Jimmy Butler was widely viewed as having ascended to superstar status after he took the Miami Heat to the NBA Finals during the 2019-20 postseason. Even this regular season, Jimmy Butler had a fairly solid statistical season, averaging 21.5 PPG, 6.9 RPG, and 7.1 APG. Those are solid numbers that suggest Jimmy Butler contributed everywhere on the court.
However, despite his solid regular season, Jimmy Butler didn't have a good playoff run. The Miami Heat were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Milwaukee Bucks, who they defeated on the way to the Finals last season. Jimmy Butler's numbers dropped drastically from the regular season. He averaged 14.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG, and 7.0 APG while shooting 29.7% from the field and 26.7% from the 3PT range during the 4 games against the Bucks.
Arthur Hill off Hoops Rumors has detailed what the Miami Heat's plans this offseason may look like. Hill mentions that Jimmy Butler's extension will be a big decision for the Miami Heat, as Butler's extension. It is also suggested that the Miami Heat could potentially make a run at other players in free agency.
The Heat are coming up on an important decision regarding Butler, who will be eligible for a four-year extension worth $181MM, Marks adds in the same story. Butler was outstanding during the regular season, but wasn’t as effective in the playoffs, and Miami will have to determine whether he’s worth that investment with his 32nd birthday coming up in September.
There may not be a realistic Plan B for team president Pat Riley now that Antetokounmpo has committed to Milwaukee, contends Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. The two-time MVP dismantled Miami in the playoffs and showed why he would have been such a great addition. Winderman suggests the alternative is to hope Kawhi Leonard becomes available if the Clippers lose in the first round or to possibly make another run at Kyle Lowry.
The potential for Kawhi Leonard to join the Miami Heat is there, though it hinges on Kawhi Leonard being eliminated in the first round. The Los Angeles Clippers and the Dallas Mavericks are currently tied 2-2 in their series, and the Clippers have regained the momentum in the series. It is hard to see Kawhi Leonard get eliminated in the first round, especially considering Luka Doncic's injury.
If the Miami Heat decide not to extend Jimmy Butler, then they could potentially trade him. The Los Angeles Lakers would be a solid trade partner. Here is a trade scenario that involves Jimmy Butler moving to Los Angeles in exchange for four players.
Los Angeles Lakers Receive: Jimmy Butler
Miami Heat Receive: Talen Horton-Tucker (sign and trade), Alex Caruso (sign and trade), Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
This may be a lot for the Los Angeles Lakers to offer for a star that severely underperformed during the playoffs. Talen Horton-Tucker is a solid talent who could yet grow into a great player and Alex Caruso will likely want a payday that the Los Angeles Lakers cannot afford. Both are unlikely to stay with the Los Angeles Lakers past this offseason. Kyle Kuzma is a solid player and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a great shooter. However, both would be expendable if it meant acquiring a star of Jimmy Butler's caliber.
Having a star who led his team to the NBA Finals be a third option to a championship-caliber duo in LeBron James and Anthony Davis would be insane. James and Davis would lessen the offensive load on Butler and would give him a real chance of winning a championship. Jimmy Butler could in turn be a huge factor on the defensive end, while also thriving due to the gravity possessed by the other two superstars.
There is no doubt that Jimmy Butler would be a great third star on the Los Angeles Lakers. While him moving to the Los Angeles Lakers would be contingent on a variety of factors, there is no doubt that a big three of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Jimmy Butler would be dominant in the Western Conference.