Former Chicago Bulls: Giannis joining Butler in Miami would be treacherous

Jimmy Butler, Giannis Antetokounmpo Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Jimmy Butler, Giannis Antetokounmpo Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

It would not be fair to the likes of the Chicago Bulls, or anyone else in the East, if Jimmy Butler and Giannis Antetokounmpo joined forces in Miami.

It’s hard to imagine a world where former Chicago Bulls star shooting guard/small forward Jimmy Butler was able to team up with the back-to-back NBA MVP and Milwaukee Bucks superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo in the near future. Butler and Giannis were arguably the two best players in the Eastern Conference between the regular season and playoffs during the 2019-20 season.

In fact, Giannis and Butler were the two win shares leaders in the East during the 2019-20 regular season. It just so happened that Giannis started dealing with more lower-body injury issues in the playoffs and his top-seeded Bucks really waned when it mattered most in the postseason. Giannis and the one-seed Bucks were upset in a steamrolling at the hands of the five-seed Heat in a five game series in the second round of the playoffs in the East.

With how quickly the Bucks were ousted in the playoffs in the season that was, the questions started to surface again about his future in the Cream City. Giannis is set to be an unrestricted free agent next offseason, so there is a chance that the Bucks might want to trade him to get more value in return if he’s planning on leaving next offseason anyway.

And one potential destination for Giannis, that was discussed by ESPN’s NBA insider Brian Windhorst this week, was the Heat. He made it sound like there is a shot that first-time All-Star center Bam Adebayo would have the chance to recruit Giannis to South Beach to link up with him and Butler.

That would be a really lethal trio that would be the best in Miami since LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, commanded the league for much of the early 2010’s. But this is all but speculation at this point. Although it does seem like there is a lot of steam backing this move from various voices among fans on social media.

Not to say that there’s concrete evidence that Giannis will link up with the former Bulls star “Jimmy G. Buckets” in South Beach within the next year, but the thought of the devastation on the rest of the East in this scenario is mind-boggling. The Heat were already the surprise team in the East that ran through that side of the playoff bracket with only three losses.

If they were able to get Giannis to join the likes of Butler, Bam, rookie guard Tyler Herro, breakthrough wing Duncan Robinson, etc., they could be the best team in the East for a while. That would not be good news for any team that is rebuilding, like that of the Bulls under the direction of the newly hired Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley.

But the latest betting line from Odds Shark as to where Giannis will land next (last updated last month) does actually have the Heat as the favorite. That list had the Toronto Raptors, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks, and then the Philadelphia 76ers, to round out the top five (in order from top-to-bottom behind the Heat).

The Heat do already have a very bright future under the direction of head coach Erik Spoelstra and the legendary Pat Riley. They’re already in good position to contend in the East for a long time, and if they could get a world class young talent like Giannis to South Beach, it wouldn’t be fair for the rest of the East.

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While it was nice, from a Bulls fan perspective, to see Butler make the run in the East in the bubble at Disney World that he did with the Heat in the playoffs this year, we shouldn’t really be rooting for Giannis to land in South Beach. That would completely upset any parity that might be present in an already shallow East for a long time.