Heat's Jimmy Butler on How Dwyane Wade Recruited Him, If He's an A-Hole and More

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 27, 2019

TORONTO, CANADA - MAY 12:  Jimmy Butler #23 of the Philadelphia 76ers speaks with the media after Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Toronto Raptors on May 12, 2019 at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  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 2019 NBAE (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)
Ron Turenne/Getty Images

The Miami Heat held an introductory press conference Friday for All-Star forward Jimmy Butler, who arrived to the team as part of a sign-and-trade deal with the Philadelphia 76ers in July. 

Butler's reputation was tarnished by his exit from the Minnesota Timberwolves last season, which included a trade demand and an infamous practice session last October during which he took aim at teammates, general manager Scott Layden and head coach Tom Thibodeau, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The 30-year-old Houston native addressed the outside view of him Friday:

Ethan J. Skolnick @EthanJSkolnick

“I don’t think I’m an asshole like everyone thinks I am.” — Jimmy Butler @5ReasonsSports https://t.co/HqEYSxoA4R

Butler said Dwyane Wade, the Heat legend who retired after the 2018-19 campaign, played a key role in convincing him to join Miami in the offseason.

"No. 3 was like 'This Culture fits you,'" Butler told reporters. "It's been great. Everybody here wants everyone to be better. To be great."

He added: "I've seen it over the years how the fans embraced [Wade] and I wanted to be apart of it. I want to make that happen again. ... I just want to pick up where he left off."

Butler explained he wants to create an environment where every member of the Heat possesses his edgy style, and he's already witnessed a few players with a similar vibe.

"He's always got shit to say," he said about rookie Tyler Herro. "I love that kid."

Justise Winslow received similar praise, with Butler saying "he's smart, he's aggressive [and] he damn sure doesn't back down from anybody."

The Heat head into the campaign tied for the fifth-best odds to win the Eastern Conference with a +1,400 betting line, the same as the Indiana Pacers, per Caesars Sportsbook. They trail the Milwaukee Bucks (-125), Sixers (+150), Boston Celtics (+700) and Brooklyn Nets (+1,000).

Although Miami can't yet match the talent level of those teams, Butler is clearly trying to help a tough, physical squad that's build to succeed in the playoffs.


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