Miami Heat, The Whiteboard

The Whiteboard: Not getting Jimmy Butler really hurt the Miami Heat

The Miami Heat refused to overpay for Jimmy Butler, but maybe being more aggressive would’ve been good for Miami.

The Miami Heat very nearly traded for Jimmy Butler before the star guard ended up with the Philadelphia 76ers. Multiple reports came out that Miami and the Minnesota Timberwolves were on the precipice of making a deal before Minnesota asked for more, and talks fell apart.

At the time the Heat had some high ground to stand on. There weren’t many other reported suitors, and it felt like the Wolves absolutely had to make a deal. Maybe they did, but they found one soon enough with Philly, and the Heat lost out. That whole scenario is especially tough for Miami fans right now, seeing as the Heat is missing the star it needs so badly.

The Heat is 9-14, bad enough for 10th in the East. Miami’s winning percentage is .391, making the Heat one of just seven teams in the NBA to win less than 40 percent of its games. The prestigious franchise finds itself in the company of the Nets, Knicks, Cavaliers, Hawks, Bulls and Suns.

Without exception, all of those franchises expected to tank this season. Those teams feature young players, cap space, expiring contracts, or a way to get all of those things. Miami, on the other hand, already has $121 million in guaranteed contracts for next season. All of that money, and no surefire star.

The Heat also does not have many draft picks, with one first and a shocking five second-rounders all owed over the next six seasons. Miami’s one shortcut to avoid waiting to pay out all of those deals and get their draft picks back for a conventional rebuild was finding a star and then using the South Beach allure to add a second one.

Butler very well could’ve been that first piece. Whether it was right or not, cutting off talks and refusing to meet the raised asking price caused Miami to lose out on adding that first star, and now the Heat will have to desperately hope another top tier player shakes loose soon.

It cannot be one of the best few players, though, as the price will doubtlessly be higher than Miami can afford. If Anthony Davis ever actually forces his way out of New Orleans, for example, teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics can easily outbid Miami, and they have stars already in tow.

Pat Riley and the Heat always seem to figure something out, but the near future is not looking bright right at the moment. Miami needs a star, and it needs one badly.

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