Some Heat possibilities for 2023 NBA free agency

Via the Miami Herald:

The big priority of this Heat offseason is adding a star player who can take some of the scoring load off Jimmy Butler.

But what if the Heat could add two?

There is a path to the Heat acquiring both Portland’s Damian Lillard and Washington’s Bradley Beal, but it would require the cooperation of the Trail Blazers and the Wizards, as well as the two stars pushing their way to Miami.

Lillard hasn’t asked for a trade but has said the Heat would appeal to him if he does. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said this week that it seems like Portland will keep Lillard and that nothing is percolating on the trade front. But Lillard has left open the possibility of asking for a trade if the Blazers do not build their roster into a contender.

Heat win Game 2, tie NBA Finals 1-1 with Nuggets

The Heat tied the NBA Finals and had to overcome a monster 41-point effort from Nikola Jokic to do it. Gabe Vincent scored 23 points, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo each had 21 and Heat beat the Denver Nuggets 111-108 in Game 2 on Sunday night. “Our guys are competitors,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They love these kind of moments.” Evidently. They were down by as many as 15 points, down eight going into the fourth, and those numbers signified they were going to lose. Denver was 11-0 in these playoffs when leading by double digits at any point in a game, and 37-1 this season overall when leading by at least eight going into the fourth. – AP via

The Heat went up 11 early and led 26-23 at the end of the opening period. The Nuggets then went up 15 in the second period before the Heat closed within 57-51 at halftime. The Heat tied it 66-66 midway through the third quarter, but the Nuggets closed out the period on a 6-0 run to take an 83-75 lead into the fourth. – Sun Sentinel

A 3-pointer by Vincent with 10:10 to play then gave the Heat their first lead of the second half, at 86-85, as part of a 15-2 Heat run to open the fourth. “They came out in that fourth quarter with a huge sense of desperation, and we didn’t match that,” the Nuggets’ Malone said. The Heat then moved to their 107-95 lead with 3:39 to play on a Caleb Martin 3-pointer, with Denver trimming the deficit to 109-106 with 1:29 left on a basket by former University of Miami wing Bruce Brown. – Sun Sentinel

Just when you think Jimmy Butler is running on fumes, he summons enough to lift his team late. And Bam Adebayo was superb for the second game in a row. That helped offset 41 points by Nikola Jokic. After scoring a personal playoff-low 14 points in Game 1, Butler was again more of a facilitator than scorer through three quarters, missing all four of his shots in the third to go to the fourth with 13 points on 4-for-13 shooting. But after resting for the first four plus minutes of the fourth quarter, Butler delivered three big baskets — a three-pointer, a three-point play on a driving jumper and foul and a jumper. Butler — who closed with 21 points and 9 assists — has shot 41 percent and averaged 23 points in the past 10 playoff games, compared with 32 points on 55 percent in the first nine games. He shot only 7 for 19 but 5 for 5 on free throws Sunday after not getting to the line in Game 1. And Butler leads the NBA — by far — in clutch points during these playoffs, and he keeps coming through when needed. – Miami Herald

Now, while there will be a lot of discussion about Miami‘s shooting and its unsustainability, the Nuggets did not do themselves any favors in Game 2. Denver’s defensive disposition was poor to start the game. If you kept an eye on this space after Game 1, you’ll remember I complimented Miami’s offensive process despite the team only putting up 93 points. The Heat didn’t radically change their attack Sunday, but they did take advantage of all the open looks Denver gave up. For those who had fears about Nikola Jokic’s ability to hold up defensively in the playoffs, Game 2 gave that group some ammunition. Joker’s drop coverage continued to give up good looks. Bam Adebayo had his second straight 20-point game, and was routinely picking apart the Nuggets on the short roll. While Jimmy Butler could not get going with his own offense, he was able to time and time again collapse the Denver defense and find outside shooters. –

Miami Heat reach 2023 NBA Finals

Per the NY Times:

On Monday night at TD Garden, the Eastern Conference championship trophy for the NBA had made its way to the other team’s locker room. The trophy, a sterling silver replica of a basketball, was displayed atop a few packing trunks with metallic trim. The Miami Heat had earned it through a humbling 103-84 victory against the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the conference finals.

Before a late-night flight to Denver, where they will play the Nuggets for the NBA title beginning Thursday, players and staff members stood in front of the trophy while wearing N.B.A. finals hats and T-shirts to commemorate the team’s heroic struggle.

Everyone except the Heat was stunned by their resurgence as the East’s No. 8 seed. Coach Erik Spoelstra stayed with his plan even though the team was struggling throughout the regular season and losing almost as frequently as they were winning. They could get better, according to Spoelstra, if they kept their attention on the tasks at hand. It consisted of getting together after discouraging defeats, watching movies, and working hard in the gym.

“I think probably people can relate to this team,” Spoelstra said. “Professional sports is just kind of a reflection sometimes of life, that things don’t always go your way. The inevitable setbacks happen, and it’s how you deal with that collectively. There’s a lot of different ways that it can go: It can sap your spirit. It can take a team down, for whatever reason.

“With this group, it’s steeled us and made us closer and made us tougher.”


Jimmy Butler shares preparation plan for Heat at Celtics Game 5


Now, as the series heads back to Boston for Game 5, Heat guard Jimmy Butler says Miami has to play like its backs are against the wall.

A Celtics win on Thursday night would give Boston a two-game winning streak heading into Game 6. If a Game 7 is needed, it will be in Boston.

So, how does Butler plan to stay loose ahead of Thursday’s game?

“Just stay consistent,” Butler said. “Do the same things that I do, that we do after every game. We’re going to listen to some music, you know. Going to drink some beers back there. Going to have some wine. I don’t think you can just focus on basketball at times. You have to be able to get away from the game a little bit.”


Official 2022-23 All-NBA Teams


Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid was named to the All-NBA first team for the first time in his career as the league unveiled all three of its All-NBA squads Wednesday night, while LeBron James extended his all-time record to 19 selections.

Embiid was joined on the first team by Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry headlined the second team with his ninth selection. He was joined by Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell, Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler and Celtics forward Jaylen Brown.

James, who has now made an All-NBA team for 19 straight seasons, missing out only in his rookie year, led the third-team selections, along with a pair of Sacramento Kings — center Domantas Sabonis and guard De’Aaron Fox. They were joined by Portland Trail Bla

Jimmy Butler likely back in action soon for Heat

Via the South Florida Sun Sentinel:

With Jimmy Butler missing his fifth consecutive game due to soreness in his right knee Friday against the visiting Washington Wizards, the expectation is that he will be back in time for the Miami Heat’s two games next week against the Boston Celtics.

Butler last played in the Nov. 18 road loss to the Toronto Raptors, when he went 38 minutes two nights after playing 35 in a home victory against the Phoenix Suns. Two games before that, he played 42 in an overtime victory over the Charlotte Hornets.

With Tyler Herro back from eight-game absence with an ankle sprain, and with Victor Oladipo working toward his season debut as he works back from his own knee pain, the expectation is an attempt to somewhat lighten the minutes load on Butler, who has three seasons beyond this on his contract, at $140 million.


Heat swingman Jimmy Butler says knee should be okay for second round Game 1

Here’s with some good news on the Miami Heat:

Heat swingman Jimmy Butler is confident he’ll be ready for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night as he continues to deal with right knee soreness.

“It’s all right,” Butler said after Saturday’s practice. “We got another day in between. Get out there, rip and ride. And I know it will be ready to hold up come Monday, but the time off has been great for myself and so many other guys that are nicked up. Everybody’s ready to compete.”

Butler sat out Game 5 of the Heat’s series-clinching win over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night, but he looked solid taking jumpers and moving around the floor a little bit after Saturday’s practice. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said all the players, a group that included Butler and veteran guard Kyle Lowry, were able to do “a little bit more than [Friday].” Heat guard Tyler Herro said he would be ready for Game 1 after missing Friday’s practice while dealing with a cold.

Miami Heat re-sign Jimmy Butler

The Miami Heat have re-signed forward Jimmy Butler.

“Jimmy is the anchor and face of our franchise along with Bam and Kyle,” said HEAT President Pat Riley. “With Jimmy, we get an All-NBA player, an All-NBA Defensive player, tough as nails and a complete player across the board. He’s very deserving of this contract as he continually puts himself at the top of the league at his position. Having him in the HEAT organization has been a great, great coup for us.”

Per the Miami Herald, “that commitment resulted in Butler signing a maximum four-year extension worth $184 million on Saturday that keeps him under contract with the Heat through the 2025-26 season. Friday marked the first day that Butler, who turns 32 on Sept. 14, was eligible to sign the deal.”

The All-NBA Third Team recipient started all 52 games in which he appeared last season and averaged a team-leading 21.5 points, a team-best 7.1 assists, 6.9 rebounds and an NBA-leading 2.08 steals in 33.6 minutes while shooting 49.7 percent from the field and 86.3 percent from the foul line. Also named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team, Butler became the first HEAT player in franchise history to lead the league in steals per game and his 86.3 percent shooting from the foul line was the third-highest single season percentage in team history. He shot at least 80 percent from the charity stripe in 14-straight games from April 3 – May 2 and recorded nine-straight multi-steal games from March 31 – April 16, both the longest such streaks in team history.

More from the Herald: “The four-year, $141 million contract that Butler signed to join the Heat during free agency in 2019 includes a guaranteed $36 million salary for next season and a $37.7 million player option in 2022-23. The extension replaces Butler’s 2022-23 option and begins that season, which means he’s set to earn $220 million over the next five years.”

Butler set single-season career highs in field goal percentage, rebounds per game, assists per game and steals per game and ranked among NBA leaders in total steals (2nd), scoring average (26th), free throws made (9th) and attempted (11th), assists per game (10th), assists per turnover (10th), steals per turnover (12th), total assists (18th), efficiency (24th), minutes per game (29th) and rebounds per game (36th).

He led the HEAT in scoring average, double-figure scoring quarters (28), 20-point games, 30-point games, free throws made and attempted, free throw percentage, assists, steals, triple-doubles and plus/minus (+196) and ranked second on the team in points, double-figure scoring efforts, field goals made and attempted, three-point plays, double-figure rebound efforts, offensive, defensive and total rebounds and double-doubles. He also scored in double figures 50 times, including 30 games with at least 20 points and five 30-point performances.

Additionally, Butler grabbed double-figure rebounds a career-high 11 times, handed out double-figure assists on 10 occasions and posted four triple-doubles this season. His four triple-doubles tie for the most during a single season in team history, including three-straight from February 15-18, to become the first player in HEAT history to record consecutive triple-doubles with two of those coming on a back-to-back road set to become just the 11th player in NBA history to achieve that feat.

A five-time NBA All-Star, Butler has appeared in 633 games (528 starts) during his 10-year NBA career and averaged 17.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.63 steals and 33.1 minutes while shooting 45.8 percent from the floor, 32.7 percent from behind the arc and 83.8 percent from the foul line. He is Miami’s all-time leader in free throw percentage and also ranks among the HEAT’s all-time leaders in triple-doubles (2nd), scoring average (3rd), free throws made (14th), free throw attempts (17th), double-doubles (tied-18th) and assists (19th). In 80 NBA postseason games (77 starts), he has averaged 18.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.60 steals and 37.6 minutes while shooting 44.2 percent from the floor, 34.6 percent from three-point range and 83.6 percent from the foul line

Jimmy Butler set to return for Heat

As has been the case all season, the Heat injury/inactive list is a crowded place these days. Via the Miami Herald:

The Heat, which has played without several key players during a disastrous three-week January stretch, could get Jimmy Butler back on Saturday while awaiting the return of a few other rotation players.

The Heat listed Butler as questionable for Saturday’s 8 p.m. home game against Sacramento, but there is optimism he will play. If he surprisingly doesn’t, a return appears likely by Monday at the latest. The five-time All-Star, who missed time while in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, has not played since the Heat’s Jan. 9 road win over the Washington Wizards.

The Heat, which had only 10 players available in Thursday’s loss to the Clippers, listed nine others on the injury report for the Kings game

The Heat are on a five-game losing streak and are just 6-12 this season. But to judge them by that right now would be ridiculous. Duncan Robinson has played in all 18 games, and Bam Adebayo 16, but Goran Dragic 14, Kendrick Nunn 13, Tyler Herro 11, Avery Bradley eight, and Butler just six.

On a very positive note, Adebayo has having a special season, averaging 20.1 points, 9.1 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game.

Heat should have Jimmy Butler back in action soon

The Heat have had a wild ride lately, losing by 47 to the Bucks two days ago, then beating them yesterday. This without Jimmy Butler, who should return to action any day now. Possibly tomorrow. Via the South Florida Sun Sentinel:

Jimmy Butler took flight with the Miami Heat on Thursday, listed as probable for Friday night’s game against the Dallas Mavericks, after missing the past two games due to a sprained right ankle.

Butler was injured in the Dec. 23 season-opening loss in Orlando. He played through that game against the Magic and then in the first half of the Heat’s Christmas Day home-opening victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.

The 2-2 Heat have been led in scoring by Bam Adebayo at 19.0 points per game, Tyler Herro at 17.0 PPG, Goran Dragic off the bench at 16.5 PPG, and new addition Avery Bradley at 14.0 PPG.