Pat Riley

Jimmy Butler’s Agent Responds To Pat Riley’s Comments

Following Pat Riley‘s end-of-season comments about Heat star Jimmy Butler on Monday, agent Bernie Lee confirmed that the two sides spoke last year about his client playing in every game he possibly could, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (subscription required). According to Lee, any insinuation that Butler didn’t hold up his end of the bargain is misguided.

“Jimmy missed 22 games this past year, a mix of personal reasons and injury,” Lee told Winderman. “If there was a game that was on the schedule that Jimmy was healthy enough to participate in, he did that. He played in a number of back-to-backs and it was the utmost priority to him to do everything he can to be available.”

Riley spoke on Monday about making player availability a top priority going forward and seemed to be challenging his players to fight through minor ailments.

“I’m not going to ever accuse a player who can’t play that he doesn’t want to play or he’s not able to play,” Riley said, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. “But there’s no such thing as 100 percent in the NBA, there just isn’t.”

When asked about a possible contract extension for Butler, who will become eligible for a new deal on July 7, he told reporters it would be a “big decision” for the team to make that sort of financial commitment “unless you’re somebody who’s really going to be there, available every single night.”

Speaking to Winderman, Lee pointed out that Butler’s minutes per game average this season (34.0) was his highest since he joined the Heat and that he was one of just a dozen players aged 33 or older who played 2,000+ minutes in 2023/24.

While the star swingman was unable to play in the first round of the postseason vs. Boston due to an MCL sprain, he has logged nearly 2,500 playoff minutes (essentially a full season’s worth) since arriving in Miami. That workload should be factored into the availability discussion, Lee said, adding that he’d like “a little bit more clarity” on Riley’s comments.

“The thought that Jimmy is picking and choosing when to play isn’t reality,” Lee said. “I enjoy watching him play as much, if not more, than anyone. So believe me, I want to see him play every night. But unfortunately he isn’t a robot and injuries and circumstances happen. Prior to the year, we had a meeting to discuss the changing NBA rules and the need to reject load management, And we all understood the assignment. Jimmy’s 22 games missed were all for valid issues and concerns.”

Butler remains committed to the Heat, according to Lee, who didn’t given any indication that anything said during Monday’s presser – which included Riley advising his star to “keep (his) mouth shut” regarding criticism of the Celtics and Knicks – will negatively impact how his client feels about his future in Miami.

“Once he got to this organization, he got to an organization that wholeheartedly has embraced him in every single way,” Lee said. “Look, they’re both cut from the same cloth. There’s going to be honest conversations that have to be had this summer about how to move forward, but those conversations aren’t going to be driven by anything other than, ‘How do we do this to move forward to take the next step, and win a championship?'”

Heat’s Pat Riley Talks Butler, Injuries, Herro, Rozier, More

Player availability – or lack thereof – was a focus for Pat Riley during the Heat president’s annual end-of-season press conference, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Riley repeatedly brought up the fact that Miami needs to have its best players available more often and made it clear that figuring out how to improve on that front will be a goal this offseason.

“That’s a deep dive for us this summer, player availability,” Riley said. “We must change some things but we aren’t going to rip anything apart.”

Riley’s most noteworthy comments on the subject came when he was asked about the possibility of a contract extension for Jimmy Butler. The star swingman is expected to look to tack on another year to his current deal, which runs through 2024/25 with a player option for ’25/26. But Riley said the team has yet to internally discuss that possibility and wouldn’t commit to giving Butler a new contract if he asks for one, pointing out that the front office doesn’t need to make that decision before 2025.

“It’s a big decision on our part to commit those kinds of resources, unless you have someone who is going to be available every night,” Riley said (Twitter link via Jackson), adding that Butler’s availability was “discussed thoroughly” a year ago with his agent. The 34-year-old hasn’t appeared in more than 64 regular season games in a single season during his five years in Miami and was unavailable for the playoffs this spring due to an MCL sprain.

Amid recent speculation that Butler’s days in Miami could be numbered, Riley offered an even more eyebrow-raising quote when asked about the six-time All-Star’s claim that the Celtics and Knicks would “be at home” if he had been able to play in the postseason. Riley admitted he didn’t know whether Butler was “trolling” or serious, but suggested he shouldn’t have said anything either way.

“If you’re not on the court playing against Boston or on the court playing against the New York Knicks, you should keep your mouth shut on the criticism of those teams,” Riley said (Twitter link via Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald).

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Asked if Miami would consider trading Butler if their other non-Bam Adebayo assets aren’t enough to acquire a star player, Riley said no, adding that the goal isn’t necessarily to add a third star. “There are a possibility a lot of things are on the table,” Riley said, per Jackson. “It’s not about getting another star. You get another star, your bench gets weaker.”
  • Riley was noncommittal when asked if the Heat would like to cut payroll this summer, acknowledging that the team will have to look at the “collateral damage” of operating over the first or second tax apron. However, he stressed that he doesn’t anticipate major changes and that the organization “is not about rebuilding.” “We’ve got a really good group of guys,” he said. “The No. 1 issue is player availability and having your guys healthy to play every night. We have to wrap our arms around that notion. When I talk to (Heat owners) Micky (Arison) and Nick (Arison), they understand this.”
  • Riley doesn’t necessarily agree with Udonis Haslem‘s opinion that Tyler Herro would be better off as a sixth man, noting that Haslem – a Heat employee – probably shouldn’t have shared that take on an ESPN broadcast. “Tyler is a starter,” Riley said, according to Jackson. “Is (coming off the bench) something you are going to ask a player one day? That’s where a coach has a job to do. … Whether it be (Herro or someone else), he may. Whatever is in the best interests of the team. We won’t know until we have everybody available.”
  • Addressing the neck injury that sidelined Terry Rozier for the playoffs, Riley said it shouldn’t be a long-term issue and added that the veteran guard was “everything I expected” after arriving in Miami from Charlotte. “It’s a process; it takes time. He said he feels good,” Riley said. “When you’re dealing with a spine, you’re not going to mess around with it. It’s going to heal. Doctors convinced us and him that in time it will heal and go away.”

Heat Notes: Lillard, Roster, Herro, Hampton

The Heat suffered a major loss when news of the Damian Lillard trade broke on Wednesday, failing to acquire a future Hall of Famer who specifically wanted to be dealt to them, writes Greg Cote of The Miami Herald. Nearly three months after Lillard told the Trail Blazers that he only wanted to go to Miami, he wound up in Milwaukee, where he and Giannis Antetokounmpo may be the greatest obstacle to the Heat’s chances to repeat as Eastern Conference champions.

Miami missed out on Lillard because team president Pat Riley wasn’t willing to increase his offer to Portland and couldn’t find a third team to help facilitate a deal, Cote adds. Riley was counting on Lillard’s preference for Miami and a lackluster trade market to eventually work in his favor.

Cote contends that acquiring Lillard is the type of win-now move the Heat need to make because their championship window is limited with 34-year-old Jimmy Butler as their best player. Adding Lillard would have provided a shot of energy the team needs as it approaches a long season, Cote adds. Instead Miami will open camp wondering how he got away.

There’s more from Miami:

  • With Lillard off the table, the Heat’s options to improve their roster are now limited, observes Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo Sports. Age is an issue as Kyle Lowry and Kevin Love are older than Butler, Rohrbach notes, and so are financial concerns as Butler, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson are owed about $130MM for the 2025/26 season, which represents 90% of the projected salary cap. Rohrbach adds that the summer-long pursuit of Lillard showed Herro’s limited trade value around the league.
  • Butler’s Instagram post on Wednesday accusing the Bucks of tampering in the Lillard deal received an endorsement from Herro, who tweeted, “What he said.”
  • RJ Hampton, who is joining the Heat on a two-way contract, is grateful to be in Miami after spending time with three teams in his first three NBA seasons. “A PRIVILEGE to be apart of this organization, let’s go,” Hampton wrote on Twitter. The Heat opened a spot for Hampton with a series of moves on Wednesday.

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: Lillard, Herro, Beal, Draft, Riley

With Bradley Beal off the trade market, the Heat are shifting their focus to Damian Lillard and believe they have a real chance to acquire the Trail Blazers star, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes, confirming previous reporting from Chris Haynes.

In his latest story for The Herald, Jackson looks at potential packages the Heat could offer for Lillard if he becomes available, noting that the deal would likely start with two players out of the trio of Tyler Herro, Kyle Lowry, and Duncan Robinson. Miami’s proposal could include up to three first-round picks, including this year’s No. 18 selection.

As Jackson observes, if the Heat want to preserve their draft assets, they could put forth a more player-centric offer headed by Herro, Caleb Martin, Nikola Jovic, and Victor Oladipo‘s expiring contract, with perhaps just one or two picks included.

If Miami makes a deal for Lillard, Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald writes in a separate story, it likely won’t occur until July, when the new CBA will be in effect and the Heat will only be able to take back up to 110% of their outgoing salary in a trade instead of 125%. While Lillard could be traded in June before the new CBA begins, including Herro in an offer would probably require Miami to wait until next month, since his rookie scale extension will begin in July, increasing his outgoing trade value from $5.7MM to $27MM.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Having previously reported that Beal would have been willing to waive his no-trade clause to join the Heat, Jackson provides more information, tweeting that two sources close to Beal said the guard would approved a move to either Miami or Phoenix. As Jackson explains (via Twitter), the Wizards simply preferred the Suns‘ offer to the Heat’s, in large part because Miami’s offer – believed to be built around Lowry and Robinson – featured nearly twice as much guaranteed money.
  • Heat assistant general manager Adam Simon spoke to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel about the extensive work the team has done to prepare to make the No. 18 pick in this Thursday’s draft, despite the fact that the selection could end up being used in a trade.
  • Heat president Pat Riley will hold an end-of-season press conference and speak to reporters on Tuesday, tweets Jackson. Of course, he won’t be able to talk about any players under contracts with other teams, such as Beal or Lillard.

Heat Notes: Vincent, Strus, Draft Picks, Herro, Lillard

The Heat’s starting backcourt has fallen into a shooting slump at the worst possible time, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Gabe Vincent and Max Strus played vital roles in Miami’s climb from the play-in tournament to the NBA Finals, but they were held to a combined 12 points in the Game 3 and 4 losses while shooting 4-of-27 from the field.

Strus was despondent in the locker room after Friday’s contest, according to Jackson. He missed all four of his shots on a scoreless night and was removed from the game for good with 4:25 left in the third quarter.

“I’m pretty disappointed,” he said. “But sitting here and sulking about it is not going to do anything. Got to toughen up and bounce back. Look forward to the next opportunity and try to stay positive.”

Vincent scored a combined 42 points in the two games at Denver, but has managed just nine since the series shifted back to Miami. He shot 3-of-16 over the last two games and got into early foul trouble both times.

“Gabe’s been unbelievable this whole playoff run,” Kyle Lowry said. “Gabe is a tremendous basketball player. Our league is a make-or-miss league, and you have a guy in Jimmy Butler who is going to continue to pump confidence into him. I’m going to pump confidence into him. He’s going to come out and have a great game in Game 5.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • Miami could have up to four first-round picks to trade this summer, which would be the most in several years, Jackson adds. He notes that the Heat could give themselves extra flexibility by working out an agreement with the Thunder to waive the lottery protections on the selection that Miami owes to OKC in 2025 or 2026.
  • The Heat have shown that they can succeed without Tyler Herro, who has been injured for nearly the entirety of their playoff run, and Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel states that it should be much easier to trade Herro than it was last offseason. The poison pill restriction in Herro’s contract will expire at the end of the month, meaning his salary will be counted as $27MM for trade purposes, rather than the $5.7MM he’s currently earning on his rookie contract. Winderman points out that Herro’s $130MM extension kicks in next season, and any team that trades for him will have him under contract for the next four years.
  • Team president Pat Riley should be aggressive about trying to acquire Damian Lillard from the Trail Blazers this summer, argues Manny Navarro of The Athletic. Earlier this week, Lillard listed the Heat as one of his preferred destinations if he does get traded.

Heat Notes: Vincent, Lillard, Robinson, Undrafted Players

Gabe Vincent showed Heat teammate Bam Adebayo that he could handle a starring role during an exhibition game in the summer of 2021, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. In what was expected to be an easy tune-up for Team USA as it prepared for the Olympics, Vincent scored 21 points as Nigeria surprised the Americans.

“Man, when he torched us in the Olympics, in the exhibition game facing Nigeria,” Adebayo said. “He came out with that type of energy, that type of voracity and that type of anger. I felt like, from there, he’s one of us.”

It took a while for Vincent to make his breakthrough in Miami, but it happened when Kyle Lowry was sidelined for a few games with knee soreness earlier this season. Vincent stepped into the starting point guard role and has kept it through the NBA Finals.

“Our stars, Jimmy (Butler), Kyle, Bam, they have just been in my ear and telling me just to play, play basketball,” he said. “They trust my IQ of the game, and they want me just to go out there and play hard.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • In an appearance on Showtime’s “The Last Stand,” Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard names the Heat as one of the teams he would consider if he ever decides to ask for a trade, relays Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. “Miami obviously,” Lillard said. “Miami is the obvious one. And Bam is my dog. Bam is my dog for real. Miami is the obvious one. Brooklyn is another obvious one, because Mikal Bridges is my dog too.”
  • Duncan Robinson has been able to salvage his season after falling out of the rotation for a while, notes William Guillory of The Athletic. Robinson said he had to focus on incremental improvement every day as he tried to regain coach Erik Spoelstra’s trust. He provided a huge momentum shift in Miami’s Game 2 win with 10 points in a little over two minutes at the start of the fourth quarter. “We knew they were a really good team and we just needed to come out with a sense of urgency in that fourth,” Robinson said. “It was kind of like a now or never sort of thing.”
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic is the latest analyst to examine the Heat’s penchant for finding productive undrafted players. He notes that many of Miami’s G League finds began their careers with other organizations, adding that team president Pat Riley showed the same ability to uncover undrafted gems in New York.

Heat Notes: Butler, Shooters, Riley, Love

All-NBA forward Jimmy Butler had a fairly modest showing in the Heat‘s 103-94 Game 1 loss to the Nuggets, scoring 13 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the floor. He also chipped in seven rebounds, seven assists, a steal and a block in 38 minutes of action.

As William Guillory of The Athletic writes, the Heat need Butler to return to his “Playoff Jimmy” mode, the unstoppable force that propelled Miami to its second NBA Finals berth in his first four years with the team.

“I just think I’ve got to do a better job of getting the ball, demanding the ball, being more aggressive,” Butler reflected following a team practice Saturday. “Yes, they do have some really good defenders, but I have seen really good defenders before.”

Guillory notes that Butler averaged 29.9 PPG on 50.5% shooting from the floor, along with 5.6 APG, across his first 14 playoff games in this run. His shooting output has taken a significant dip across the most recent four contests. In those games, the 6’7″ wing has averaged 19.8 PPG on 38.4% shooting from the floor, plus 6.5 APG.

There’s more out of Miami:

  • A more assertive scoring night in Game 2 from Butler will unlock the team’s shooters following a lackluster Game 1 turn, opines Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. “They definitely follow suit whenever I’m aggressive on both sides of the ball,” Butler said. “So I have to be the one to come out and kick that off the right way, which I will, and we’ll see where we end up.” Miami swingmen Max Strus and Duncan Robinson shot 1-of-14 from the floor on Thursday.
  • Heat president Pat Riley remains hungry to win his 10th NBA title at age 78. He has won as a player, an assistant coach, a head coach and in his current role as front office leader. Several of Riley’s peers spoke to Josh Peter of USA Today about what drives the Hall of Famer. “You can see his fingerprints over all the stuff they’re doing down there,” Riley’s former Lakers teammate and colleague Jerry West told Peter. “I mean, they’re never going to quit and they’re never going to die.”
  • Heat power forward Kevin Love has had an up-and-down postseason run, shifting from a starting gig as recently as Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals to his third straight healthy scratch in Game 1 of the Finals. As Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald writes, the 34-year-old is trying to remain prepared, whatever the role. “For me, what I’m doing is just staying ready,” Love said. “But certainly, the Nuggets are a very big team. You saw it in the first two rounds, how we matched up against both New York and Milwaukee. I think the luxury is I’ll be sitting there waiting. If my number is called, great. If not, I’m going to support these guys the best I can.” Love is appearing in his fifth NBA Finals, after starting in four straight for the Cavaliers from 2015-18.

Heat Notes: Love, Adebayo, Westbrook, Yurtseven, O. Robinson

Heat players are excited about the prospect of adding Kevin Love to their current roster, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Miami is considered to be the frontrunner to sign the veteran big man once he clears waivers, with a source telling Chiang that Love is intrigued by the possibility of regular playing time and the chance to team up with veteran stars Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler.

Adebayo and Tyler Herro both received questions about Love on Saturday during All-Star Weekend media sessions. In addition to the talent upgrade, they pointed out that Love would bring plenty of postseason experience.

“Anytime we can get somebody the caliber of Kevin Love, he’s played in so many big games, so many big playoff runs and he’s experienced,” Herro said. “He’s been there before. Getting a guy like that, we’ve seen what we can do if we add veteran players like that midway through the season. Usually that leads to good runs and long playoff runs for us as a team.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Adebayo is in the second season of a five-year extension, and team president Pat Riley hopes to keep in him Miami long after that contract expires, Chiang notes in a separate story. Riley sees the 25-year-old center as a franchise cornerstone and a candidate to spend his entire career with the Heat. “It’s been a blessing to have him,” Riley said. “I go back to (Alonzo Mourning) and ‘Zo was a franchise face and then Dwyane (Wade) along with Udonis (Haslem), and now I look at Bam the same way because of longevity. I see Bam here, I hope, for his whole career.”
  • Miami is considered a potential destination for Russell Westbrook if he pursues a buyout with the Jazz, but the feedback Heat officials have gotten while investigating Westbrook has been “mixed” at best, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Jackson hears that the team expects Kyle Lowry to be productive once he returns from his knee issues, so adding a big man is a greater priority than finding a point guard.
  • The Heat are facing a decision between Omer Yurtseven and Orlando Robinson, not only for backup center minutes for the rest of the season, but probably in offseason contract talks as well, per Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Yurtseven, who is still awaiting his season debut after undergoing ankle surgery in November, has an expiring contract and can be made a restricted free agent with a $2.2MM qualifying offer. Robinson can only be active for four more games on his two-way contract and would have to be converted to a standard deal to play beyond that.

Heat Notes: Dedmon, Oladipo, Highsmith, Vincent

Heat reserve big man Dewayne Dedmon spoke to reporters on Saturday for the first time about his recent suspension, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Dedmon was suspended for one game by the team after getting into an argument with coaches on the sidelines and swatting a massage gun onto the court during play.

“I talked with [head coach Erik Spoelstra], talked with [team president Pat Riley], talked with my team, made sure we were all on the same page,” Dedmon said. “And we’re ready to move on from it… Sometimes it gets the best of you. But it’s basketball. We’re all competitors in this locker room, we all want to play and we all want to win. So that’s all that is.”

Chiang notes that Dedmon has lost his rotation spot as Bam Adebayo‘s primary backup as of late to undrafted rookie center Orlando Robinson.

There’s more out of Miami:

  • The role Heat guard Victor Oladipo is playing as a defensive spark plug off the bench is exactly what Spoelstra had wanted the former All-Star to achieve prior to the regular season, per Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (subscriber-only link). “It’s what we envisioned,” Spoelstra said. “At the start of training camp, that’s the role we slotted for him.”
  • Heat reserve big Haywood Highsmith has performed well with starting power forward Caleb Martin injured, but Winderman notes in a recent mailbag (subscriber exclusive) that he is unsure if Highsmith will earn rotation minutes once everyone is healthy.
  • Spoelstra believes Heat swingman Gabe Vincent has evolved into a solid 3-and-D guard capable of playing either backcourt position this season, Chiang writes in another article. “He has the emotional stability to handle different roles that not every player in this league can accept,” Spoelstra raved. “He can play off the ball, he can play on the ball, he can play as a little bit more a scorer, he can be more of a facilitator if we have our full health. Those kind of guys are so invaluable in this league.”