New Heat swingman Jimmy Butler hasn’t been around his new teammates very long. But he already has a positive impression of several of them.
Among his early thoughts:
▪ On Justise Winslow and whether he reminds Butler of himself at a younger age in terms of his ability to play on and off the ball:
“What is a point guard nowadays? Anybody can bring the ball up the court and initiate offense. I think we have so many guys that can be a “point guard” because they can make other guys [better]. It’s just making everybody happy, making everybody OK with their role. I like Justise in that position. He’s smart. He’s aggressive. He can guard. He can switch with anybody. He damn sure doesn’t back down from anybody.”
▪ On Tyler Herro: “Tyler, man, that kid has some [expletive] to him. He always has something to say and I respect it because that shows me he’s got that fight. He’s not backing down from anybody whether you’re on his team in practice or against him.”
▪ On Bam Adebayo: He likes “just how hard he plays, the motor, how personable he is, always talking.”
▪ On Duncan Robinson: “I saw the other day Duncan can shoot the hell out of the ball. Incredible shooter. Being around him, you’d think that he was quiet but he’s not. He’s yapping as well, which I like.
“That just puts a battery in my back and gives me free reign to go at everybody. I’m loving it here. Everybody talks. Nobody takes anything personal. It’s all about winning. We compete. We do a lot of talking.”
As we’ve reported, the Washington Wizards - at this point - are unwilling to trade potential 2021 free agent guard Bradley Beal, and the Heat and Oklahoma City do not see eye-to-eye on a potential Chris Paul trade.
But there is a way the Heat ultimately could acquire both in a way that OKC finds acceptable and would not require Paul to opt out of the $44 million he’s due in 2021-22.
The key, of course, would be first getting Washington to trade Beal, which wouldn’t happen unless they believes he’s not likely to re-sign with the Wizards.
Keep in mind that the Heat must remain below the $138.9 million hard cap for the remainder of the league year.
The most realistic scenario for a Heat Beal/Paul trade combo: Beal conveys to the Wizards before next February’s trade deadline that he does not intend to stay with the team beyond the expiration of his contract. Miami then goes to Washington and OKC with simultaneous offers.
The Heat would agree to acquire Paul - who has three years and $124 million left on his contract - in exchange for the expiring contracts of Goran Dragic and Meyers Leonard plus James Johnson, but on the condition that OKC does something that ESPN’s Brian Windhorst has said it is willing to do -- give the Heat back one of its picks (2021 or 2023) in exchange for a future pick.
If Miami got back its 2021 first-rounder in such a scenario - while giving OKC a future pick - the Heat then would be allowed, within NBA rules, to include its 2020 first-round pick (something that’s not permitted otherwise) in a proposal for Beal.
Miami then could offer Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters, the 2020 first-round pick and Tyler Herro for Beal. And if that’s not enough, Miami could ask OKC for a second first-round pick that would be eligible to be traded to Washington.
It would be difficult to give up Herro, but very likely necessary to compete with teams that could offer two first-round picks and similar young talent, with Denver among those positioned to make an attractive offer.
Those two trades would leave the Heat with $127.7 million in commitments for Beal, Paul, Jimmy Butler, Kelly Olynyk, Bam Adebayo, Udonis Haslem, Derrick Jones Jr., Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson and KZ Okpala, plus Ryan Anderson’s dead money hit.
Miami could use the remaining space under the hard cap to fill out its roster, either by absorbing a small contract before the trade deadline or signing players to minimum deals.
The negative for OKC would likely be a tax bill topping $10 million this season and needing to pay James Johnson $16 million in 2020-21. The positive for the Thunder, in this scenario, would be OKC would rid itself of the final 2 1/2 years of Paul’s deal and wouldn’t need to give the Heat back any draft picks without getting one back.
But for Miami, there’s absolutely no point in doing the Paul deal under these terms unless that extra first-round pick is needed to entice the Wizards to trade Beal to Miami. So if there’s no agreement on Beal, you don’t do this Paul deal under this scenario.
But the combination of deals, in tandem, would leave a strong nucleus of Butler, Beal, Paul, Adebayo and Olynyk.
▪ Butler, 30, said Friday he would consider joining Team USA for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, if asked.
”Most definitely,” Butler said. “If I’m ready to go, which I think that I would be, I’ll have no problem going over there and doing that. When that time gets here, we’ll see what we got.”
▪ With the 76ers in town to take on the Heat in the final home game of Dwyane Wade’s career on April 9, Butler was able to witness firsthand just how much South Florida appreciated Wade. Butler said that experience left a mark on him.
”The fans here are amazing. Obviously, for that particular individual, it was always special and just seeing him go out on his terms,” Butler said. “It was incredible. We laughed and we joked throughout the whole game. But just seeing him compete at a high level was phenomenal. But the fans embraced him, the way that he worked, the person he was, obviously the player he was, all the winning that he has done. I want to be a part of it.”
During that April stay in Miami, Butler also took a tour through Little Havana.
Of his first impression of Miami, Butler said: “The experience with the people is what I love more than anything because I love people. Miami has a lot of different people. A lot of different cultures which I want to figure out and learn more about. I like talking to people only because I think everybody has their own unique story.
“And here you can learn a lot about the city and what makes this city so unique and so special are the people. As you see me in the community, see me out at a restaurant, I want to talk. I’ll probably talk more than you want to talk. So come on up. Let’s do it.”
Here’s everything of note Pat Riley said during his news conference today.