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Will Jimmy Butler Stay or Leave Miami

After Jimmy Butler’s injury to begin the play-in tournament against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Heat lost in 5 games to the 1-seed Boston Celtics, ending their season. This season will be remembered for “what if” because of all the injuries, but now the internet is buzzing about a potential divorce between Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat.

Mainly, reports suggest the Philadelphia 76ers want to offer Butler a max contract to come back to Philadelphia. When I begin to mention, that’s obvious. Several NBA teams would be willing to offer a player of Butler’s caliber a high-dollar contract, even if he’ll be 35 by the new league year.

Just because the 76ers are interested, does not mean Jimmy Butler is. Butler can be petty and hold a grudge. Butler remembers the 76ers opted to pay Tobias Harris instead of him, and in hindsight, that was the wrong idea. Butler always plays his best games against the 76ers because of how his tenure in Philadelphia ended. So why would he go back to the team who bet against him, when he could stay with the team that built around him for the last 5 years?


Now for Miami’s perspective. What does Jimmy Butler add at this stage of his career? Is he worth keeping around? Is he worth the money?

Since he arrived in 2019, Butler has hovered around 20 PPG, 6 RPG, and over 5 APG in Miami. Most importantly, he has willed his team forward in two improbable runs to the NBA Finals. Butler did this once with a young team during the pandemic in front of no fans in 2020 against the Lakers, the next time as a play-in team against the Nuggets last year. But some would argue playing deep into the postseason and having nothing to go in the trophy case would be cause to unload Butler and build around someone new.

Could you replace the production aspect? Perhaps. This past season, Butler ranked 35th in PPG (20.8), 41st in APG (5.0), and 70th in RPG (5.3). Technically, those numbers don’t scream All-Star or team #1 option. There are several players above him in those statistical categories who will test free agency in the coming years and they could look at Miami as a top destination. Playing for Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra, a winning culture, no state tax, and nice weather are all alluring amenities when playing for the Heat.

Could you get younger at the position? Players are coming into the NBA through the Draft who are more talented, more athletic, and have more upside at this point in their journey as opposed to Butler. You could find the next star in the NBA Draft. The Heat have proven to draft well by acquiring Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, and Jaime Jaquez Jr. all on draft night. Jaquez Jr. even scored an All-NBA rookie first-team spot this year in a deep class, alongside Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren. Maybe it is time to get someone younger and with more tread on the tires.

But can you replace the heart? The energy Butler brings to the team? Absolutely not.

Jimmy Butler made headlines a few weeks ago when he mentioned if he was on the court, the Heat team would have beat the Celtics. It’s a “what if” game, but not out of the question. Butler willed a very identical team last year to beat the 1-seed Bucks, the Knicks, and the 2-seed Celtics in route to the NBA Finals. Without Butler on the court against Boston this year, the team looked completely different and presented a vastly different energy.

When you have established the heart and soul of the team, it’s not easily replaceable or interchangeable. Unfortunately, we saw a glimpse of what a Jimmy-less Miami Heat team looks like, and it doesn’t look pretty.

Butler’s injury and age doesn’t lose leverage in the contract negotiations. If anything, the injury gave Butler ammunition to go to the table. Do you want to watch the Miami Heat on ESPN or TNT without Jimmy Butler? I don’t, and I’m sure Erik Spoelstra doesn’t want to coach a team without Jimmy Butler.

When you find men who fit the Miami Heat culture, you keep them around. Udonis Haslem is still involved with the team as a retired player. It would be a shame if Butler moved on to another team.

So ignore all the tweets, all the clickbait posts. I’m telling you, Jimmy Butler will be on the Miami Heat this upcoming season.


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