Shams: Jimmy Butler Had 'Very Testy Moments' with Heat During 2020-21 SeasonMay 21, 2021
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:
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.