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Report: Jimmy Butler approved of James Harden trade when Miami Heat were frontrunners
- Updated: March 3, 2021
"As Harden delayed his arrival to training camp in December, the Heat became the front-runner for him. Harden's main preference was—and always was—the Nets, but he had no problem going to Miami. Jimmy Butler had even OK'd the trade,according to a league source."
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) March 3, 2021
During the preseason, Harden indicated that he no longer wanted to play for his former team, the Houston Rockets, which sparked plenty of interest from other NBA franchises.
Ultimately, Harden was dealt to the Brooklyn Nets in January and has been averaging 25.3 points, 11.3 assists, 8.7 rebounds and 1.2 steals since donning a Nets uniform.
Butler is the unquestioned leader of the Heat’s roster, so getting his approval on any potential deal was paramount for the Heat’s front office.
Harden’s on-court production certainly could have made a difference when the Heat were enduring a 3-10 stretch in January and February. During that period, Butler was held out of the lineup due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
However, Butler’s return has led to a flurry of wins for the Heat that has helped move them up the standings.
If the Heat want to repeat as Eastern Conference champs this season, it may require Butler and company to battle Harden and the Nets, a potential series that would be something to see.