The summer of 2019 was full of movement across the league that saw many of the biggest names decide to join new teams. One of which was All-Star forward Jimmy Butler choosing to commit to the Miami Heat in free agency through a blockbuster sign-and-trade deal. It’s a move that hasn’t received a tremendous amount of attention but has made a significant impact on the Heat so far this season. With that in mind, Butler has recently aired his feelings about the entire situation.
Rollercoaster ride for Jimmy Butler
Before this season, it had been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride for Butler, with him making his way around the league.
Following a bumpy final go-around with the Chicago Bulls, he was shipped to the Minnesota Timberwolves ahead of the 2017-18 campaign. He spent just over a season with the franchise that included helping to snap their 13-year absence from the playoffs before he was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in the early goings of last season.
Butler had made it clear that he had some strong interest in staying with the 76ers, given their strong core group of talent that had lifted them to be a legitimate title contender in the Eastern Conference. However, the two sides were unable to work it out, leading him to join the Heat this past July on a max contract.
Things have quieted on that front, but Butler has recently chimed in on his feelings towards the public perception of his move.
Jimmy Butler annoyed by lack of respect for his talent
At the start of the free agency period, it was quite evident that Butler had some strong interest in joining the Heat.
Things had quickly progressed towards an agreement, which there wasn’t a large amount of emphasis on the impact he could have on the franchise. During a recent interview with Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Butler voiced his frustration with the lack of respect for his talent and ability on the court.
“Mother——s act like I’m not a good basketball player,” Butler told Yahoo Sports. “Like for real. Just think about that. Like I can’t come in and make a huge difference. I’m not going to say ‘carry a team’ because nobody can do it by themselves and I mean that. I’m not putting it all on myself, but I know what I’m capable of. I know what I bring to any and all situations, and the group of guys that we have is the group of guys that I want to play with.
The proof has been in the pudding for Butler as he has been able to lead teams to the playoffs. He helped guide the Chicago Bulls to multiple playoff berths while he was the x-factor for the Timberwolves in guiding them back to the postseason behind his stellar all-around play.
That said, Butler is proving that he is that type of difference-maker behind the Heat’s hot start to the 2019-20 season.
Heat off to strong start
Miami’s addition of Butler had lifted the expectations towards them being a playoff team in the East.
However, the Heat have taken that a step further, winning five out of their first six games, which has them tied atop of the Eastern Conference with the 76ers. They have won their first three games at home while Butler has been the driving force on both ends of the court.
Although he has played just three games due to the birth of his child, his overall performance has helped set the tone. Butler’s offensive numbers are down at the moment averaging 14.0 points on 38.9% shooting, but he’s also putting up 7.3 assists, 7.0 rebounds and 4.3 steals per contest.
His offensive production will pick up at some point as he settles in further while excelling as their primary ball-handler with 20 assists in the last two games played. With the more playing time he has on the floor with his teammates, the more fluidity they will have on both ends of the floor.
Ultimately, this new chapter of his career is a chance for him to prove he deserves the recognition of being one of the league’s franchise-changing players.