The successful acquisition of Jimmy Butler in the 2019 NBA free agency has undeniably turned the Miami Heat from an average playoff contender to a legitimate threat in the Eastern Conference. Before the league suspension due to the spread of coronavirus, the Heat were sitting in the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference with a 41-24 record. With their performance in the current season, most people would agree that Butler and the Heat are a perfect match.
However, despite making a good impression in his first season wearing the Heat’s jersey, rumors still continue to swirl around Butler’s future in Miami. Butler may currently be considered untouchable in Miami, but according to Preston Ellis of Bleacher Report, the Heat could change their mind about moving the All-Star forward if the right deal comes along. If they think that they have a realistic chance of acquiring Donovan Mitchell, Ellis suggested that the Heat should explore the possibility of trading Butler to the Utah Jazz this summer.
In the proposed trade deal by Bleacher Report, the Heat would be sending a trade package that includes Butler and Kendrick Nunn to the Jazz in exchange for Mitchell and Mike Conley. Before pushing through with the trade, the Jazz would first need to convince Conley to opt into the final year of his contract. If the trade becomes a reality, Ellis believes that it would help both NBA teams in filling the needs to improve their rosters.
“Meanwhile, Miami would be swapping a 30-year-old All-Star in Butler for a 23-year-old All-Star in Mitchell, the latter of whom aligns far better age-wise with 22-year-old All-Star big man Bam Adebayo. Conley struggled for much of his time in Utah, but he had a career year in 2018-19, and the change of scenery in Miami could give him the opportunity for another fresh start.”
Mitchell may not be as good as Butler right now, but he is a better fit to the timeline of the Heat’s core of Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and Derrick Jones Jr. Conley may have been a disappointment this season, but the Heat could still use the final year of his contract to help them mentor their young guards. When Conley’s contract expires, the Heat would have enough salary cap flexibility to chase the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard in next year’s free agency.
Meanwhile, the potential deal would help the Jazz get rid of the distraction surrounding their team while acquiring an established veteran superstar in Butler and a Rookie of the Year candidate in Nunn. Though Mitchell’s departure would break the hearts of lots of Jazz fans, Ellis thinks that adding Butler and Nunn to the core of Rudy Gobert, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Joe Ingles could help Utah remain competitive in the Western Conference next season.