What would it take for the Knicks to pull off an unprecedented trade for Heat’s Jimmy Butler?

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) reacts after a basket against the New York Knicks during the first half at Madison Square Garden
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Butler’s name has surfaced as a shot-in-the-dark trade candidate for the New York Knicks with the Feb. 8 trade deadline one week away. Even though the Miami Heat are happy with Butler as their franchise player, and Butler has found a home where he fits in culturally, the possibility of him being traded has opened up.

NBA Central shared the odds on favorites to land Butler in a trade should Pat Riley and the Heat front office opt to deal him via Twitter. The Knicks lead the pack with +210 odds:

While the No. 7 seeded Heat are 25-23 this season, that does not necessarily indicate that they’re a step or two behind as contenders in the Eastern Conference. After all, they advanced to the 2023 NBA Finals as the No. 8 seed a season ago.

Further, Butler has been the foundation of the Heat’s identity on both ends of the floor and is one of the best players in the league in upping his play from the regular season to the playoffs.

Knicks’ draft capital and young talent could persuade the Heat to trade Jimmy Butler

Nevertheless, whispers have arisen that Miami could deal the reigning All-NBA Second Team member and the Knicks have the pieces to make a push for him.

In addition to having six first-round picks between the 2024 and 2025 NBA Drafts, the Knicks can also offer players such as Quentin Grimes, Josh Hart, and Evan Fournier, while Mitchell Robinson has not been labeled untouchable despite his dominant season on the glass.

Butler fits the on-court identity that the Knicks have established this year

Butler would fit perfectly with a gritty Knicks team that plays a slower yet efficient brand of basketball. Should they be able to retain their star core of Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle in bringing Butler on board, they’d be looked at as a formidable force out East.

Odds also favor the Philadelphia 76ers, who came just behind the Knicks at +225. Butler’s history playing with Joel Embiid in Philadelphia during the 2018-19 season formed a friendship and respect that could play an underlying role in his return to the 76ers. The Knicks have several players on their radar as the deadline fast approaches. If Butler indeed becomes available, putting the bulk of their most enticing chips on the table will be worth it to bring him on board.

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