Jacari McRae | June 15th, 2019
As expected, Philadelphia 76ers guard Jimmy Butler will opt out of his $19.8M player-option for next season, as Chris Haynes reported earlier on Friday. He will join the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving as one of the top free agents on the market. According to Associated Press’ Tim Reynolds, once NBA Free Agency begins, Butler would gladly meet with the Miami Heat.
Jimmy Butler has told confidants that if Miami wants to talk on or after June 30 he would certainly – and happily – listen, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
(Of course, the “how would Miami have the $$$” portion of this equation remains most unclear.)
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) June 14, 2019
As stated many times, the Heat currently lack the cap space to make an offer. With Goran Dragic opting in, and Hassan Whiteside likely to follow, the Heat would have to do some serious cap maneuvering to create a max slot. They could go the sign and trade route, but it’s unknown if Philadelphia would be interested.
The Heat will likely have cap room next summer and in 2021, with enough money to pursue two max players. With this in mind, it’s arguable that the team should wait another season or two. Then, they can pounce on a player available in free agency or via trade as they did with Alonzo Mourning, Shaquille O’Neal — and even LeBron James and Chris Bosh. However, it’s uncertain if Pat Riley would wait that long.
After nearly acquiring Butler last year, it’s clear the team is interested. Butler can generate his own offense, which is something the Heat currently lacks. The big question though is if they can make it happen. We’ll find that out soon.
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