May 7, 2024 - News

Jimmy Butler wants a new contract. Heat have concerns

Pat Riley and Jimmy Butler holding his jersey.

Jimmy Butler poses for a photo with Miami Heat president Pat Riley during his introductory press conference. Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Tensions seem to be rising between the Miami Heat and their best player after the team was sent home early from the playoffs last week.

Why it matters: All-Star forward Jimmy Butler is seeking a contract extension this offseason, per the Miami Herald.

  • But team leadership has expressed concerns over his availability to play in games and recent comments about the team's playoff defeat.

Catch up fast: Butler, one of the greatest Heat players of all time, missed the first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics due to an MCL sprain.

  • Boston eliminated Miami 4-1.

The latest: At a press conference this week, Heat president Pat Riley said the team was not presently considering trading Butler but had not discussed extending his contract either, per The Athletic.

  • "That's a big decision on our part to commit those kinds of resources unless you're somebody who's really going to be there, available every single night," Riley said. "That's the truth."
  • Riley said player availability across the roster is the team's biggest issue, though he emphasized he wasn't accusing players of missing games when healthy.

Butler, 34, is expected to request a two-year contract extension worth about $113 million this summer, per the Herald, but Riley said the team doesn't have to act until 2025.

Friction point: Riley also took aim at Butler's claim that the Heat would have beaten the Celtics if he were healthy.

Riley's response: "For him to say that, I thought, 'Is that Jimmy trolling or is that Jimmy serious?'"

  • "If you're not on the court playing against Boston, if you're not on the court playing against the New York Knicks, you should keep your mouth shut in your criticism of those teams."

The other side: Butler's agent, Bernie Lee, said the 22 games Butler missed last season were all for "valid issues and concerns," per the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

  • "The thought that Jimmy is picking and choosing when to play isn't reality," Lee said.
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