Heat Notes: Butler, Herro, FA Options, Rozier, Draft

As reported a couple weeks ago by Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald, Heat forward Jimmy Butler is expected to seek a two-year, maximum-salary extension before the season begins. However, it isn’t certain how the team will respond to that request from Butler.

In a new story, Chiang reviews Butler’s fifth season with Miami, writing that there were both promising and worrying aspects of the campaign. Butler led the team most major advanced statistics even though many of his counting stats were down, and he was limited to just 60 regular season games, including being sidelined for the Heat’s entire first-round series with Boston after sustaining a knee injury in the play-in tournament.

As Chiang writes, a potential extension would mean paying Butler a projected $58.6MM for his age-37 season in 2026/27. Only two players — LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — have averaged 20-plus points per game in the postseason during a championship-winning campaign at age 35 or older (Butler will be 35 in September).

Butler has led the Heat to two NBA Finals appearances in his five seasons with Miami, but how much longer can he maintain his current level? And what will he do if the team takes a wait-and-see approach to his impending request? Those are just two of the myriad questions the Heat must weigh regarding their best player’s future with the organization, Chiang notes.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • In a separate piece for The Miami Herald, Chiang provides his season in review for Tyler Herro, who missed 40 regular season games and struggled at times in the first-round loss to Boston. While Pat Riley said Herro needs to get stronger to hold up to the rigors of a long season, head coach Erik Spoelstra praised the 24-year-old’s work ethic and expects him to continue to evolve. “He’ll probably take about the same amount of days off that I’ll take and then he’ll get right back to work and learn from these experiences,” Spoelstra said. “Most young players when they make their big jumps, it’s usually from some disappointments that happen in the playoffs and it drives you with experience. It’s always the best teacher.”
  • As a team expected to be over at least the first tax apron, the Heat will have relatively limited options at their disposal in free agency, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. That’s largely due to the money ($51.56MM) owed to Terry Rozier over the next two seasons. When the Heat acquired him in a January trade, they were well aware of the future luxury tax ramifications, but believed he’d make a bigger impact than the players available on the open market for the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, according to Jackson, who points out that Rozier’s salary could be a useful matching piece in a star-level trade.
  • While many talent evaluators have stated the 2024 NBA draft class lacks top-end talent, VP of basketball operations and assistant GM Adam Simon pushed back on that notion, per Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Simon said he will continue to be focused on the best available players on the board when the team makes its selections — the Heat currently control the Nos. 15 and 43 picks, with Winderman noting they’ve had success drafting in the middle of the first round (Herro, Bam Adebayo and Jaime Jaquez). “I’m not drafting for the team we have,” Simon said. “I’m going to recommend the players one through 15, one through 58, based on who I think the best players are. … The last thing I want to do is we pass on a player who was better because we took a player based on need.”
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