NBA Free Agency

NBA Free Agency: Heat jumping into Jimmy Butler race

The Miami Heat will meet with Jimmy Butler on Sunday, officially launching them into the sweepstakes to acquire the star guard.

The race to acquire star guard Jimmy Butler just gained another contestant — the Miami Heat.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Butler is expected to head to South Florida to meet with the Heat brass on Sunday, the day when free agency opens for business. The Heat have long been rumored to be in the hunt for Butler’s services, but this time, they’re facing some fierce competition.

The Houston Rockets are angling for the Philadelphia 76ers to do a sign-and-trade to land Butler, willing to give up Clint Capela and Eric Gordon just to bring him to Houston. The only way either the Heat and the Rockets can acquire Butler is through sign-and-trade, and it will be really interesting to see who would join in this delectable dance.

For the Heat, landing Butler would finally give Miami a star player they could build around. Butler is considered one of the best two-way players in the game, and he’ll instantly become “the man” in Miami to anchor a new era of Heat basketball.

For the Rockets, the front office is trying desperately to find a co-star for James Harden. The latest one to try to fill that role, Chris Paul, didn’t work out, and he’s reportedly demanded a trade from Houston. Even if the Rockets land Butler, head coach Mike D’antoni would have to find a way to make it work between him and Harden.

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Both are ball-dominate players, and Harden’s habit of playing one-on-one ball could cause some friction between him and Butler. That wouldn’t be a problem in South Beach, where, again, Butler would be the focal point of the post-Wade era on Miami.

Buckle up, this is going to be a bumpy ride.

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