2 "mystery teams" in on Jimmy Butler, could the Denver Nuggets be one?

Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers - Play-In Tournament
Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers - Play-In Tournament / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

Over the past few years, Jimmy Butler has become nearly synonymous with the Miami Heat. But it seems he may have started to wear out his welcome in Miami. The team floundered this season to an 8 seed with Butler in and out of the lineup and then he was unable to play in the playoffs as the Heat were bounced in 5 games by the Celtics in round one due to injury.

After the series, Butler was seen on video, boasting that if he was playing, the Celtics and Knicks would be at home (both teams were still alive in the playoffs at the time). Shortly after, Pat Riley gave his end-of-year exit interview and basically said that Butler (and players who aren’t able to play) should keep their mouths shut.

Riley stated that the team would not trade Butler, but where there is smoke there is fire and there is lots of smoke coming out of Miami. The team allegedly wants to get younger and build on a timeline that fits around Bam Adebayo. They also may be queasy at the thought of giving a 34-year-old Butler a maximum extension when he already struggles to stay on the court.

Will the Heat actually trade Jimmy Butler?

If the Heat are willing to entertain trade offers for the superstar, the assumption would be that any team acquiring Butler would offer him a max contract extension and aim to contend for titles over the next few years. That would seem to leave a short list of teams that would make sense as destinations for Butler.

But Keith Pompey of the Philly Inquirer has already reported that the 76ers would be interested in bringing Butler back to Philadelphia and they’d happily pay him as they view him as a “missing piece” in their championship puzzle.

Could the Nuggets make a play for Butler?

But now Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald is reporting that there are two “mystery teams” that are willing to trade for Butler and give him a full max contract extension. While we don’t know which two teams Chiang is referring to, but the Nuggets could make some sense if they are willing to foot the bill.

The Nuggets are a perfect example of a team that is ready to contend immediately and has a short window with Nikola Jokic entering his year 30 season. Nobody knows how many prime seasons the Joker has left, so an all-in move to add a proven playoff star shouldn’t be out of the question.

It would go against what Calvin Booth said last offseason about being patient and building a dynasty, but after this year’s disappointing loss in the playoffs, it might be time to take a more urgent approach. Slotting Butler in between Jamal Murray and Jokic would immediately vault the Nuggets to title favorites in the NBA next season, but it would be an incredibly expensive endeavor and one that the Nuggets’ front office and ownership may not be willing to make.