MIAMI, July 6 – The Miami HEAT announced today that they have acquired All-Star forward Jimmy Butler from the Philadelphia 76ers, Meyers Leonard from the Portland Trail Blazers and cash considerations from the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Josh Richardson, Hassan Whiteside and a conditionally protected future first round pick. To complete the four-team trade, Philadelphia received Josh Richardson, Portland received Hassan Whiteside and the Clippers received Moe Harkless from Portland, the draft rights to Mathias Lessort from Philadelphia and the conditionally protected future first round pick from Miami.
“We are thrilled to acquire Jimmy Butler and Meyers Leonard,” said HEAT President Pat Riley. “They are both players who fit the mold of HEAT culture perfectly. Jimmy’s leadership, tenacity, professionalism, defensive disposition and his ability to create his own shot will improve our roster immediately. Any time you can add a four-time All-Star to your roster, you make that move. Meyers is a versatile big, a great shooter, can play inside and block shots. The addition of both men puts us in a great position to win, and we welcome them to the Miami HEAT organization.”
Butler split last season between Minnesota and Philadelphia, appearing in 65 games (all starts) averaging 18.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.89 steals and 33.6 minutes while shooting 46.2 percent from the field, 34.7 percent from three-point range and 85.5 percent from the foul line. The only other players in the NBA to average at least that many points, rebounds, assists and steals last season were James Harden, Paul George and Russell Westbrook. Among league leaders, he finished fifth in steals per game, fifth in steals-to-turnover ratio (1.30) and tied for ninth in total steals (123). He scored over 1,000 points for the fifth-straight season and recorded at least 100 steals for the sixth consecutive season. Despite playing in just 55 games with the Sixers, he finished second on the team in total steals (99) and free throws made (264), third in rebounds (290) and fourth in points (1,002), assists (220), blocks (29) and field goals made (344). Butler, a two-time All-NBA Third Team and four-time All-NBA Defensive Second Team member, has made the playoffs in seven of his eight seasons, finishing with 217 points this past postseason with the 76ers, marking the second time in his career he has eclipsed the 200-point mark. He posted five-straight 20-point playoff games from April 29 through May 9, becoming the last player to accomplish the feat with the Sixers since Allen Iverson in 2003. Additionally, his 86.8 percent shooting from the foul line with Philadelphia marked as his highest with any team in his career while also connecting on a career-best 36 straight from January 29 through February 13.
Leonard, who has played all seven seasons with Portland, appeared in 61 games (two starts) with the Trail Blazers last season averaging 5.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 14.4 minutes of action while shooting 54.5 percent from the field, a career-high 45 percent from three-point range and 84.3 percent from the foul line. He led the team in three-point field goal percentage and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds vs. the Los Angeles Clippers on November 25. He appeared in 11 playoff games last season and scored a postseason career-high 30 points in a start against the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals while also grabbing a team-high 12 rebounds.
Richardson, who was drafted by the HEAT in the second round (40th overall) in the 2015 NBA Draft, spent four seasons in Miami, appearing in 259 games (190 starts) averaging 12.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.14 steals and 30.7 minutes while shooting 42.5 percent from the floor, 36.8 percent from three-point range and 82.1 percent from the line. Whiteside, who was originally signed by the HEAT on November 24, 2014, spent five seasons in Miami, appearing in 324 games (259 starts) averaging 14.1 points, 11.9 rebounds, 2.42 blocks and 27.2 minutes while shooting 57.5 percent from the field.