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Jimmy Butler Rumors: Heat Could Interest Star in Sign-and-Trade with 76ers

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 29, 2019

Philadelphia 76ers' Jimmy Butler in action during an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings, Friday, March 15, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

The Miami Heat could reportedly draw "interest" from shooting guard Jimmy Butler in a potential sign-and-trade deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Zach Lowe of ESPN.com reported the update Friday and noted the Heat would face competition from the Houston Rockets, who are also expected to explore sign-and-trade possibilities with the Sixers.

It follows a report from Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press earlier this month that said Butler would "happily" listen to an offer from Miami in free agency.

Bleacher Report's Zach Buckley also made the connection in May, though he noted the Heat needed to answer some salary-cap questions before it could become a realistic option.

"Butler seems perfect for Miami's militaristic approach, which might be the reason it was his preferred destination in September," Buckley wrote. "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 29-year-old Houston native's destination may be the toughest to predict among the summer's biggest free agents because there are a multitude of different potential endgames, and some could hinge on teams signing another big-name target first.

After the Sixers' season ended, Butler said ending up with a team owning a legitimate chance to compete would be important in his decision-making process.

"You always want to be able to win, I think that's key for sure," he told reporters. "You're looking at coaches, you're looking at the city. There's a lot that goes into it. For me, as long as I got my people with me, they're happy, they're smiling and we're waking up knowing were getting to work in an environment where we're having fun."

The Heat, who missed the playoffs with a 39-43 record this past season, aren't as close to pushing toward a championship as the Rockets. So that's an edge to Houston if winning is a crucial factor.

That said, Butler is clearly keeping his options wide open with free agency set to begin Sunday at 6 p.m. ET.

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