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Why a Jimmy Butler for Ben Simmons swap could make sense for Miami Heat

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Trading Butler for Simmons seems far fetched at first, but could pay dividends later on.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat have been linked to Bradley Beal, Damian Lillard and the like. However trade rumors involving the Heat recently added a new name, Ben Simmons. A piece titled “Surprising East contender reportedly joins Simmons trade race” doesn’t think that’s a good idea.

“But The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported in a new story Wednesday morning that he’s heard from a source close to the situation that a new and unexpected team is also in the fray:

“While Portland’s Damian Lillard and Washington’s Bradley Beal both appear to be in their respective holding patterns when it comes to possibly requesting a trade, it’s looking increasingly likely that Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons will be on the move. One source close to the situation handicapped Miami, Toronto and Washington as the most likely landing spots.”

The article goes on to totally trash any possible scenario of the trade as a good one.

“Unless the Heat are planning on sending Butler back to the Sixers in a Simmons deal - something I would be opposed to in almost every way imaginable - I don’t understand what Miami’s brass is thinking. From a basketball standpoint, does Simmons fit? Sure. He fits their hard-nosed defense, he fits in that he’d be able to distribute the ball to a bunch of fascinating weapons all over the floor, etc. That all makes sense. But from a team-building standpoint, Simmons doesn’t put the Heat any closer to a title - and unless Butler is headed out, he clashes in a big way with their culture leader.”

While some Heat fans consider Simmons punchable, two factors stand out on why there may be interest in pairing Simmons up with Bam Adebayo: age and salary.

Simmons is 25 years old, while Adebayo is 24. Simmons has four years left on his contract, while Adebayo has 5 years remaining. In other words Heat would have two All-Star players under contract in their prime for a minimum of four years.

The question of fit arises since both aren’t outside threats up to now. That’s where Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson come in. Both would help space the floor for the Heat. Age again matters as Robinson is 27 and Herro is 21. The foursome have similar timelines and could keep Miami in contention for years to come.

The Heat would flip from being an aging team to one featuring players in their 20’s. A Simmons trade would essentially be about maximizing the scoring potential of Adebayo and Herro with someone who would be able to feed them the ball. Having a core of young players with untapped potential might worth the risk of having the team mesh as a unit.

Simmons in South Beach seems ludicrous at first. Yet where there’s smoke there’s fire, so something might be brewing. The prospect of having two dynamic All-Stars perform in FTX Arena could be a marketing coup for the franchise. And possibly an attraction for another All-Star to join them to make a threesome. But then Herro may blossom into that third star under the right conditions.