The last thing the Philadelphia 76ers need this season is to have Jimmy Butler traded to an Eastern Conference rival like the Miami Heat.
There’s no shortage of team’s that are interested in the Minnesota Timberwolves small forward Jimmy Butler. The Philadelphia 76ers have been one of the teams mentioned with interest in Butler, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. While we here at The Sixer Sense have come up with several articles related to the 76ers acquiring the two-way defensive star, sadly it doesn’t appear that Philadelphia is his preferred destination.
Jimmy Butler and his agent Bernie Lee have informed Wolves ownership that Miami is Butler’s preferred trade destination, league sources say
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) September 26, 2018
At first thought, the idea of adding Butler to the Miami Heat probably won’t make the Heat a better team than the Sixers. Especially because the Heat will have to give away several quality players in order to pry Butler from Minnesota. The Heat may be harder to beat in a playoff series with Butler on the roster, but the 76ers still have more talent than a Miami team with the four time All-Star.
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While there’s isn’t an immediate postseason threat if the Heat do acquire Butler, there is one long term problem that it presents to Philly. When the Sixers traded Mikal Bridges for Zhaire Smith, the Sixers also got the Heat’s 2021 unprotected first round pick from the Phoenix Suns. That pick is worth a lot at the moment, but if Butler gets traded to the Heat and then re-signs with Miami, then it could lose a lot of value.
When the pick conveys in 2021, Butler would still be only 32 (being 29-years-old now) and should still be a very good player even if his playing ability begins to decline. With that in mind, the Heat would most likely still be a playoff team, which would surely make the pick a non-lottery selection. That will hurt if the team either uses the pick in the draft or as an asset in a trade to land a star player.
In the past, I wrote that the Smith for Bridges trade didn’t look great due to Smith’s injury. Now if Butler does end up landing in Miami, then the trade for Smith and the pick looks even worse. A mid to low first round pick plus an injured rookie for the 10th overall pick in this past draft doesn’t look like a good deal.
The Philadelphia 76ers should hope the Miami Heat don’t acquire Jimmy Butler in a trade. While it might make the road to the NBA Finals harder this season, it could hurt them even more trying to acquire a star via the 2021 NBA Draft or using the pick to acquire elite talent in a trade.