HEAT Meeting with Jimmy Butler on Sunday

Jacari McRae | June 29th, 2019

An important off-season awaits Jimmy Butler, who is an unrestricted free agent. While he hasn’t ruled out a return to the Philadelphia 76ers, the free agent forward will have a conversation with the Miami Heat and the Houston Rockets.

The Heat unsuccessfully tried to trade for Butler during this past season, offering the Minnesota Timberwolves a package that included Josh Richardson, Kelly Olynyk, and the 2019 first round pick, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times. Minnesota ultimately sent Butler to the Philadelphia 76ers.

With NBA free agency around the corner, the Heat plan to make another run at Butler. Unlike the current Heat players, Butler is a go-to scorer that can create his own shot and get to the free throw line easily. He’s also someone who has connections to the best players in the league, which the Heat lack in its pursuit of Gordon Hayward.

From a salary cap perspective, Miami is at a clear disadvantage. The Heat currently lack the salary cap space to sign Butler in free agency. With Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside both opting in, the Heat will have nearly $141 million in salary on the books for next season. That puts Miami way above the projected $109 million salary cap and nearly 8 million over the projected $132 million luxury tax line, and definitely not in a position to sign a max player like Butler unless it can shed tons of salaries.

Barring some serious cap maneuvering, their only hope would be a potential sign and trade, which is very challenging to execute (click here to see why). Additionally, going this route would require some cooperation from the Philadelphia 76ers. After his performance in the playoffs, the 76ers are likely looking to keep Butler. The 76ers can offer Butler a five-year $189 million maximum contract to re-sign while other teams can offer four years and $141 million deal.

But if Butler informs the 76ers he’s leaving, then maybe they’ll work out a sign and trade to get something in return.

Well, the Heat at least hope they do.

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