NBA Rumors: Jimmy Butler Leaving Sixers For Heat Or Rockets, According To ‘ESPN’

Did the Sixers waste their precious trade assets for a one-year rental?

Jimmy Butler #23 of the Philadelphia 76ers gestures during Game Five of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on May 7, 2019 in Toronto, Canada.
Vaughn Ridley / Getty Images

Did the Sixers waste their precious trade assets for a one-year rental?

When they acquired him in a blockbuster deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Philadelphia 76ers expressed strong confidence that they could bring Jimmy Butler back when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019. However, the outcome of the 2018-19 NBA season seems to be tied to Butler’s future in the City of Brotherly Love. After suffering a massive defeat from the hands of the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, rumors started to circulate that Butler will be leaving the Sixers in the 2019 NBA free agency.

Several NBA teams have already expressed interest in adding Jimmy Butler and according to ESPN, there are two teams that the All-Star guard would want to meet first when the 2019 NBA free agency officially begins. These include the Miami Heat and the Houston Rockets. Luckily for the Sixers, both the Heat and the Rockets will be needing to engage in a sign-and-trade deal to acquire Butler which will enable Philadelphia to acquire precious trade assets instead of losing him as an unrestricted free agent without getting anything in return.

“Jimmy Butler is expected to meet with the Miami Heat in South Florida on Sunday ahead of a meeting with the Houston Rockets, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Saturday. Butler’s meeting with the Rockets likely will take place early next week in Los Angeles, sources said. The Philadelphia 76ers haven’t ruled out working with Butler on sign-and-trade deals, which Miami and Houston both would need to acquire the All-Star guard.”

After being eliminated by the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Semifinals, rumors were swirling that the Rockets are planning to make a huge roster overhaul this summer. However, instead of breaking their explosive backcourt duo of Chris Paul and James Harden, Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey revealed that they want to add a third superstar to their team.

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The Rockets have long been interested in Jimmy Butler. When Butler demanded a trade from the Timberwolves, the Rockets have offered multiple first-round picks to bring him to Houston. Now that they have the chance to acquire Butler again, the Rockets have reportedly made some of their core players – Clint Capela, Eric Gordon, and P.J. Tucker – available on the trading block.

The Heat were also one of the NBA teams that expressed interest in Jimmy Butler when he requested a trade from the Timberwolves. Butler-to-Heat rumors started to heat up once again when Dwyane Wade made a controversial post on Twitter. When asked if he’s willing to come out of retirement to team up with LeBron James and Anthony Davis in Los Angeles, Wade said if ever he decides to play again, it would only be for the Heat. Wade then called out Butler in which most people perceive as a way of saying that he will unretire if Butler will sign with the Heat in the 2019 NBA free agency.