Miami Heat: Here’s why a Jimmy Butler signing is very unlikely

Dwyane Wade Jimmy Butler (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Dwyane Wade Jimmy Butler (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Miami Heat are a traditional free agent destination. While Jimmy Butler opted out of his deal with Philadelphia, signing with the Heat is still unlikely.

According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Jimmy Butler will decline his final year option with the Philadelphia 76’ers for $19.8 million and become a free agent. While Butler is probably looking at a max free agent deal in the neighborhood of $140 million dollars total, he has still shown an interest in the Miami Heat. This is no more apparent than in this tweet from Miami Heat insider, Tim Reynolds.

Yes, there is a mutual interest between the enigmatic swingman and the Miami Heat. The last part of the tweet is the more intriguingly pertinent part of the equation though. Where on Earth would the Heat get the cap space to make such a deal happen?

The fact of the matter is that they probably can’t. With Goran Dragic choosing to pick up his player option earlier this week, and all under the more than likely assumption that Hassan Whiteside picks up his player option, the Miami Heat would be at a total salary cap number of around $140 million. To give an idea of how much over the cap they might be next season already, the salary cap for this past season was set at $109 million.

To put it in complete perspective, the Miami Heat would need to clear around $70 million dollars in cap space just to make a deal such as this one occur. That is very unlikely considering the caliber of players they currently have on the roster and the contract numbers attached to said players.

The Heat could save somewhere between $5-$6 million dollars if they chose to waive Ryan Anderson prior to July 10th, which they probably will consider. They could even save closer to $15 million if they choose to waive Anderson using the stretch provision. Neither of those options however, would get them in the $32 million dollar neighborhood that it would take to sign a player like Butler to a max deal.

With all salaries guaranteed except those of Derrick Jones Jr. and Bam Adebayo, that total just over $5 million dollars together, the Miami Heat would have to do some major cap gymnastics to make that signing happen. Team President Pat Riley has pulled off miracles before, but this would be something like his turning water into wine moment if he were ever to be able to pull off a feat of this magnitude.

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The last resort, or only option in this case, would be to hope for Butler to push for some sort of sign and trade type of agreement. Other than that though, this is why Jimmy Butler signing with the Miami Heat is very unlikely at this current juncture.