Kyle Lowry: Jimmy Butler's Recruiting Was Instrumental in Decision to Join HeatAugust 6, 2021
Jimmy Butler doesn't have the "general manager" title next to his name, though he might deserve it after helping the Miami Heat land one of the biggest free agents of the summer.
Speaking to reporters Friday after a sign-and-trade for Goran Dragic and Prescious Achiuwa ended his stint with the Toronto Raptors, point guard Kyle Lowry explained it was Butler who convinced him to team up in South Beach.
"Jimmy and I go back a ways," Lowry said. "Me and Jimmy, we talked about this for a long time now. He continued to chirp about it. He was really on me about coming to the Heat."
Lowry agreed to a three-year, $85 million deal to join Butler and Bam Adebayo as part of Miami's core.
The explanation of how he ended up in Miami may be why potential suitors seemed to pull back from trying to sign him when the free-agency moratorium period opened Monday. The Dallas Mavericks were considered a top option for the veteran before reportedly scrapping that plan.
For years, it was Butler who was being traded and recruited elsewhere. After ascending with the Chicago Bulls, failed stints with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers gave way to the Marquette product landing in Miami through his own sign-and-trade in July 2019.
The 35-year-old Lowry isn't coming off his strongest season. Over 46 games in 2020-21, he averaged 17.2 points, 7.3 assists and 5.4 rebounds. He hasn't averaged more than 20 points per game since 2016-17. But he shot a solid 43.6 percent from the field (the second-highest rate for his career) and 39.6 percent from beyond the arc (third-highest).
While the Raptors missed the playoffs last season, that doesn't mean leaving Toronto was an easy decision. Along with Kawhi Leonard, Lowry won the 2018-19 championship there. He's also made all six of his All-Star appearances as a Raptor and spent nine seasons with the franchise.
Now the Lowry and Butler—along with Adebayo—will get to work to prove they can become a force in the Eastern Conference a year after the Heat were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Milwaukee Bucks.