Jimmy Butler

Heat Notes: Swider, Richardson, Butler, Lowry

Cole Swider is hoping to be the Heat‘s next success story in player development, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Miami has shown a knack for finding useful players who have gone undrafted, many of whom are coming off opportunities with other teams. Swider wants to put his name on that list with Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, Duncan Robinson, Orlando Robinson and others.

“It was a big part of my decision-making process,” Swider said. “There were a lot of teams that were interested. And a lot of ’em were interested in the same thing the Heat were interested in, an Exhibit 10 (tryout contract) and the opportunity to earn a two-way or a roster spot. But the success with the Heat with those guys gave me an easy decision, in terms of they’re going to give you a real opportunity in training camp, they’re going to give you real opportunities to get on the floor and play through mistakes and make the team.”

Swider, a 24-year-old small forward, signed a two-way contract with the Lakers after going undrafted out of Syracuse in 2022. He saw minimal playing time in seven games with L.A., spending most of the season in the G League.

Another reason Swider decided to go to Miami was the team’s need for outside shooting after losing Strus and Vincent in free agency. Swider is a shooting specialist, connecting at 50.6% from the field and 43.6% from beyond the arc in 27 G League games last season.

“Because of the type of guys like me in the past, they know how to use guys like me,” he said. “When I do something in pickup that looks like Duncan or Max or Gabe, they know how to use me in a game. It’s not like, ‘Oh, this only works in pickup.’”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Josh Richardson has aged well throughout his NBA career and should be a reliable rotation player this season, Winderman states in a mailbag column. Richardson, who was drafted by the Heat in 2015, returned to the organization this summer after playing for five teams in the last four years. Winderman notes that he relies on intelligence as much as speed and athleticism and has remained productive at age 30.
  • Jimmy Butler falls just short of the NBA’s exceptions in its new Player Participation Policy, but his medical history may give the Heat more opportunity to rest him, Winderman adds in another piece. Teams can petition the league to sit out players in back-to-back games if they’re at least 35 years old or have logged more than 34,000 career minutes or 1,000 total games in the regular season and playoffs. Butler is 34 with 29,513 minutes in 873 games, but his history of knee issues may qualify him to get approval under the PPP’s injury provision.
  • NBA Twitter was buzzing Saturday night when Heat guard Kyle Lowry was spotted alongside Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups at the Colorado-Colorado State football game (video link). Lowry is among the players who may be headed to Portland if the teams can agree on a Damian Lillard trade.

Heat Notes: Lillard, Starters, Wood, Rebounding

The Heat don’t have any reason to increase their offer for Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard unless they’re determined to have him when training camp opens, Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald writes in a mailbag column. No other team has made a significant offer for Lillard, Chiang notes, so Miami would essentially be bidding against itself by giving more assets to Portland.

Chiang adds that the first step would be for the Heat and Blazers to resume trade discussions, which have been dormant for several weeks. Sources around the league tell Chiang that they expect the teams to start talking again some time before they both open camp in early October.

Chiang also speculates that things might get “messier” in Portland if Lillard is still on the roster at the start of camp, which would mark three months after he submitted his trade request. It’s not ideal for the Heat to start preparing for a new season amid so much uncertainty, so the time pressure could renew both teams’ interest in getting a trade completed.

There’s more from Miami:

  • Without a trade, the Heat’s most likely starting lineup appears to be Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro, Jimmy Butler, Kevin Love and Bam Adebayo, Chiang adds in the same piece. Butler and Adebayo are the only full-time starters returning from a team that just reached the NBA Finals a few months ago, although Herro was sidelined with an injury and Lowry and Love both have extensive starting experience. Chiang speculates that Caleb Martin could take Love’s place on occasions when Miami wants to use a smaller starting five, and Herro could be used as a makeshift point guard with Josh Richardson starting alongside him in the backcourt.
  • The Heat were mentioned as a possible destination for Christian Wood before he signed with the Lakers this week, but Miami isn’t in position to make complementary roster moves until it knows what’s going to happen with Lillard, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Wood reportedly had been watching the trade requests involving Lillard and James Harden to see if a situation might open up that would offer him regular playing time, but he decided not to wait any longer to find his next team.
  • Erik Spoelstra’s experience as an assistant coach with Team USA during the World Cup provided him with another example of the need for size on the front line, Winderman adds. The Americans were routinely outrebounded by larger opponents, just as Miami was in losing to the Nuggets in the NBA Finals. The Heat finished 27th in the league in rebounding last season, which may affect Spoelstra’s decision on whom to start at power forward.

Team USA Notes: Reaves, Haliburton, Anthony, Curry

Team USA will leave the World Cup without a gold medal, but it may have developed a few players who will be useful in future international competitions, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. This version of the American squad was built around young talent than established stars, and many of them could return for future World Cup or Olympic tournaments.

Vardon points to Lakers guard Austin Reaves as one of those players. The 25-year-old is third in scoring for the U.S. at 12.4 PPG and second in steals at 1.3 per game. He has also regularly been on the court late in close games.

“I think I’ve been able to learn a lot from a lot of really good players, a lot of really good coaches, and basically just see that I belong,” Reaves said.

International play has often been the springboard for players to assert themselves as future stars, such as Kevin Durant in the 2010 World Championship, Vardon notes. Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards appears ready to move into that role, and Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton may be as well.

“I think being the point guard with other great scorers, other great players and understand that they want to be on the court at the same time as me, they want me to be in there to get them involved,” Haliburton said.

There’s more on Team USA:

  • Friday’s loss to Germany was among the topics addressed by global ambassadors Pau Gasol, Luis Scola and Carmelo Anthony during an appearance on a talk show, relays Cesare Milanti of Eurohoops. Anthony, one of the most accomplished international players in American history, considers the result an “upset,” but not a huge surprise. “You have to take your hat off to Germany, and for Serbia as well,” Anthony said. “That’s good for the sport, everybody has to think differently when approaching these competitions. The game has grown globally. Everybody has an opportunity to go there and win a gold medal.”
  • Lack of size was an issue for the U.S. not only against Germany but throughout the World Cup, observes Brian Windhorst of ESPN. He notes that in three games against larger European teams, the Americans gave up 53 offensive rebounds and 64 second-chance points.
  • Stephen Curry is Team USA’s “must-have guy” for the Paris Olympics, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Instead of turning to LeBron James and Durant again, Rankin would like to see the 2024 roster built around Curry with Jayson Tatum, Jimmy Butler, Devin Booker, De’Aaron Fox, Anthony Davis, Julius Randle, Bam Adebayo and Jarrett Allen all in prominent roles.

Heat Notes: Herro, Adebayo, Butler, Haslem

If the Heat can’t trade for Damian Lillard before the season begins, Tyler Herro may be the best option as the starting point guard, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Herro has been a shooting guard throughout his career, but he could be the most effective choice to replace Gabe Vincent, who signed with the Lakers this summer.

Giving point guard duties to Herro would allow Miami to keep Kyle Lowry in a reserve role, where he thrived at the end of last season and in the playoffs. At age 37, Lowry may be best suited for limited minutes rather than being counted on to handle the starting job again.

Winderman points out that Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo can help facilitate the offense, so Herro wouldn’t need to become a traditional point guard. He adds that if the experiment doesn’t work, the Heat could look for another option during the season, such as free agent Goran Dragic.

There’s more from Miami:

  • Team USA could use another big man like Adebayo during the World Cup, but he’s probably better off with a summer of rest, Winderman states in another piece. Training camps will open three weeks after the end of the tournament, which is why a lot of veteran players decided not to participate. Winderman wonders whether Adebayo will be more eager to return to international competition in the 2024 Olympics.
  • Butler’s tendency to sit out regular season games may prevent him from being considered for postseason awards, Winderman adds. Players are now required to participate in at least 65 games to be eligible, and Butler hasn’t reached that number since the 2018/19 season.
  • Butler refused to answer a question about Team USA’s loss in the World Cup when approached by a journalist Sunday at the U.S. Open, according to a BasketNews story. Butler thought he was being asked for a photo when Sasa Ozmo of SportKlub Srbija introduced himself, and he quickly ended the conversation when he heard the question. “I don’t care about the World Cup,” Butler responded.
  • The Miami Marlins will honor longtime Heat forward Udonis Haslem at their September 7 game, the team announced on Twitter. Haslem will get a one-day contract with the MLB club, which will hold “UD Night” at the ballpark.

Southeast Notes: Martin, Butler, Murphy

Caleb Martin, if he’s not included in a potential Damian Lillard blockbuster, could end up on the free agent market next summer, as Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel explains. The Heat forward can opt out of his $7.1MM salary for the 2024/25 season next summer. If he plays like he did in the postseason, he would obviously make that move. However, as Winderman notes, Martin may not be quite as effective now that he’s more of a known commodity and will be more of a focus in defensive game plans.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat could soon find themselves in the same salary cap crunch as the Celtics in the wake of Jaylen Brown‘s huge extension, Winderman opines. Jimmy Butler is likely to pursue a costly extension whether or not the club acquires Lillard and his huge contract. Butler is entering the first year of three-year, $146.4MM million contract that includes a player option in 2025/26. A payroll that includes a Butler extension, along with contracts of Lillard and Bam Adebayo, would result in tough decisions regarding the remainder of the roster.
  • Dylan Murphy has moved on from an assistant coaching position with the Magic to being the head coach of their G League affiliate, now called the Osceola Magic. The G League team’s GM, Kevin Tiller, said Murphy is ready to show what he can do as a head coach. “Dylan came into the interview overly prepared,” Tiller told the Orlando Sentinel’s Jason Beede. “Knocked it out of the park. Every question we asked, he had a perfect answer. Not that we’re looking for a ‘perfect’ response but just the way he articulated everything, it showed us how much he’s been preparing for this. Longer than just, ‘Hey, you’re going to interview for this next Tuesday.’ This has been years in the making.”
  • In case you missed it, the Wizards signed Jared Butler to a two-way deal this weekend.

Trade Rumors: Maxey, Lillard, Jazz, Heat

The Sixers‘ stance so far this offseason – as conveyed to multiple reporters – has been that Tyrese Maxey is off the table in trade talks, even for a superstar player. Discussing that subject on the latest Hoop Collective podcast, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Tim MacMahon, and Tim Bontemps expressed some skepticism about just how untouchable Maxey really is.

“They want you to know that you can’t have Tyrese Maxey,” Windhorst said. “Prime Michael Jordan is available? Don’t call. 25-year-old LeBron James is available? Lose our number. Giannis Antetokounmpo says, ‘I want to be a Sixer’? If Tyrese Maxey is the ask, just keep walking. … I don’t trust them at all on that, but I will say to you that is what is being said.”

While the Sixers are by no means looking to move Maxey, ESPN’s trio believes the front office’s stance on the young guard would be more malleable than what’s been reported if the team has a legitimate chance to acquire a star, including perhaps Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard.

As Windhorst and Bontemps observe, while Philadelphia’s plan not to sign Maxey to a rookie scale extension is ostensibly about maximizing cap room in 2024, he would also be easier to trade if he’s not extended, since he wouldn’t be subject to poison pill provision rules in 2023/24.

Here are a few more trade-related rumors and notes:

  • Although he’s not reporting that any trade discussions have taken place with the Trail Blazers or that the Jazz will make a run at Lillard, MacMahon said on The Hoop Collective podcast that he has heard Utah is “intrigued by the possibility” of acquiring the All-Star guard, confirming previous reports. MacMahon, Windhorst, and Bontemps ultimately believe the Jazz aren’t ready to make significant deal for a win-now player who’s about to turn 33, but they note that Lillard has a connection to Utah, having played his college ball at Weber State, and the Jazz’s collection of future first-round picks would dwarf what Miami could offer.
  • At the trade deadline, the Jazz‘s position was that Lauri Markkanen, Walker Kessler, and Ochai Agbaji were their only players who were off the table in trade talks, according to MacMahon, who believes that if Utah did pursue a star this offseason, Markkanen and Kessler would be the only untouchables.
  • Appearing on NBA TV (Twitter video link), Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel says the Heat are willing to discuss anyone except their two All-Stars as they negotiate a possible deal with Portland for Lillard, who wants to play in Miami. “Put it this way, they basically have loaded up one of those PODS dumpsters in front of the Trail Blazers and said, ‘Take anyone out of here you want besides Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler,'” Winderman said. “Maybe they’ll go back and forth on Caleb Martin a little, but it’s basically, sort of, ‘Come and pick and choose. Tell us what you want. Anything else is yours.’ The Heat are all-in on this. This is their moment. There’s a reason they didn’t go hard after Bradley Beal. There’s a reason they held off on some other moves. This is their play.”

Damian Lillard Rumors: Heat, Herro, Martin, Nurkic, Grant

Shockwaves were sent throughout the league this morning when it was reported that longtime Trail Blazers All-NBA point guard Damian Lillard had requested a trade.

During an appearance on NBA Today, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter video link) spoke with host Malika Andrews about the curious timing of the deal.

“His conversations with the organization, at least going back several days [to] that last Monday meeting in Portland, the expectation was he was going to give the organization a chance to get through free agency, and see how they could improve the team,” Woj said. “And on the opening night of free agency, they committed in Portland $160MM to Jerami Grant to return to the Blazers, certainly with Damian Lillard in mind. And now, less than 24 hours later, Lillard has asked for a trade.”

Sources tell Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report that Lillard’s agent Aaron Goodwin informed Joe Cronin of his client’s decision on Saturday morning.

Haynes is one of many reporters hearing that Lillard hopes to be dealt to Miami. Heat All-NBA swingman Jimmy Butler, fresh off leading the team to its second Finals appearance in four seasons, has told Miami personnel that Lillard is his No. 1 target for the club’s offseason, Haynes adds.

Miami is prepared to make an offer centered around young shooting guard Tyler Herro, according to Haynes, who says sharpshooter Duncan Robinson and draft picks could be used to build out the package. The team is hoping to avoid including affordable forward Caleb Martin in trade talks, per Haynes and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (via Twitter).

The Trail Blazers, for their part, may angle to unload the contract of veteran center Jusuf Nurkic in a deal.

“If you want to go into a full rebuild, Brooklyn has the better assets going forward,” a front office executive told Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports. “But Portland is pretty clear that they are not looking to be terrible next year. They will be young but they want to stay competitive. Dealing with Miami gets you there.”

Surrounding third overall lottery pick Scoot Henderson with a play-making scorer at the level of Herro and perhaps a marksman with the pedigree of Robinson could help the Trail Blazers at least remain somewhat competitive next season.

However, there have been rumblings that Portland may be “lukewarm” on Herro, so it’s possible a third team would have to get involved, as Jackson writes for The Miami Herald in an exploration of possible trade scenarios. Haynes (Twitter link) has indeed heard that any Lillard trade between the Blazers and Heat would probably have to include a third team, though he doesn’t specify whether that’s related to Portland’s feelings about Herro.

The Sixers are another club that hopes to get into the running for Lillard. However, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) is hearing that young combo guard Tyrese Maxey, who is still on his rookie scale contract, is currently off the table in any trade talks, even for Lillard. Fischer reiterates that rival teams, including Philadelphia, are convinced Lillard hopes to be moved to the Heat specifically.

Finally, Wojnarowski provides an important update on another key veteran whose future is affected by Lillard’s trade request, tweeting that today’s news won’t change Portland’s plans to re-sign Grant to the five-year, $160MM contract he and the team agreed to on Friday night.

That deal can’t be made official until July 6, so either side could back out of their verbal agreement before then. However, it would be a bad look for a club to rescind such a significant offer, and Grant seems unlikely to do anywhere near that well elsewhere on the free agent market.

Luke Adams contributed to this story.

Heat Notes: Offseason Plan, Luxury Tax, Herro, Butler, Draft

Heat president Pat Riley will look for additions that could bring a title to Miami but he pledged not to make drastic roster changes, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes.

Riley met the media for his annual postseason press conference on Tuesday.

“We’re not going to take a wrecking ball to a good team that had some real adversity this year that I felt built some strength. We have a good team, and probably a great team,” Riley said. “And so, running it back? Yes. Doing something that can help you with that last step? Yes, if it’s a possibility and if there’s an opportunity without setting you back while you’re moving forward. It’s just onward with us. It’s onward.”

Of course, the Heat could still make a big trade. They’ve been linked to Damian Lillard and would be considered a strong candidate to land him if the star guard asks out of Portland. They were also considered a possible destination for Bradley Beal before the Suns swooped in for the Wizards’ All-Star wing.

Riley wasn’t at liberty to speak about Lillard or Beal due to tampering rules, nor could he talk about specific free agent targets. However, the Heat could move some big salaries (Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson) if a superstar talent becomes available.

Riley addressed a number of other topics:

  • The Heat are projected to be over the luxury tax threshold next season, which is projected to be $162MM. Riley said that team owner Micky Arison and CEO Nick Arison are willing to pay the penalty for a championship team. “They’re committed to winning championships,” Riley said. “And we’re in the tax. (GM) Andy [Elisburg] has been already making sure that we’re working around the edges of the tax, trying to put together a competitive team, and we have. … [The Arisons are] committed to doing whatever it takes to fulfill his championship dream. It’s been 10 or 11 years, so we’re getting a little anxious here. We’d like to win another one.”
  • With Herro’s four-year, $130MM extension kicking in next season, Riley labeled him as one of the franchise’s young anchors along with Bam Adebayo, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “Tyler is just an extraordinary scorer and fourth-quarter player, big-time shot-maker. He’s 23 years old. You got to watch (it) with these guys.”
  • Riley admits he’d like to take some of the pressure off Jimmy Butler shoulders on offense: “I would love to be able to go out there and pick who I want as a perfect complement to him. It’s not that easy, but we will work toward that and I will pat him on the back the next time I see him.”
  • Ideally, Riley would like to get a versatile player with the Heat’s first-round pick at No. 18. “Probably I would say more overall wing size and length. I mean, that’s what I think everybody is looking for and multiple-position players, especially ball-handling players that are two-way kinds of players.”

Heat Notes: Herro, Butler, Vincent, Strus, Yurtseven, Haslem

Heat guard Tyler Herro declined to speak to reporters after Monday’s loss, but his body language suggested that he was disappointed not to get into Game 5 after receiving medical clearance following a two-month recovery process for a broken hand, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Head coach Erik Spoelstra explained after the loss that the physicality and intensity of the game made him hesitant to call on a player who hadn’t suited up since mid-April. However, he also didn’t sound certain that he made the right decision by not using one of Miami’s best scorers in a game in which the team finished with just 89 points.

“It’s just a really tough call and I’ll probably have to wrestle with that all summer,” Spoelstra said, adding that the intensity in the Finals was “totally different” from the first round of the playoffs, let alone the regular season. “… That’s the hardest-played, most physical competition you can have. And that would be a tough thing for a guy that’s been out for two months that hasn’t had any kind of ramp-up. But that won’t save me from thinking about that for the next few weeks.”

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Jimmy Butler, who sprained his ankle earlier in the postseason, wasn’t willing to use that injury as an excuse after Monday’s loss, telling reporters that his ankle was “fine” and had “zero” to do with his 5-of-18 shooting night, per Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Butler also didn’t necessarily agree with the idea that the Heat need to make offseason moves to improve their offense. “No. We just missed shots,” he said. “That’s what this league is about. We make two, three more shots. … We did enough to win.”
  • In his preview of the Heat’s offseason, Bobby Marks of ESPN.com (Insider link) says that re-signing Gabe Vincent should be a top priority for the front office, which will have to decide whether bringing back Max Strus is a necessity or a luxury.
  • One under-the-radar decision the Heat will have to make before the end of June is whether or not to extend a $2.3MM qualifying offer to center Omer Yurtseven, Winderman writes for The Sun Sentinel. That QO would make Yurtseven a restricted free agent. He has shown some promise but was limited to just nine games this season due to ankle surgery, so it’s hardly a lock.
  • While winning a championship would’ve been a storybook ending for his 20-year NBA career, Udonis Haslem isn’t unhappy about how his final season ended, according to Winderman. “I tell the guys, I have no complaints, I have no regrets. I’m thankful,” Haslem said. “They gave me a final season that I will never, ever forget. That’s all I can ask for.”
  • Assistant general manager Adam Simon and the rest of the Heat’s draft staff had been trying to “stay out of the team’s way” while bringing in prospects to the Kaseya Center for workouts since last week, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. With the Heat’s season now over, the draft preparation can take center stage — the club owns the No. 18 pick in next Thursday’s event.

Heat Notes: Butler, Lowry, Love, Game 5

The competitive nature and gruff demeanors of Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry brought them together, first as friends and then as teammates, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. They formed a bond as rivals earlier in their careers, and Butler was heavily involved in recruiting Lowry to Miami when he decided to leave Toronto two years ago.

“It wasn’t a pitch,” Lowry recalled. “(It was:) Bring your ass here.”

Kevin Love compares it to having two versions of Oscar the Grouch on the same team, but their shared approach to the game has fit right into the Heat Culture philosophy. Lowry desperately wants to win a title for his friend, and Butler recognizes Lowry’s role in sparking Miami’s run to the NBA Finals.

“Everything he is about is about winning,” Butler said. “Whenever you get with other guys that they’re only about winning, that’s all that matters. It’s not about stats, and about how many shots you get, not about how many stops you get, whatever you’re asked of to do to help the squad win — that’s why we rock with one another.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • Butler’s commitment to leadership includes specialized pre-game handshake routines with all his teammates, Friedell adds in another ESPN story. They range from the complex to the obscene, but each represents a connection that Butler has with another player. “You’re talking about the journeys that I’ve had with so many different guys,” he said. “It’s all about making us smile, keeping it free flowing, no pressure, you’re not worried about nothing. Just two human beings, two brothers, two teammates, two guys that’s in the trenches together and you just come up with something out of nowhere, but it’s us.”
  • Love will be ready for Monday’s Game 5 after his wife gave birth to their first child over the weekend, per Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Love didn’t accompany his teammates on their flight to Denver, but he joined them late Saturday night.
  • A 3-1 deficit hasn’t dulled the Heat’s competitive instincts, Vardon adds. Coach Erik Spoelstra talked about the team’s situation as the “ultimate challenge,” and Butler said the players remain committed to their dreams of winning a title. “All the odds, 8 seed, dadadadada, nah, none of that matters,” he said. “It’s just two really good basketball teams. One has to get one win, and one has to get three.”