Grade the Trade: Cleveland Cavaliers win Miami Heat sweepstakes sizzling proposal

The Jimmy Butler era in Miami may end sooner than expected, and the Cleveland Cavaliers could come out on top.
Cleveland Cavaliers v Miami Heat
Cleveland Cavaliers v Miami Heat / Rich Storry/GettyImages
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No NBA offseason goes by without a wealth of drama, and both the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers find themselves at the center of it all.

While Cleveland's front office tries to deflect their desperate need to shift their core after three years of stagnating Evan Mobley's development, the Miami Heat are navigating treacherous waters with six-time All-Star Jimmy Butler entering the trade rumor mill after some harsh words at the Heat's end-of-season press conference. Butler watched from the sidelines with an injury as the Heat went cold in the first round of the playoffs against the Boston Celtics. Following the exit, Butler said that he would have led the team to victory if he could have played. Team owner Pat Riley barked back, and the unexpected feud has sparked rumors regarding Butler's future in Florida.

Since arriving in Miami, Butler has defined the famed Miami Heat Culture, leading the team to two unlikely runs to the NBA Finals. Along the way, Butler and the Heat have slain some of the most feared competitors in the East, including Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks and the Celtics. With a respected history of playoff excellence, Butler reportedly seeks a $113 million extension with the Heat, but the franchise seems hesitant to commit to the aging star.

Why the Cavaliers could target Jimmy Butler

Since Donovan Mitchell's plane first took off from Utah to Cleveland, rumors have swirled that he would force his way out of the Cavs in favor of a bigger market. One team with reported interest every time has been the Heat. Miami has searched for a third star to place alongside Butler and Bam Adebayo to no avail, missing out on Damian Lillard last offseason.

Should Butler's relationship with Riley and the Heat fracture, the Cavaliers could be in a position to flip the narrative upside down and add Miami's star to their ranks instead. If the Cavs hope to compete for a championship with Mitchell leading the way, they cannot sit idly by and hope that the perfect star lands in their lap for free. Until they commit fully to Mobley in the frontcourt, they will face redundancy issues and fail to reach their potential. Building a core around Mitchell, Butler and Mobley can maximize each player's value and return the Cavaliers to the top of the league's defensive standards.

Committing to a Butler trade means committing a max extension to the 34-year-old star, though, meaning the Cavaliers would have to be fully confident in their willingness to go all-in to win now.

Building a framework for Butler's $46 million salary next season is not as straight forward as the proposed one-for-one swap of Darius Garland and Brandon Ingram, but the Cavaliers could still easily offer Miami an enticing deal.