3 Trades the Miami Heat can make to jump-start their rebuild

If the Miami Heat can't land a superstar this summer, they should create the flexibility they need to make that trade in the future.
Miami Heat v Detroit Pistons
Miami Heat v Detroit Pistons / Nic Antaya/GettyImages
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Jimmy Butler to Houston


The financial benefit of Butler deciding not to seek a contract extension this summer is that it creates a path to cap space next summer if Butler declines his player option and the Heat decide not to bring him back.

It’s similar to Paul George’s situation with the Clippers, who decided not to bring back George on a long-term deal because they valued the financial flexibility. 

The Heat letting Butler walk next summer could create $30 million in cap space – enough to retool around Adebayo, who signed a contract extension this summer that keeps in Miami through 2029.

The problem with that scenario is that Miami, like the Clippers did with George, would lose its star player for nothing. Scanning the league for trades that could bring back assets without sacrificing the chance to create meaningful cap space, I landed on the Houston Rockets.

The Rockets were rumored to be interested in trading for Butler before making it clear in their dealings that they prefer to pounce on either Kevin Durant or Devin Booker if the Phoenix Suns situation goes South. But offering Butler for Fred VanVleet and a pair of future first-round picks (not the Suns’ picks) could be too good of a deal for the Rockets to pass up.

For the Heat, getting back VanVleet helps them in the short-term while maintaining the chance to create major cap space next summer, when they can decline VanVleet’s $44.8 million team option.

So the Heat essentially get the same cap flexibility while also adding more draft capital – but they do punt on this season.