The nine-year veteran posted 18.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 55 games last year for the Philadelphia 76ers, who acquired the four-time All-Star from the Minnesota Timberwolves on Nov. 12.
He was a solid addition to a 76ers team that finished third in the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately, Butler has also suffered numerous injuries, including back tightness that kept him out for a few games in April. The ex-Chicago Bull also missed time with a sprained right wrist and a strained groin.
Without Butler, the Heat may struggle to find a No. 1 scoring option, especially with shooting guard Dion Waiters being suspended for the opener for conduct detrimental to the team.
Justise Winslow is a prime candidate to take on a bigger role in the absence of Butler and Waiters. The 23-year-old forward, who is also capable of running the point, is coming off a season in which he averaged career highs in both scoring (12.6 points per game) and assists (4.3 per game).
Ultimately, Butler's absence is massive for the Heat, who brought him in as their franchise player and star this offseason. The team will be hard-pressed to find success without him, although Spoelstra has led overachieving Heat squads who've been hit hard by injury in the past.