Though he had success at all three stops, Butler reportedly was a locker room cancer with the Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Philadelphia 76ers. When he signed with the Heat in the summer of 2019, many pundits questioned the fit since the Texas native was joining a franchise that didn’t tolerate nonsense behind the scenes.
However, Butler has fit in perfectly with the Heat, leading them to the Finals in his first season and becoming the leader they needed in the post-Dwyane Wade era. His rugged style of play and personality is exactly what Pat Riley was looking for, but even the Godfather didn’t know Butler’s agent was pugnacious as well.
Jimmy Butler went toe to toe with LeBron James in the 2020 Finals
Butler put on his Superman cape in the 2020 Finals against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. In the six-game series, he averaged 26.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 9.8 assists while shooting 55.2% from the field, 30.8% from beyond the arc, and 88.8% from the free-throw line.
In Games 3 and 5, Butler recorded a triple-double while playing over 44 minutes. He didn’t back down from LeBron or Anthony Davis and put the Heat on his back since fellow stars Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo didn’t play in every game of the series due to injury.
Even though the Heat lost the Finals, Butler proved to all of his naysayers he has the potential of being the best player on a championship team. Miami was expected to be a top-four team in the Eastern Conference in 2020-21 after their magical Finals run. However, injuries and COVID-19 bouts plagued them.
A strong second half helped the Heat finish in the sixth spot in the East, setting up a clash with the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the 2021 playoffs. NBA fans were excited to see Butler and two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo battle each other again.
Before Game 1 of the Bucks-Heat series, NBA reporter Shams Charania reported some tidbits he heard from his sources within the Miami organization. Usually, these reports are ignored by players and their reps, but Butler’s agent isn’t your normal player representative.
Jimmy Butler’s agent destroys Shams Charania
Charania reported that there have been some testy moments behind the scenes between Butler and the Heat coaching staff this season. Since the All-Star swingman had issues in Chicago, Minnesota, and Philadelphia, Shams’ report didn’t shock many people.
However, one person took exception to Charania’s report, and it was none other than Butler’s agent, Bernard Lee. Just like the Heat superstar, Lee isn’t shy, and he made it known to the NBA world that Charania’s report was false by going on an expletive-laced rant on Twitter.
It makes sense that Butler is represented by a guy who is just as fiery and unapologetic as him. The manner in which Lee responded to Charania’s report also seems like he’s had previous issues with the reporter’s work.
Can the Heat eliminate the Bucks again?
The Heat beat the Bucks in five games in the second round of the 2020 playoffs at the Walt Disney World bubble. Butler has had success against Antetokounmpo in the past and isn’t scared of the Greek Freak.
However, this year’s Milwaukee team is different with Jrue Holiday and Bobby Portis in the fold and Khris Middleton being more experienced. They defeated the Heat in Game 1 of their first-round series on a Middleton jumper with 0.5 seconds left in overtime. Though he tied the game at the end of regulation, Butler had a terrible shooting night, going only 4-of-22 from the field.
For the Heat to come back and win this series, Butler has to play better on offense. It will be interesting to see how he bounces back after his dreadful Game 1 performance.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.