outlook.
As Spotrac shows, Dragic has a cap figure of $19,217,900 for the upcoming season. If the Heat sent Dragic to the Mavericks and proceeded to send Josh Richardson ($10.116 million) and Bam Adebayo ($3.45 million) to the Sixers, they’d be right around the range needed to get a deal done. It’s unknown how much the Sixers would want in this hypothetical trade, but if the Heat were able to tack on a pick, or if the Mavericks sent one to Philly, that could help make the deal happen.
One positive with Adebayo is that he’s on his rookie deal still, while Richardson has two years and a player option left on his contract. With that said, Richardson, who’s just 25 years old, only has a cap hit of just over the $10.116 million next year, followed by $10.865 million in 2020-21 and $11.615 million in 2021-22.
Jimmy Butler Heat Trade: Sixers’ Alternate Routes
Obviously, the Sixers can go a number of ways while attempting to make this deal happen, one of which could be to avoid any decent-sized contracts and try to stockpile picks. The team could still demand that Adebayo be added to the deal, while also attempting to pick up one or two solid but inexpensive role players.
The issue here is that the Heat have already traded their 2021 first-round pick, along with second-round picks in 2020, 2021, 2023 and 2024, per RealGM. Philly could attempt to land Miami’s first-rounder next year and also try to acquire picks from the Mavericks if they join into the deal.
Time will tell, but there are a number of options which could be on the table here. Along with that, we may see multiple suitors emerge beyond just Dallas who can step in as the third team to help facilitate a trade.