Jimmy Butler is one of the many star players hitting free agency this summer, and his situation could get quite complicated. According to a report from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Butler is expected to meet with both the Miami Heat and Houston Rockets once free agency begins, despite the fact that neither team has the cap space to sign him to the type of contract he's looking for.
Sources: Jimmy Butler expected to meet the Miami Heat in South Fla. Sunday. Butler/Rockets meeting likely early week in LA. Sixers haven’t ruled out working with Butler on sign-and-trades, which Miami and Houston need to acquire the All-Star guard.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 29, 2019
Both teams would need the help of the Philadelphia 76ers to execute a sign-and-trade in order to acquire Butler, and according to Wojnarowski, the Sixers may be willing to work with them.
It seems likely that the Sixers would want to sign Butler themselves, but in the event that he informs them he either doesn't want to return, or isn't satisfied with the offer they give him, it could make sense for them to try and work out a sign-and-trade so they avoid losing him for nothing. Such a scenario would still be disappointing for the Sixers, though, after they gave up both Dario Saric and Robert Covington to get him in one of their two blockbuster trades last season.
Whatever ends up happening with Butler -- who still very well may just re-sign with the 76ers -- it seems like his situation will drag on longer than other stars. While the likes of Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker are expected to agree to deals right when free agency opens, Butler isn't even meeting with the Rockets until next week.
Plus, it's possible that Butler has interest in playing somewhere besides the Rockets, Heat or Sixers, and could wait to see how things shake out in the first few days of free agency. Though not good enough to lead a team by himself, Butler is an excellent complementary star, and could be a perfect addition to the likes of the Lakers, Clippers or Nets if any of those teams are looking for a second star.