Jimmy Butler leaves 76ers for Heat in four-year, $142 million deal

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Jimmy Butler has agreed to a sign-and-trade deal that will allow him to ink a four-year pact with the Miami Heat for a maximum contract of $142 million, a person familiar with the negotiations told USA TODAY Sports.

They were granted anonymity because terms of the deal will not be final until July 6, when the NBA’s moratorium period ends.

The Heat will have to send wing Josh Richardson to the Philadelphia 76ers, as well as other assets potentially, in order to get the deal done.

The move gives Miami the star presence it has lacked since the breakup of the LeBron James-Dwyane Wade-Chris Bosh core. The Heat have been treading water the last five seasons, with two playoff appearances as Pat Riley has refused to fully embrace a rebuild.

Miami seems to be betting on Butler’s acquisition attracting more free agents in 2020 when the Heat will be able to clear significant salary cap space.

With the 76ers re-signing Tobias Harris to a five-year, $180 million contract earlier Sunday, it became clear Butler would be headed elsewhere.

The Sixers acquired Butler from Minnesota early last season, and he was crucial to Philadelphia’s success, especially as a late-game performer who created offense and defended.

He brings intensity to the court and locker room, and teammates better be ready to play as hard as Butler.

He averaged 18.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and four assists and shot 46.2% from the field last season. He didn’t have a great 3-point shooting percentage in the playoffs for the Sixers, but he increased his scoring, rebounding and assists production as Philadelphia came close to beating Toronto in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

By getting back Josh Richardson in a sign-and-trade, Philadelphia will add a strong two-way wing at just over $10 million for next season who is nearly 37 percent for his career from the 3-point line.

Philadelphia rebounded nicely from the loss of Butler to Miami and J.J. Redick to New Orleans. The Sixers will bring back Harris, and they reached a deal with center-forward Al Horford.

That gives Philadelphia an intriguing starting lineup: Ben Simmons, Richardson, Harris, Horford and Joel Embiid.

Contributing: Jeff Zillgitt

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