Shams: Jimmy Butler Had 'Very Testy Moments' with Heat During 2020-21 Season

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIMay 21, 2021

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 13: Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat is defended by Danny Green #14 of the Philadelphia 76ers during the first quarter at American Airlines Arena on May 13, 2021 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

On the eve of the Miami Heat's playoff-opening game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic reported that forward Jimmy Butler has had "very, very testy moments" with his team's coaching staff and roster this year.

NBA Central @TheNBACentral

"I'm told there has been very, very testy moments behind the scenes between Jimmy, that coaching staff and the roster at different points."<br><br>- @ShamsCharania on Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat<br><br>(Via @Stadium | h/t @AhnFireDigital ) <br><br> pic.twitter.com/rBSElK1n1E

Bernard Lee, who represents Butler, strongly denied the report:

Bernard Lee @BernieoLee

Shut the f*ck up you click bait, ambulance chasing, dirt bag piece of sh*t. No one has told you this because this is not reality. Go find someone’s assistant to text abt an MRI or some other human calamity you want to be 1st on. We are good over here. https://t.co/ER5iAkk0J8

Regardless of what is or isn't going on behind the scenes, there's no denying the significant impact Butler has had on the court.

During the 2019 offseason, Butler signed a four-year, $140.8 million contract with the Philadelphia 76ers, who dealt him to the Heat in a sign-and-trade.

Under Butler's leadership, the Heat improved from 39-43 the year before to 44-29, good for the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Butler earned his fifth All-Star Game appearance in 2019-20 as well.

Miami then rolled to the NBA Finals after going 12-3 in the first three rounds of the postseason, defeating the higher-seeded Indiana Pacers, Bucks and Boston Celtics. The Heat fell to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games in the Finals.

This year, Butler averaged 21.5 points, 7.1 assists, 6.9 rebounds and 2.1 steals for a team that went 40-32 despite numerous absences from key members of the rotation.

Butler was among them, missing 20 games, but he finished fifth in the NBA with 9.3 win shares, per Basketball Reference. Miami went 33-19 with Butler on the court and 7-13 without him.

The Heat will be starting their 2021 playoff run against the third-seeded Bucks at Fiserv Forum at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday.