Howard Beck: ‘Jimmy Butler will be traded’

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Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Butler may have played his last game for the Miami Heat as speculation continues around the NBA that the star “will be traded” at some point during this offseason.

“Jimmy Butler will be traded,” said Howard Beck. “Rival executives have been buzzing about it for months, for all the obvious reasons. Butler is about to turn 35 (with a lot of hard miles and a lot of injuries), with one year left on his Heat contract, and is reportedly seeking a two-year, $113 million extension. If the Heat grant it, they’ll have little to no flexibility to add another star. And they absolutely need one.”

Butler’s 2023-24 NBA season did not end the way he or the Heat would have liked. He was unable to compete in the 2024 NBA Playoffs after getting injured in the play-in round, and the Heat were quickly eliminated by the Boston Celtics in the first round in just five games.

He also drew some ire from Heat president Pat Riley for making comments about the playoffs despite the fact he was unable to take part. That discord gave fuel to the idea that the sides might be destined to part ways, with NBA observer Bill Simmons warning Butler that the Heat “will absolutely trade your a–…if you don’t start playin’ basketball games.”

Earlier this month, Alan Hahn of ESPN said that “Jimmy Butler’s days in Miami are over” and speculated that he may be headed back to the Philadelphia 76ers, where he played one season before being traded to Miami prior to the 2019-20 NBA campaign.

For his part, Butler recently made some cryptic comments possibly regarding the Los Angeles Lakers while at a WNBA game to watch Cameron Brink play at Arena.

About to turn 35 years old before the 2024-25 NBA season begins and reportedly seeking a lucrative new contract, Butler may no long fit into Miami’s future plans. Last offseason, the Heat made plenty of news trying to acquire a superstar player — Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers – and now may be on the other end of that equation by looking to find value in return for their own franchise player.

If Butler’s time with the Heat does indeed end, it will do so without a coveted NBA championship despite multiple runs at the title over his five seasons. Miami made it to the 2023 NBA Finals but lost to the Denver Nuggets and also reached the 2020 NBA Finals, which it lost to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Heat also reached the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals, dropping that series to the Boston Celtics.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. His introduction to the business included the legendary Heat-Knicks rivalry from the 1990s.