New Trade Proposal Gives Heat All-Star Forward Coming Off Breakthrough Campaign

Jimmy Butler

Getty Head coach Erik Spoelstra and Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat look on during a game.

In the midst of waiting to hear something — anything — definitive about the possibility of trading for Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, some analysts are coming up with new and different ways for the Miami Heat to capitalize on the closing window of superstar Jimmy Butler.

After making it all the way to the NBA Finals as a No. 8 seed before getting thoroughly outplayed by the Denver Nuggets, Miami is looking to add another game-changer alongside Butler, who turns 34 in September. Lillard has made it clear he wants to play for Miami only and while the Heat intend to remain patient, the ball is in Portland’s court.

Dan Favale of Bleacher Report came up with a trade proposal that while he admitted is far-fetched, would land the Heat a younger star who is quite a bit different from Lillard: forward Lauri Markkanen of the Utah Jazz.

Heat Send Boatload of Picks to Utah in Favale’s Proposed Trade

Here’s the complete trade Favale proposed:

  • Miami Heat Receive: Lauri Markkanen
  • Utah Jazz Receive: Jaime Jaquez Jr., Duncan Robinson, 2024 first-round pick (top-one protection), 2028 first-round pick (top-three protection)

Favale noted that Miami would have to renegotiate protections on its 2025 obligation to Oklahoma City, making that pick convey in 2026, in order to make this hypothetical trade happen.

In addition to numerous future picks, the Heat would also have to send promising first-rounder Jamie Jaquez Jr. off to Utah, which would sting, but unloading Robinson’s contract would be an undeniably appealing aspect. Favale’s proposal would also let Miami keep young sharpshooter Tyler Herro, who has been a rumored trade chip in a potential Lillard deal.

“Three firsts is a huge price to pay, but Markkanen’s worth it,” Favale noted. “The Heat are also keeping Tyler Herro and getting out of Robinson’s deal (three years, $57.5 million)—which doesn’t look so bad this side of the 2023 playoffs but is also miles from asset territory.”

Adding an ascending young player like Markkanen would you give the Heat a core player for years to come, potentially even when Butler is gone. Markkanen is due over $17 million next season and $18 million the season after that and Miami could negotiate a long-term deal if he works out.

But here’s the thing…

The Jazz Aren’t Parting With Markkanen Unless They Get an Absolute Haul

Markkanen is coming off a breakthrough season with the Jazz, finishing with career highs in points scored (25.6) and assists (1.9), also hauling in 8.6 rebounds and game (stats via Basketball Reference). The 26-year-old was named to his first All-Star game, shooting a career-best 49.9% from the field while also hitting 39.1% of his attempts from beyond the arc.

“Miami would no doubt prefer an off-the-dribble advantage creator, but Markkanen is a home run acquisition,” Favale wrote. “He can fill the frontcourt spot next to Bam Adebayo or absorb minutes at the 3, and his offense is a unique hybrid of one part self-sustaining, two parts play-finishing around his surroundings.”

Adding the likes of Markkanen to a lineup that includes Butler, Adebayo, Herro and Caleb Martin would give Miami another threat in the paint and from 3-point range. The problem is, Utah knows what it has in the promising young forward, and the team isn’t going to trade him without a boatload of picks. It’s likely the Jazz would want more than Favale’s proposal suggests.

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