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Emotional weekend for Jimmy Butler as Miami Heat travels to Chicago and Philadelphia

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The Heat will face Josh Richardson for first time in an opponent’s uniform.

NBA: Miami Heat at Minnesota Timberwolves Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat have a couple of meaningful games this weekend in more ways than one: first the Chicago Bulls in Chicago, and then the Philadelphia 76ers in Philly cheese town the next night.

Kendrick Nunn will perform before his family and friends as they watch him in his hometown playing as a member of the Heat. Of course Butler was a Chicago hero for many years, but this time he arrives in a Miami uniform. Meyers Leonard is a native of central Illinois from the farm town Robinson, Illinois, which shares the same name as the Heat’s own Duncan Robinson.

Before Leonard bulked up a little too much he was a nimble rim shot blocker (60 blocks as a sophomore) playing above the rim at the University of Illinois, where he was quoted as saying Dirk Nowitzki was his favorite athlete. The video below from Leonard’s lighter college days shows him making step-back jumpers, a la Dirk, and sporting better footwork than today’s version.

Next up on the schedule is the Heat’s long-awaited first matchup against Josh Richardson and the 76ers in the City of Brotherly Love: a strange sight indeed for Heat fans. That game is a last-minute addition to the NBATV schedule as Miami slowly becomes relevant again. The evening promises to have several intense emotional experiences on many layers. Incidentally both teams will be on the second night of a back-to-back set of games, though the 76ers won’t be traveling.

Another angle will be Joel Embiid facing off against his former teammate, but still good friend Jimmy Butler. Considering their bromance, imagine the shock waves if Miami’s big trade turns out to be Embiid arriving in South Beach. No way that’s happening during the “the process.” Right?