Jimmy Butler caught attention on Instagram after he “liked” Bleacher Report’s post on Houston Rockets star James Harden adding the Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat to his preferred list of trade destinations.
The Heat have the best odds of landing Harden, as NBA Central and Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel detailed, and Butler opened up about his “interesting like” on Instagram during his interview with The Jump‘s Rachel Nichols on December 10.
That’s an interesting like pic.twitter.com/9myBjGOouq
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) December 10, 2020
The 31-year-old power forward played it cool. “I like his hairstyle, little dreads, some braids, beard looks well-nourished,” Butler said. “I like the post.”
However, Nichols pushed further to know Butler’s true feelings about Harden possibly playing for the Heat. The five-time All-Star said that because he’s “friends” with Harden, he just wants his buddy to be happy.
“There’s a lot of stuff always in the media,” Butler said. “He’s a hell of a player. I like the group we have. I just want the guy to be happy. That’s what life is about, what the game is about. So what? I like the post. I like James. He’s a friend of mine. I just want him to be happy.”
Harden Joining the Heat Could Make for an Impressive Starting Lineup
Harden, the 2018 NBA MVP and eight-time All-Star would no doubt be a welcome addition on the Heat, and possibly add the extra push the team needs to make back-to-back appearances in the NBA Finals.
Save for Jae Crowder, who joined the Phoenix Suns as a free agent, the Miami franchise has pretty much stayed intact since their run at the 2020 NBA Finals, an alluring prospect for Harden who has yet to make it to the NBA Finals since joining the Rockets. Under longtime coach Erik Spoelstra, the Heat’s starting lineup for the 2020-2021 season would unquestionably be stacked with Harden joining the team, depending on what they’d have to send Houston in return.
As it stands, the Heat’s projected starters include the following five players: Butler, Bam Adebayo, who recently signed a massive five-year contract extension worth a minimum of $163 million, Goran Dragic, Duncan Robinson, and Meyers Leonard. Ready to jump in, Tyler Herro, who was the Heat’s first-round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
In Addition to the Heat, Harden Has His Eye On Numerous Teams as Preferred Trade Options
After turning down the chance to become the NBA’s first player to earn $50 million a year, “The Beard” is not putting all his eggs in one basket, and there other teams on Harden’s wish list than the Miami Heat.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Brooklyn Nets are his top pick. By joining Nets stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, Harden reportedly believes the new “Big 3” would secure him a chance to play in the 2021 NBA Finals.
In addition to Brooklyn and the aforementioned Milwaukee Bucks, Harden’s also considering the Philadelphia 76ers. However, “the Rockets and the Sixers have had no substantive talks about a potential Harden deal,” sources told ESPN on December 8. “New Philadelphia president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, the Rockets’ general manager for the previous 13 seasons, has said he has no intention to break up the Sixers’ All-Star duo of center Joel Embiid and guard/forward Ben Simmons.”