Report: 2 more teams interested in Jimmy Butler as he privately makes stance known

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Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Per Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald, two unnamed NBA teams on top of the Philadelphia 76ers are targeting Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler via trade.

“Along with the 76ers, according to league sources, there are two other teams that have made it known in league circles that they would be willing to trade for Butler and sign him to a max-level contract,” Chiang wrote. “Butler turns 35 on Sept. 14.

“Despite the outside interest, Butler and his agent Bernie Lee have repeatedly made it clear — publicly and privately — that he wants to spend the rest of his NBA career with the Heat. But choosing not to offer Butler a max extension this offseason could derail those plans, especially with other teams seemingly willing to fulfill his request.”

76ers insider Keith Pompey recently reported that Philadelphia would be willing to ink Butler to a max deal if he were to request a trade out of Miami.

“It’s no secret that the 76ers are closely monitoring Jimmy Butler’s contract situation with the Miami Heat,” Pompey wrote.

“The Sixers view him as a fallback option if they are unable to sign Paul George in free agency.

“And, according to sources, the Sixers are prepared to give Butler a maximum-salary extension if things align and he forces a trade out of Miami.”

Philadelphia is fresh off arguably its worst playoff stint since the 2020 NBA Playoffs, when the 76ers were swept by the Boston Celtics in the opening round.

The 2024 NBA Playoffs marked just the second time this decade where the 76ers failed to reach the second round of the playoffs.

Philadelphia was eliminated by Jalen Brunson and the New York Knicks in six games in the first round despite getting big series from perhaps its two best players in Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey. The former averaged 33.0 points, 10.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.5 blocks per contest for the series, while the latter averaged 29.8 points per game on 47.8 percent shooting from the field and 40.0 percent from 3-point range to go along with 5.2 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game.

However, the 76ers didn’t receive consistent scoring production from their complementary pieces. Tobias Harris — who averaged 17.2 points per game in 70 games played during the 2023-24 regular season — saw his scoring average plummet against the Knicks.

He averaged only 9.0 points per contest on 43.1 percent accuracy from the floor and 33.3 percent from deep. Plus, in the deciding Game 6, Harris failed to score a single point and missed both of his shot attempts from the field in over 29 minutes of playing time in a game the 76ers lost by just three points.

Butler’s Heat also were unable to advance past the opening round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs, as the Celtics — who finished the regular season with a fantastic 64-18 record, the best of any team in the Eastern Conference — sent the team home in five games.

Perhaps the addition of Butler is what the 76ers need to shake their playoff demons and finally reach an Eastern Conference Finals with Embiid on the roster.

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Jesse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA.