Jimmy Butler is finally, officially headed to Miami after an extremely complicated trade that grew larger on Monday after the Dallas Mavericks had a change of heart about acquiring Goran Dragic. While it was never in doubt that Butler would end up in Miami after his intentions were announced, there were a lot of questions worth answering about why he decided to leave Philadelphia.
Considering that the Sixers immediately agreed to sign Al Horford away from Boston shortly after the news of Butler’s departure broke, there was some speculation that the team had not fully intended to keep Butler with the max contract they were able to.
But despite a number of indicators that Butler enjoyed his time in Philadelphia and was willing to stay with the team, it doesn’t appear the Sixers actually did anything wrong in their pursuit of re-signing the enigmatic guard. Rather, it seems that Butler wanted to move on.
According to a report from NBC’s Tom Haberstroh, Butler did, indeed, get a max contract offer from the Sixers before he was ultimately dealt to Miami in a sign-and-trade.
Butler’s trip to Miami was not a leverage play. A source close to the situation says Butler was indeed offered the five-year, $190 million full max from Philly, but Butler wanted to move on. And perhaps the Sixers put the offer on the table with the understanding that Butler wouldn’t take it.
Even if the Sixers deeply wanted Butler back, both sides can confidently say they’re in better places now. With a $141 million deal in hand, Butler will spend his early 30s in South Florida under Erik Spoelstra and Pat Riley, two gym rats who seem to mirror Butler’s basketball DNA.
It doesn’t answer the question of why Butler decided to play elsewhere, but it will make Sixers fans feel at least a bit better about what went down. Unlike the Hornets, who almost certainly did not offer Kemba Walker a supermax deal before he split for Boston, the Sixers did everything they could. It just wasn’t enough to convince Butler to stay in Philly and run it back with Simmons, Embiid and Co.
Butler was offered the full bag, he just decided he wanted to take it elsewhere.