While there are of course other teams around the NBA who have expressed interest in Butler, most notably the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers, the Heat are considered to be the strong favorites to actually land the two-way star.
According to a report by the New York Times‘ Marc Stein, Miami is still believed to be the most likely destination for Butler:
“Yet I’m sticking with Miami as the most likely destination for Butler. As I reported last week, Minnesota Owner Glen Taylor has been informed that the Heat are Butler’s preferred destination, which matters in this situation because he’s going to be a free agent in July. The Heat want Butler immediately and have been trying as hard as anyone in the league to construct a trade that will satisfy the Wolves.”
Stein mentions that Butler has already come out and expressed his desire to be traded to Miami. The Heat have a number of solid players they could deal such as Hassan Whiteside and Justise Winslow. They could even decide to part ways with their more top-tier talent such as Goran Dragic or Josh Richardson, though that does seem somewhat less likely.
While the price may be high to acquire Butler, there is a strong argument that it could be quite worth it. Last season, the 6-foot-8 forward averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game. It’s been quite some time since the Heat have had a player don their jersey who could account for that kind of elite production.
Either way fans look at it, it seems as though they should be preparing to welcome Butler to South Florida. As trade and free agency sweepstakes in recent seasons have proven, however, it’s unwise to celebrate before a deal is done.