Kyle Lowry: Jimmy Butler's Recruiting Was Instrumental in Decision to Join Heat

Blake SchusterContributor IAugust 6, 2021

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 16: Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat and Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors speak during the 2020 Jr. NBA 3v3 All-Star Tournament on February 16, 2020 at Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Kevin Tanaka/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kevin Tanaka/NBAE via Getty Images

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."

Ira Winderman @IraHeatBeat

Kyle Lowry said he had free-agency alternatives, but, "Miami was the place to be."

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). 

Ira Winderman @IraHeatBeat

"Fiery, that's how it's going to be on the court every day," Kyle Lowry on playing alongside Jimmy Butler.

Ira Winderman @IraHeatBeat

Kyle Lowry on the Heat's remix, "On paper it looks great, but we gotta put it together on the floor. If you don't find a way to put it together, it don't mean jack. It could look good, feel good, sound good, but you've gotta do it."

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.

Josh Lewenberg @JLew1050

Kyle Lowry: "I'm not looking forward to that first game back (in Toronto) because I know I'm going to get a tribute and I know I'm going to cry."

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.