Jimmy Butler is officially a member of the Miami Heat. It's Biscayne Buckets time. This is happening. Once news broke Sunday morning that the Miami Heat and Butler were set to meet at exactly 6:01 p.m., there was growing confidence Pat Riley and the Heat could land the former Chicago Bulls and Philadelphia 76ers star. But Butler's present team, the Sixers, would have to provide a sign-and-trade deal to make the money work.
That all happened quicker than expected. Butler is headed to Miami to sign a reported four-year maximum contract deal worth an estimated $142 million. As part of the deal, Josh Richardson will be heading to the Sixers.
Update: At first, it was reported that Goran Dragic would leave the team to make salary room for Butler — then that Kelly Olynyk and Derrick Jones Jr. would go to the Dallas Mavericks. Both those deals failed, though, so the Heat dealt center Hassan Whiteside to the Portland Trailblazers for Meyers Leonard and Mo Harkless, which still leaves some loose financial ends in the Butler trade. It's mad real in these NBA free offseason streets. The Heat are out here flipping players like it's an A&E show.
As one might imagine, Heat fans and local media were pretty excited about the news that the team had landed an All-Star player to snatch the torch from Dwyane Wade. While the Heat isn't yet a title contender after the move, the team certainly is no longer an afterthought. After all, Butler is one of the best players in the game right now.
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The Heat will now move into bonus time, possibly trying to crack a deal for Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal. Anything the Heat can do to add talent around Butler will be gravy on top of Butler's mashed potatoes for a fan base that has been thirsty for change since LeBron James left in 2014.
Beal subtweeted all Sunday long, but just as news came down that the Heat had struck a deal for Butler he tweeted this.
Hmmmmmm. NBA free agency. You have to love it. It's a sport in and of itself.