Now that the NBA Finals have wrapped up, the train keeps rolling with the NBA Draft next Thursday and the start of free agency two weeks from Sunday.
One of the biggest names on the market is 76ers guard, Jimmy Butler, who intends to opt out of his contract and will likely be targeted by the Knicks, Nets, Clippers, Lakers, and whoever else has enough cap space to offer a max contract.
It’s not so much that the Heat are interested in the four-time All-Star, but that Butler will listen to a pitch from the Heat should they be interested.
The only problem is how Miami would be able to afford Butler. The Heat are currently $31.5 million over the salary cap and would need to clear about $66 million off their books to be able to offer Butler a four-year, $141 million dollar contract.
Miami can make some moves to clear cap but it would be difficult to make it work.
They could trade Ryan Anderson, who has an expiring contract with $15 million of his $21 million remaining guaranteed for the 2019-20 season. If they waive him by July 10, that creates $6 million.
Miami is rumored to be interested in Cleveland’s, J.R. Smith, who has a $15.6 million expiring contract with $3.8 million guaranteed. Miami could flip either James Johnson, Dion Waiters or Kelly Olynyk to Cleveland for Smith and then waive Smith to clear $11.8 million in cap space.
One major domino they’re waiting on is whether or not Hassan Whiteside will pick up his $27 million player option for next season. If he chooses not to, that helps them in a potential pursuit of Butler.
This could mean nothing though as according to reports, Philadelphia has every intention to keep Butler and offer him the most years and money (5 years, $190 million) out of any other team in the league.
It all comes down to whether or not Butler wants to play alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid or if he can somehow head to South Beach to team up with Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic.