The Heat won Jimmy Butler over in their free agent meeting by emphasizing a commitment to conditioning, toughness and winning, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Team president Pat Riley made a “strong impression” during the four-hour presentation on June 30 and was focused on getting a definitive answer before it was over. Butler had more meetings scheduled, but canceled them and committed to Miami.
Butler was being sought by other teams in better position to contend right away, such as the Clippers, Lakers and Rockets, or he could have stayed with the Sixers, but he liked the idea of being the first star for the Heat to build around. He also remembered the words of former Bulls teammate Dwyane Wade.
“He would always say, ‘It would be a place for you,” Butler recalled. “The type of guy you are, the mentality you have, the Heat culture, it just fits.’ We laugh about it now, but looking back it’s like: Damn, he kind of called how it could happen and how this would be a place that just fits me to a T.”
Here’s more from South Florida:
- Bam Adebayo tells Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel that he expects a different atmosphere this season with Wade and Josh Richardson both gone and Butler now serving as the team leader. “Instead of J-Rich and the goofiness, it’s kind of Jimmy Butler,” the 22-year-old Adebayo said. “So it’s kind of more serious. He’s older than us.”
- Kendrick Nunn‘s outstanding Summer League performance may not translate into more playing time once the season starts, Winderman observes in a separate piece. Nunn averaged 21.0 PPG in four games and ranked third in assists in Las Vegas at 6.3 per night. However, Winderman notes that his breakthrough wasn’t as dramatic as Derrick Jones Jr.‘s last summer, and Jones didn’t have a significant role during the regular season while the roster was at full strength. Winderman forecasts more playing time for first-round pick Tyler Herro.
- Bradley Beal‘s situation in Washington could affect the Heat’s willingness to trade for Chris Paul, Winderman suggests in another story. Beal will become a free agent in 2021 if he turns down a three-year, $111MM extension offer that the Wizards can make starting Friday. Miami wouldn’t have enough cap space to pursue Beal if it takes on Paul’s sizable contract. A source tells Winderman that the Heat would demand multiple first-round picks to accept Paul.