MIAMI - As the beginning of the NBA's free agency period is set to tip off Sunday evening, fans in South Florida are laser focused on the Miami Heat's pursuit of Philadelphia's Jimmy Butler.
Like waiting for a puff of white smoke from the Vatican to announce the selection of a new Pope, Heat fans are eagerly hopeful that Pat Riley and company will be able to pull another so-called "whale" to the confines of the American Airlines Arena.
Depending on which Twitter account you follow or believe, Butler is either signed, sealed and delivered to Miami, or the Heat are just another suitor.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Butler has agreed to give Miami the first meeting when free agency opens at 6:01 p.m.
In regards to that meeting, Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press says a source told him that Butler is "expected to tell Miami officials tonight that he wishes to play for the Heat."
However, the New York Times' Marc Stein reports the All-Star will have his choice of teams to choose from, including the Los Angeles Lakers. After failing to land either Kyrie Irving or Klay Thompson, the Lakers are reportedly interested in Butler, according to Stein.
Even if Butler chooses the Heat, getting him to South Florida is another matter. Miami is well over the salary cap, but could execute a sign-and-trade deal with Philadelphia's help.
There's also an outside chance they could free up some money by trading away some current players, but that would require a lot more dealing.
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