Jimmy Butler Praises Heat for Making Him Feel 'Wanted' and 'Appreciated'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 15, 2020

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) brings the ball up court in the first half during an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

On the heels of a few tumultuous seasons, Miami Heat All-Star Jimmy Butler said Saturday that he is happy in his current situation.

During an interview with NBA TV on Saturday, Butler said that the Heat have made him feel "wanted" and "appreciated" since acquiring him in a sign-and-trade with the Philadelphia 76ers during the offseason:

Butler added: "I feel that, everybody on our roster feels that, and I think that's why we're so happy. And that's why we're winning. We're in this thing together and we love playing with one another. There's no agendas in this organization. Now it's about winning a championship and it always will be about winning a ring."

Butler, who had previous stints with the Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves and 76ers, was named an All-Star for the fifth time in his career this season.

The Bulls selected Butler with the No. 30 overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft, and he developed into a star with the team. He averaged 20 points per game or better in each of his final three seasons with the Bulls and was named the NBA's Most Improved Player in 2014-15.

Butler's tenure in Chicago didn't end in ideal fashion, however, as he was dealt to the Timberwolves after the two sides were unable to come to terms on a contract extension.

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Butler helped the T-Wolves end a 13-year playoff drought in his first season with the team, but it quickly became apparent entering the following season that he had no interest in remaining with the organization.

After appearing in 10 games for Minnesota last season, Butler was traded to the Sixers. Butler helped Philly reach the second round of the playoffs, but he wasn't the go-to guy, and it was clear that he desired to be in that role.

The Heat were willing to give him that and a big contract, so Miami was the perfect fit, and that has held true during his first season with the team.

Butler is averaging 20.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 6.1 assists in what has arguably been the best season of his career. Also, the Heat are fourth in the Eastern Conference at 35-19 after missing the playoffs last season.

Butler's presence has had a positive impact on the entire team, as big man Bam Adebayo has developed into an All-Star as well, and young guards Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro have been big-time contributors.

With that core, plus the acquisition of veteran wing Andre Iguodala from the Memphis Grizzlies ahead of the trade deadline, the Heat have all the pieces to be a threat in the Eastern Conference during the playoffs.