NBA Rumors: Heat Could Offer Kawhi Leonard Chance To Play With Jimmy Butler In Miami

Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler having a friendly conversation after the game
Gettyimages | Vaughn Ridley
Basketball

The Miami Heat are expected to be one of the busiest teams in the 2021 offseason. After suffering a first-round elimination in the 2021 NBA Playoffs, the Heat must be aware that they need a third superstar to pair with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo in order to have a realistic chance of fully dominating the Eastern Conference and contending for the NBA championship title in the 2021-22 NBA season.

Having a huge salary cap space and a plethora of interesting trade assets, the Heat are in a strong position to acquire another big name this summer.

Heat Plan To Pursue Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard posing after an and-1
Gettyimages | Harry How

One of the biggest targets for the Heat in the 2021 free agency is All-Star small forward Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers. According to a league source who spoke to Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer, the Heat are among the aspiring contenders that are planning to make a "hard push" for Leonard when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

Leonard is yet to make a decision regarding his free agency but after they once again failed to capture the Larry O'Brien Trophy, some people believe that he would finally consider ending his partnership with Paul George this summer.

Why Kawhi Leonard Will Leave The Clippers For The Heat?

Kawhi Leonard guarding Jimmy Butler
Gettyimages | Ronald Cortes

If he decides to leave the Clippers, several teams are expected to do everything they can to sign Leonard in the 2021 free agency. For the Heat, O'Connor believes that they could offer Leonard the chance to play with their main guy, Jimmy Butler, whom the All-Star forward tried to convince to team up with him in Los Angeles 2019.

"Leonard tried to recruit Jimmy Butler to the Clippers before George was acquired, so Miami could offer Kawhi an enticing chance to play with him," O'Connor wrote. "Though the Heat can’t create max cap space, they could always work out a sign-and-trade just like they did to acquire Butler from the Sixers in 2019."

Kawhi Leonard's On-Court Impact On Heat

Leonard would undeniably be an incredible addition to the Heat. His potential arrival in South Beach would significantly improve their offensive and defensive efficiencies that rank 17th and 6th in the league, respectively, according to ESPN.

He would give them a very reliable scoring option, as well as a great playmaker, rebounder, floor-spacer, and lockdown defender. This season, the 30-year-old small forward averaged 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.6 steals while shooting 51.2 percent from the field and 39.8 percent from beyond the arc, per Basketball-Reference.com.

Heat Form Another 'Big Three' In Miami

Butler won't definitely mind surrendering the role as the Heat's No. 1 scoring option to Leonard as long as it would give them a better chance of fully dominating the Eastern Conference and capturing the Larry O'Brien Trophy next season. The potential arrival of Leonard would allow the Heat to form another "Big Three" in South Beach.

The trio of Leonard, Butler, and Adebayo would still need time to mesh well on the court but once they find the perfect chemistry, the Heat would be a scary team to face in a best-of-seven series.