Jimmy Butler Rumors: Star Would 'Happily' Listen to Heat After 76ers Opt-Out

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 14, 2019

Philadelphia 76ers' Jimmy Butler reacts during the second half of Game 6 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Toronto Raptors, Thursday, May 9, 2019, in Philadelphia. 76ers won 112-101. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Chris Szagola/Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers small forward Jimmy Butler is reportedly open to a meeting with the Miami Heat as an unrestricted free agent during the 2019 NBA offseason.

Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press reported Friday that Butler told "confidants" he would "happily" listen to an offer from the Heat.

The four-time All-Star selection has made the unsurprising decision to decline the $19.8 million player option in his contract with the Sixers to hit the open market this summer, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Butler, who was traded to Philly from the Minnesota Timberwolves in November, averaged 18.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.9 steals across 65 appearances during the 2018-19 season.

The 29-year-old Marquette product posted a message of gratitude toward the City of Philadelphia and his 76ers teammates on Instagram last month after the team lost to the eventual NBA champion Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Semifinals:

Last month, Butler told Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer he wasn't overly concerned about the financial side of the upcoming negotiations.

"Technically I think, knock on wood, I will get a max contract anywhere I choose to go," he said. "So if you are talking a four-year, five-year, that is more than enough money anyway. I think I still have more than enough money now from my first deal."

Bleacher Report's Zach Buckley pointed out the Heat would have to solve some salary-cap quandaries to create the necessary space for Butler, but noted otherwise it looked like a great fit.

"Butler seems perfect for Miami's militaristic approach, which might be the reason it was his preferred destination in September," Buckley wrote in May. "His defense is already at an Erik Spoelstra-approved level, and his offense is sharp enough to slide into the driver's seat vacated by Dwyane Wade."

The Heat could face competition from the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets, among others, and the Sixers also figure to make a strong push to bring him back as well.

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