Jimmy Butler recently signed a four-year, $184 million extension with the Miami Heat. The deal will keep him under contract through the 2025-26 season. It’s the latest chapter in Butler’s incredible story, from growing up homeless to becoming one of the best and wealthiest players in the NBA.
A five-time All-Star, Butler began his career with the Chicago Bulls. During his stint in the Windy City, he once vowed never to wear a Heat jersey, the uniform he will likely end his career in.
Jimmy Butler said he would never wear a Heat jersey
In 2013, Butler told a magazine that he would never wear a Heat jersey. The Bulls and Heat had an intense rivalry back in the day, and Butler presumably hated everything about the Miami organization.
Butler wasn’t on the Bulls team that lost to the Heat in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals. However, he was on the squad that ended Miami’s 27-game winning streak during the 2012-13 season. The two teams met in the second round of the 2013 playoffs as well, with the Heat winning in five games.
Butler lasted six seasons in Chicago before getting traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves on draft night in 2017. After 69 games with the Timberwolves, he was dealt to the Philadelphia 76ers following his trade request. The 2014-15 Most Improved Player of the Year played 55 games with the Sixers before getting traded again, this time to the Heat in a sign-and-trade deal.
He may have said in 2013 that he would never wear a Heat jersey, but Butler began to envision himself in Miami after witnessing Dwyane Wade‘s final home game in South Beach on April 9, 2019.
Jimmy Butler’s mind was reportedly blown by all the pomp and circumstance surrounding Dwyane Wade’s last home game
The Sixers played the Heat in Wade’s final game in Miami in 2019. According to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press, Butler’s mind was totally blown by all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the contest. That may have been the night when Butler decided he wanted to play for the Heat and follow in Wade’s footsteps.
In the summer of 2019, Butler signed a four-year, $140 million deal with the Heat as part of a sign-and-trade deal with the Sixers. The talented swingman led Miami to the 2020 Finals in his first year with the club and seemingly found a home after playing for the Bulls, Timberwolves, and Sixers.
Although the Heat lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2020 Finals and got swept by the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the 2021 playoffs, Butler loves playing for Miami, which is why he wasted no time in signing his extension. The rugged defender is looking forward to the 2021-22 season, especially since one of his closest friends will be his new point guard.
Heat acquired Kyle Lowry
“I’m glad to have my guy with me,” Butler said after signing his extension. “He’s been a good friend of mine for years and years. I’m excited and happy about it.”
Lowry and Butler will try and lead the Heat to their fourth title in franchise history next season. It’s still pretty remarkable that the latter is the franchise player in Miami since it wasn’t too long ago that he said he would never don a Heat jersey. It just goes to show that change is the only constant in the NBA.