Grade the Trade: Heat give up Jimmy Butler in multi-team for new star

Jimmy Butler's time with the Miami Heat might be up. Does getting Donovan Mitchell still make sense?
Cleveland Cavaliers v Miami Heat
Cleveland Cavaliers v Miami Heat / Rich Storry/GettyImages
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There may be a Jimmy Butler dilemma in South Beach. He's arguably one of the top three players in Heat history—up there with Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Alonzo Mourning. Many originations would pay their franchise pillars big money at an older age—see Kobe Bryant at the late stages of his Lakers career—but the Heat have been known to do the opposite. 

The great Dwyane Wade fell victim to the Heat's 'What have you done for me lately'  business model. Wade wanted big bucks at age 34 in 2016, and Pat Riley said no, sir, you'll take what we'll give you, basically. Wade went on to the Bulls that offseason over the financial disagreement; could Jimmy Butler suffer the same fate?

Riley claims he wants to win with Butler on the roster, but he might not be comfortable paying Butler a two-year, $113 million max extension when the Heat struggle to make it out of the play-in tournament annually. Butler has been playing about 58 games yearly since arriving in Miami. You can't formulate good habits with your best player playing that little. Contrary to the improbable runs, you must take the regular season seriously to have true postseason success.

If no agreement is reached, a trade may be inevitable. Eric Pincus from Bleacher Report suggests a rare four-team trade that is beneficial from all angles.

Heat gets fresher with younger stars 

Heat get:
Donovan Mitchell (via Cavaliers)
Kyle Kuzma (via Wizards)
$13.4 million trade exception (Jimmy Butler)
$2.5 million trade exception (Nikola Jović)
$2.3 million trade exception (Tyler Herro)

Cavaliers get:
Tyler Herro (via Heat)
No. 15 pick (via Heat)
2026 Phoenix Suns second-round pick (via Wizards)
2028 LA Clippers first-round pick (via 76ers)
2030 first-round pick (via Heat)
$6.4 million trade exception (Mitchell)
$2.6 million trade exception (Ty Jerome)

Sixers get:
Jimmy Butler (via Heat)

Wizards get:
Paul Reed Jr. (via 76ers)
Nikola Jović (via Heat)
Ty Jerome (via Cavaliers)
No. 16 pick (via 76ers)
2026 (TBD) first-round pick (via 76ers)
$23.5 million trade exception (Kuzma)

Why would any of these teams do this trade? Let's dive in.