NBA Rumors: Jimmy Butler Sign-And-Trade To Miami Is ‘Off’ For Now Due To Miscommunication, Per ‘The Athletic’

Jimmy Butler of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts to a call during the Sixers' first-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets in 2019.
Mitchell Leff / Getty Images

The sign-and-trade deal that would send Philadelphia 76ers wingman Jimmy Butler to the Miami Heat appears to be in danger of not pushing forward. Just hours after it was reported that the Sixers, Heat, and Dallas Mavericks had agreed to a three-way trade with Butler as the centerpiece, the latest updates from The Athletic’s Tim Cato suggest that the deal has run into a few hitches, reportedly due to a misunderstanding over the other players included in the transaction.

As noted by CBS Sports, the original sign-and-trade deal would have had Butler going to the Miami Heat, with the Sixers receiving wingman Josh Richardson, who is fresh off a career-best season for the Heat. The Mavericks, as the third team in the trade, were set to receive Heat big man Kelly Olynyk and small forward Derrick Jones Jr. But with mere hours having passed since the trade was first reported on Sunday night, The Athletic’s Cato took to Twitter to explain that Dallas was under the impression they were trading for another Heat player — point guard Goran Dragic.

Later on, Cato clarified that the deal was “off” due to the aforementioned “misunderstanding” over which players would be headed to the Mavericks. He added that it’s now up to Miami to “salvage” things and possibly find another third team to complete the Butler trade.

In a separate tweet, Yahoo Sports’ Keith Smith wrote that the Sixers are applying pressure on the Heat to “find a resolution to the trade issue ASAP” because the former team would need to reevaluate a number of possible offseason moves if the deal falls through. While Smith added that it’s still likely a third team will be involved, he stressed once again that Philadelphia wants the trade to be “done and done soon.”

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As shown on his Basketball-Reference player page, Jimmy Butler split 65 games between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers last season, averaging a combined 18.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, four assists, and 1.9 steals per game. He played a key role on both ends of the floor for the latter team as they finished third in the Eastern Conference and made it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, where they lost in seven games to the eventual NBA champion Toronto Raptors.

If Butler ends up moving to the Miami Heat as planned, the team would be landing a player they had notably targeted early in the 2018-19 season, shortly after he had demanded a trade from the Timberwolves. CBS Sports added that Butler — who is reportedly expected to ink a four-year, $142 million maximum contract if and when the sign-and-trade is finalized — could be a good fit in Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra’s system, while also giving Miami its first taste of legitimate star power since LeBron James left the team in the summer of 2014.