Good news, Marquette Golden Eagles fans! You know all that Miami Heat gear that you acquired during Dwyane Wade’s career? All that stuff that you suddenly wondered what you were going to do with it now that Wade had retired?
HANG ON TO IT, CUZ YOU’RE GOING TO WANT TO KEEP IT.
According to NBA insider reporting, the Heat have acquired former Marquette star Jimmy Butler by way of a sign-and-trade deal with the Philadelphia 76ers and two other teams to make the salary implications all work out. Here’s the breakdown of what exactly is happening from our Heat-centric SB Nation friends over at Hot Hot Hoops:
Miami gets: Jimmy Butler and Meyers Leonard
Philadelphia gets: Josh Richardson
Portland Trail Blazers get: Hassan Whiteside
Los Angeles Clippers get: Maurice Harkless and a future Miami first round pick with lottery protections in 2023-2025.
Technically, it’s not a four-team deal, as it was Miami making a series of trades with one team after another in order to make Butler’s brand new four year, $142 million max contract fit into their cap situation. Philadelphia, Portland, and the Clips didn’t exchange anything with each other, although Harkless does move from Portland to LA without ever suiting up for the Heat.
The wild thing about all of this is the deep Marquette connection. Word on the street is that Butler was impressed by the fanfare surrounding Dwyane Wade’s final home game in Miami before retiring. That attention to a superstar is what allegedly pushed Butler towards wanting to play for the Heat.
After reaching the NBA Finals in four straight seasons between 2011-2014, Miami has qualified for the playoffs just twice in the five seasons since then. They advanced to the second round in 2016 and lost in the first round in 2018. They finished under .500 this past season and missed the playoffs, but as you can see, they’ve now radically altered their roster in order to acquire Butler.
The addition of the former Golden Eagle presumably alters the planned trajectory for the Heat. You don’t go out and pull a max contract sign-and-trade for a 29 year old to just fritter around and hope you make the playoffs. Right now, Milwaukee is the only true known quantity in the Eastern Conference with questions all over the place for Toronto, Philly, Boston, and Brooklyn. It’s a good time for Pat Riley to push his chips into the middle of the table to build around Butler, so we’ll see if he’s done making moves here going forward.
In 55 games with Philadelphia after being traded by Minnesota, Butler averaged 18.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.0 assists, all better than his career averages. As things currently stand, he’ll go from being part of a strong core of players with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid in Philadelphia to the clear #1 option with the Heat. It’s a pretty good collection of dudes around him in South Beach, but we’ll see if Riley has something else up his sleeve to make things even better for the pride of Tomball, Texas.
Be sure to stop by Hot Hot Hoops for more details and info on Butler and the Heat.