Knicks deal All-Star forward for Jimmy Butler in recent mock trade scenario

Mar 29, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) controls the ball against Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks have been named as a potential trade destination for Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler in the upcoming offseason, and a recent mock trade centered around All-Star Julius Randle brings Butler to the Big Apple in 2024-25.

Stephen Noh of The Sporting News identified the Knicks among three teams that have need of Butler’s production as well as the pieces to entice Heat president Pat Riley to get a deal done (h/t Heavy Sports’ Collin Loring).

Knicks trade with Heat and Pistons in three-team deal for Jimmy Butler

Jan 27, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) reacts after a basket against the New York Knicks during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Noh proposed a three-team deal that would move Randle to Miami along with three first-round picks and a second-rounder in exchange for Butler. New York would also send Bojan Bogdanovic back to the Detroit Pistons.

How the Knicks would benefit from having Jimmy Butler

Butler elevates his play in the postseason year after year. He finishes regular seasons as an All-Star and All-NBA-worthy talent and finds ways to win in the playoffs while looking like a legitimate league MVP. The Knicks would greatly benefit from having the two-way star next to All-Star Jalen Brunson next season and beyond.

Does the move make sense for the Knicks & would the Heat agree?

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks are having their best season in over a decade, but still have some question marks to address before being looked at as championship favorites. Their current second-round predicament against the Indiana Pacers is a telltale sign that a player of Butler’s ilk could remedy the issues that led to Indiana storming back to tie the series before the Knicks’ win on Tuesday night put them up 3-2.

Giving up Randle and Bogdanovic would not hurt the Knicks, as Butler’s clutch factor in the playoffs supersedes Randle’s history of struggles, while Bogdanovic did not find his rhythm with the team this season. The Knicks would also still have five more first-round picks until 2027.

Butler is under contract until 2024-25 and has a $52.4 million player option for the 2025-26 campaign. Randle and Bogdanovic’s combined $49.3 million relinquished salaries free up enough space for Butler on the Knicks’ books and is an almost perfect match for his $48.79 million due to him next year.

The three future draft picks give Riley and the Heat much to work with in a likely re-tool around Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo, should Butler be moved. The Knicks would get a big-time closer and a leader that is familiar with head coach Tom Thibodeau. With him in a Knicks uniform, New York would be even better positioned to win the Larry O’Brien trophy next year.

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