• Kyle Russell

Jimmy Butler Lands in Miami


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What's the deal?

According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Miami has pulled off a massive four-team trade with the Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Clippers, and Portland Trail Blazers to land Jimmy Butler in a sign-and-trade. Butler is now signed to the Heat on a four-year, $142 million max contract. To make the deal work, Miami had to give up Josh Richardson, Hassan Whiteside, and their 2023 first round pick. They’ve also received Meyers Leonard from the Trail Blazers.

What does Butler bring to the team?

Butler is a fantastic fit for Miami both on and off the court. On the court, he gives the Heat the go to scorer they were so obviously missing last season. Never one to shy away from the moment, Butler will be the closer for Miami starting next season. Butler is a legitimate two-way star, able to score on offense in a variety of ways and defend at an elite level. He’s also improved as a playmaker over the years and will find plenty of open shooters in Miami’s system. Off the court he’ll be the face of the franchise for Miami, as well as the spokesman for fellow superstars to come to Miami. He’ll also be theundisputed alpha of the team, the one responsible for leading a hungry young squad back to the playoffs.

What does this move mean for the Heat?

While this move doesn’t make Miami a title contender by any means, it does make them relevant (finally!) after jogging on the mediocrity treadmill for most of the past two seasons. Now that head coach Erik Spoelstra has a star to build around, Miami should easily make the playoffs next season and be a tough out. Their absolute ceiling is probably the fourth seed, and their playoff ceiling probably a first round win. More importantly, though, having a player like Butler makes it easier to recruit another star once they have the cap space to do so. This is the move before the move, if you will.

How would you grade this contract?

The contract itself I’d give an A-. At age 29, there are some concerns on how Butler’s game will age into his 30s. Jimmy spent most of his early years playing for Tom Thibodeau, who is notorious for playing his stars into the ground. In fact, Butler led the league in minutes in the 2014-15 season. His game is based on athleticism and driving to the basket, an ability that will decline as he enters the twilight of his prime. Fortunately, Butler didn’t sign a five-year deal, the last of which would have been scary. Still, Miami needed a superstar and got it, so it’s hard not to see the contract as a win.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I’m beyond impressed with this signing. It addressed Miami’s most glaring need and didn’t cost relatively much. Losing Josh Richardson hurts, but it was a necessary sacrifice to get a player like Butler. Pat Riley said he’s not done making moves yet. But if this ends up being the only big move he makes this summer, it’ll still be a successful offseason for the Heat. Personally, I’m looking very forward to next season now.

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