Jimmy Butler Reportedly Wanted James Harden to Join Miami Heat After Leaving Houston Rockets

Published 03/06/2021, 11:30 AM EST
Feb 13, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (13) talks with forward Kevin Durant (7) during a free throw attempt by the Nets against the Golden State Warriors in the third quarter at the Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports


James Harden joining the Brooklyn Nets is still the biggest story of the 2020-21 NBA season. Harden completed the move after he became unsettled with a sub-par Houston Rockets team. The shooting guard is now enjoying his time in Brooklyn, but things could’ve panned out differently for the 31-year-old. 

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James Harden and the Brooklyn Nets seem like a match made in heaven. Harden’s arrival has bolstered the Nets’ attack, and they’re now towering favorites to win the championship. 

It is no secret that Harden transforms any franchise into a winning team. He is yet another offensive piece in Brooklyn, but how would things look if he had joined the Miami Heat. In fact, ‘The Beard’ was close to teaming up with Jimmy Butler, but the move unfortunately took a hit. 

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Miami Heat were ready to welcome James Harden into the team

Look away, Heat fans. This news might be agonizing, to say the least. Imagine the Heat equipped with a player like James Harden on the offense. They do have talented scorers, but a Butler-Harden pairing would’ve been incredibly special!

Now we aren’t making this up out of nowhere. James Harden was close to joining the Heat, but the Nets came calling early. According to Bleacher Report’s Farbod Esnaashari, Miami was the frontrunner to sign Harden when the latter initially began forcing an exit from Houston.

“As Harden delayed his arrival to training camp in December, the Heat became the front-runner for him. Harden’s main preference was—and always was—the Nets, but he had no problem going to Miami. Jimmy Butler had even OK’d the trade, according to a league source,” Esnaashari wrote in his report.

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Mar 1, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (13) dribbles in the second half against the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

But there was a reason why the move broke down. While Miami was ready to offer Andre Iguodala, Kelly Olynyk, two younger players, and a future draft pick, Houston demanded Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and Kendrick Nunn in place of Iguodala and Olynyk. 

The Heat just weren’t willing to part with two of their brightest shooters and declined to move further. It just seems like the right decision in hindsight, as they would’ve given up too many assets in return for one player. 

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Arjun Athreya

1825 articles

Arjun Athreya is a senior writer at Essentially Sports and has been contributing since early 2020. Having developed an avid interest in sports at an early age, he pursued a Journalism degree and graduated from Madras Christian College. Arjun manages the Golf division and its content, and primarily covers news pertaining to the NBA as well.

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