Despite their current salary-cap constraints that might ordinarily rule out having a chance at Butler, the Heat are one of a number of teams that are going on the assumption that some of their bad contracts can be moved.
The HEAT can't have a meeting with Jimmy until June 30th… as for cap space, there is the sense that cap dollars can be moved… Minnesota, Orlando, Miami, and Houston are all operating like they can move money. https://t.co/lFKs5iva33
— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) June 25, 2019
The Heat had tried to acquire Butler last year, when he was a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves, but that deal fell through. Such a trade would have allowed them to offer Butler a new contract without regard to the cap, since he would have already been playing for the Heat.
Instead, the Heat have to find a way to remove some of their more onerous contracts for the upcoming season. Both center Hassan Whiteside and point guard Goran Dragic, as expected, have opted into the final year of their deals, with Whiteside set to make $27.1 million and Dragic $19.2 million.
In addition, forward James Johnson is set to make $15.1 million for the coming season. He’ll also undoubtedly opt into the $15.8 million he’s owed for the 2020-21 season, the final year of his contract.
That leaves the Heat in a position of trying to find teams willing to accept those contracts for players whose value has diminished. Whiteside turned 30 earlier this month and remains an inconsistent player, while the 33-year-old Dragic is coming off an injury-plagued season. In Johnson’s case, his performance dipped after he was delayed in returning from offseason surgery and played in only 55 games.
Given all those obstacles, the Heat will also have to compete against other teams who want Butler, who turns 30 in September. This past season for the Philadelphia 76ers, he averaged 18.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists.