The crazy 2019 NBA offseason featured several NBA superstars leaving their respective teams to chase an NBA championship title somewhere else, including All-Star forward Jimmy Butler. When they acquired him in a blockbuster deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves earlier in the 2018-19 NBA season, the Philadelphia 76ers had said publicly that they would do everything they could to keep Butler long-term on their roster.
However, the Sixers didn't seem to take their own words seriously when Jimmy Butler officially became an unrestricted free agent this summer. Instead of agreeing to join the Miami Heat via a sign-and-trade deal, Dave Early of SB Nation's Liberty Ballers revealed that Butler would have stayed in Philadelphia if the Sixers offered him a five-year max contract in the 2019 NBA free agency. Unfortunately, the Sixers were reportedly not interested in throwing away a huge amount of money just to bring Butler back.
"According to a person with knowledge of the way the front office thinks in Philadelphia, the Sixers were not interested in bringing Jimmy Butler back and did not offer him the five-year offer he was seeking from them. According to the source, Butler would have taken a five-year max offer to stay, as securing the final year of a long term deal was one of his priorities. According to the same source the core players mostly liked and got along with Butler. This team insider did not suspect that retaining Butler would have impacted the ensuing contracts signed by Tobias Harris or Ben Simmons."Compared to his stint with the Timberwolves, Jimmy Butler had built a strong bond with his Sixers teammates like Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris. However, Early revealed that Butler didn't have a good relationship with the Sixers' coaching staff. As Early noted, there were several incidents involving Butler and the Sixers' coaching staff that happened last season, including the infamous December film-session incident where the All-Star forward aggressively challenged Coach Brett Brown.
As of now, both parties are already heading in different directions. Despite losing Jimmy Butler, the Sixers managed to remain a competitive team in the Eastern Conference. Aside from acquiring Josh Richardson in a sign-and-trade deal with the Heat, the Sixers also boosted their frontcourt with the addition of Al Horford in the 2019 NBA free agency.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler is set to start a new journey in Miami. So far, Butler only has one goal in mind which is to help the Heat fully dominate the Eastern Conference and win an NBA championship title. However, with the emergence of numerous powerhouse teams in the league, the Heat must be aware that Butler, alone, won't be enough to help them achieve their goal.
As of now, the Heat are frequently linked to trade rumors involving superstars who are expected to be available on the trade market before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline, including John Wall and Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards. If the Wizards finally decide to undergo a full-scale rebuild, a previous The Inquisitr article revealed that the Heat are willing to absorb Wall's lucrative contract in the potential Beal blockbuster deal.