Miami Heat

Grade the Trade: Heat give up Jimmy Butler in multi-team for new star

Jimmy Butler’s time with the Miami Heat might be up. Does getting Donovan Mitchell still make sense?

In South Beach, there might be a Jimmy Butler situation. He can be ranked among the all-time great Heat players, along with Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Alonzo Mourning. Many organizations would give their franchise’s main players large salaries when they were older—just look at Kobe Bryant in the latter years of his Lakers career—but the Heat have a history of doing the exact opposite.

The ‘What have you done for me lately’ mentality employed by the Heat ultimately led to the downfall of Dwyane Wade. In 2016, at the age of 34, Wade requested a large salary, to which Pat Riley essentially replied, “No, sir. Take what we’ll give you.” Because of the money dispute, Wade left for the Bulls that offseason; would Jimmy Butler follow suit?

Riley says he wants to win with Butler on the team, but given the Heat’s yearly struggles to advance past the play-in round, he might not feel comfortable giving Butler a two-year, $113 million max agreement. Butler has participated in roughly 58 games per year since moving to Miami. When your best player plays so little, you can’t develop good habits. To truly succeed in the postseason, you have to treat the regular season seriously, even the unlikely runs.

In the event that no deal is achieved, a trade might be required. Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus offers a unique four-team deal that makes sense from every perspective.

Heat gets fresher with younger stars 

Heat get:
Donovan Mitchell (via Cavaliers)
Kyle Kuzma (via Wizards)
$13.4 million trade exception (Jimmy Butler)
$2.5 million trade exception (Nikola Jović)
$2.3 million trade exception (Tyler Herro)

Cavaliers get:
Tyler Herro (via Heat)
No. 15 pick (via Heat)
2026 Phoenix Suns second-round pick (via Wizards)
2028 LA Clippers first-round pick (via 76ers)
2030 first-round pick (via Heat)
$6.4 million trade exception (Mitchell)
$2.6 million trade exception (Ty Jerome)

Sixers get:
Jimmy Butler (via Heat)

Wizards get:
Paul Reed Jr. (via 76ers)
Nikola Jović (via Heat)
Ty Jerome (via Cavaliers)
No. 16 pick (via 76ers)
2026 (TBD) first-round pick (via 76ers)
$23.5 million trade exception (Kuzma)

Why would any of these teams do this trade? Let’s dive in.

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