Grade the Trade: Heat deal star to Spurs to pair with Wembanyama

Does Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler make sense as a trade target for the Spurs to speed up their timeline around Victor Wembanyama?
Miami Heat v San Antonio Spurs
Miami Heat v San Antonio Spurs / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages
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Why the Spurs and Heat would do it

The article argues that while the Spurs have the motive to tank to possibly draft Cooper Flagg or Ace Bailey, there would be interest in pairing a star with Victor Wembanyama as soon as possible. Wemby is already too good to truly tank, and he will only improve. Acquiring Butler could immediately put them in win-now mode.

Even in a stacked Western Conference, pairing Wembanyama with Butler would immediately put the Spurs in playoff contention, as long as they have a decent supporting cast. Butler and Wemby would be one of the best two-way duos in the NBA. With Butler aging and losing some of his explosiveness, he would have the perfect young costar to defer to. Butler’s playmaking ability would shine. Meanwhile, Wembanyama would have the benefit of playing with one of the best closers in basketball. With both players also seeing improvements in the jump shots over the course of last season, it is difficult to imagine how opposing teams would be able to defend the duo without sending a series of double teams.

For the Heat, in addition to the complications previously described, the article argues that the Heat were nowhere near contention this past season. With an aging Butler, it might be wise for the Heat to trade for players who fit more closely with the timeline of players like Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Tyler Herro.

Keldon Johnson is already a well-established young player in the NBA. He is easily the best asset in this trade. At his best, Johnson is a 20-point-per-game scorer, which would give Miami an important offensive boost after trading away their leading scorer. Sohan is a solid young player who has shown flashes of potential. The Heat have been known to get the most out of their players, so there is a good chance the Heat could unlock something in Sohan that we haven’t seen from him yet. Collins is a very skilled big man who could finally be the backup center the Heat have been hoping for all along.