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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Do the Heat say yes?

At this point in the offseason, it is still difficult to imagine Butler being traded at all. He has been the best player in a Heat uniform since LeBron James. Last season, he led an eighth-seed Miami Heat squad to the NBA Finals. There should still be some hope that a Butler-led Heat team can pull off the unthinkable.

If extension talks reach an impasse or take a turn for the worse, then it could be time to get serious about trading Butler. This trade with the Spurs probably isn’t the first thing Miami would be looking for. Ideally, the Heat would receive a star in return for Butler. However, there is some leverage involved with trading for players with expiring contracts.

One of the factors involved in this trade is that Butler would be shipped to the Western Conference. There is a plus side to knowing that if the Heat trade Butler, they would not have to worry about making their Eastern Conference rivals stronger and possibly facing him on the road to the Finals.

This trade would make the Heat worse overall, but it does solve some of their issues, such as having a reliable backup center who can make plays. The first-round picks could also be traded for other assets if the Heat elect not to keep them.

Final Trade Grade: B

Although the article argues that the Heat were nowhere near contention this season, one could argue that winning a couple more key games this season would have put the Heat in the sixth spot in the East, which is where the Indiana Pacers ended up this season. The Pacers reached the Eastern Conference Finals before falling to the Boston Celtics in four games. The Heat have to believe that with a healthy Jimmy Butler, they would have achieved just as much as the Pacers in their situation, if not more.

Trading Butler for young players would signal a rebuild, which is not something the Heat do. However, if they could flip those young players for better talent, that could be worth it if Butler decides to force his way out of Miami. Butler’s situation in Miami is safe for now, but that could change depending on how talks go this summer.