Since Jimmy Butler signed with the Heat in early July, there’s one part of his daily routine that has caught the attention of his coaches and teammates.
Butler wakes up early. Real early.
The four-time All-Star woke up at 3:30 a.m. for the Heat’s first training camp practice Tuesday at Keiser University. The team did not begin practice until 10 a.m., so Butler got an early workout in.
“Just a little extra work while y’all in your third dream. I like to get it in,” Butler said with a grin.
Then his first practice as a member of the Heat was everything he expected.
“Everybody is helping, everybody is talking,” Butler said Tuesday after the Heat’s first session of two-a-days. “A group full of leaders, and everybody is leading in different ways. They’re helping me way more than I can help them at this point in time.
“I like it because everybody has something to say. I’m probably the first one that has something to say. But I’m telling you, we compete. We got some dogs. We want to fight. I know if we can battle against one another, when the time presents itself to battle against an opposing team, it’s going to be even easier.”
Butler became the Heat’s highest-paid player when he signed a four-year, $142 million maximum contract this summer. He is already making his presence known.
“Jimmy brings intensity to this team. He’s a great player, great teammate. He was talking a lot,” point guard Goran Dragic said of his impression of Butler after the first practice. “For him, we’re going to have to develop team chemistry. I’m expecting a lot of things from him and from this team.”
Veteran forward Udonis Haslem, who has served as a Heat captain in each of the past 12 seasons, sees Butler as another player who can lead.
“For me, it helps me just to have a guy on the court that translates the same message as myself, that has the same intensity of myself and is going to require guys to play at his level,” Haslem said.
THIS AND THAT
▪ On Heat rookie Tyler Herro’s first practice, coach Erik Spoelstra said Tuesday: “He was out there, in the losing end of the scrimmage, but he was out there. He’s not afraid of this. He’s competitive, and he loves the live stuff. He’s making us watch. That’s what you have to start with. That’s the only thing you can earn right now, make the head coach watch you.”
▪ During a session with reporters at the Trail Blazers’ media day Monday, former Heat center Hassan Whiteside was asked about his transition from Miami to Portland.
“It don’t matter where you live if you’re not happy on the court,” said Whiteside, who was traded to the Trail Blazers this offseason as part of the four-team deal that brought Butler to the Heat. “This is a place I wanted to come. I wanted to come here for years. So when I finally was able to come here, I really didn’t care about nothing else but basketball.”
As far as Whiteside’s fit with the Trail Blazers, he said: “Coming out here and being that I can really get the ball more, be able to facilitate and be a better play maker. Not just catch lobs, stand in the paint, try to rebound. They’re actually letting me make plays. I’m getting the ball at the elbow, at the top of the key, and being able to pass and make decisions. That’s something I always wanted to do.”