The Miami Heat are looking like a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference, and Jimmy Butler may not even be the biggest reason for that. Butler has done what most expected of him, but the leap made by Bam Adebayo is the biggest story out of Miami.
That is clearly not lost on Butler.
Following Wednesday’s win over the Philadelphia 76ers, Butler was asked about the belief that a team needs two or three star players to win in the NBA. The reporter noted that the Heat are 20-8 despite having only “one star,” but Butler made sure to give Adebayo a shoutout.
Butler is averaging 20.9 points to go along with a career-high 6.8 assists and 6.5 rebounds per game. He is Miami’s best all-around player and certainly the most recognizable, but Adebayo has played an equally — if not more — important role. The third-year big man is having a breakout season with averages of 15.5 points and 10.6 rebounds per game.
The Heat currently have the third-best record in the East behind only the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics. Butler has been trying to tell people all season that they aren’t going anywhere, and he realizes he’s not the only reason for that.
The Boston Celtics nearly stood in the way of LeBron James winning his first NBA title back in 2012, and Kevin Garnett has not gotten over it more than seven years later.
Garnett and Adam Sandler were guests on “The Bill Simmons Podcast” this week to promote their upcoming movie “Uncut Gems,” and Simmons managed to steer the conversation away from Hollywood to bring out the competitive side of K.G. Simmons recalled how the Celtics got in LeBron James’ head during Game 5 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, and LeBron responded by dropping 45 points in Game 6 to even the series at 3-3. The Heat went on to win Game 7, and the rest is history.
Simmons asked Garnett if the Celtics felt like they could break LeBron in Game 5, to which KG replied that they already “broke LeBron” in 2010, when the Celtics defeated his Cleveland Cavaliers in the postseason and LeBron went on to sign with the Heat. An irritated Garnett then said the Heat beat Boston in 2012 because the NBA had an “agenda” that the Celtics weren’t part of.
A lot of times athletes are competitors on the court and friends off of it, but Garnett says that is not the case with the members of the 2012 Celtics and Heat squads. He said there would still be tension if they were all in the same room together.
“A lot of people think that it’s just sports … if you had (Dwyane) Wade, (Chris) Bosh and LeBron over in this corner and me, (Tony Allen), maybe Paul (Pierce) and (Rajon) Rondo right here, it would cool and respect but it won’t be, like, fraternizing. It ain’t gonna be like, ‘Yo, how the family?’ It ain’t gonna be none of that,” Garnett said. “They don’t f— with us and we don’t f— with them.”
Some members of that Celtics team even have issues with one of their own former teammates, so it’s no surprise those feelings have lingered seven years later. That fierceness is what made Garnett one of the best players the NBA has ever seen, and clearly he can’t just turn it off now that he is done playing. Nor do we want him to.
The Miami Heat are off to an excellent start in a season in which many were unsure of what to expect from them, and Jimmy Butler insists the results are not a fluke.
After Butler scored 21 points in Miami’s 124-100 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night, he told reporters that the Heat are not going to be surprising opponents for very long. He believes the 10-3 start shows they’re “for real.”
Butler has obviously helped turn the Heat into a contender in the Eastern Conference, but the big story so far has been the leap third-year big man Bam Adebayo has taken. The former No. 14 overall pick is averaging a double-double with 13.8 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. He’s also making a major impact with his tremendous defense.
Miami won just 39 games last year and missed the playoffs, and the belief from many was that trading for Butler wouldn’t be enough to get them over the hump. If Adebayo and others continue to step up, it just might be. The East is top heavy after Kawhi Leonard left the Toronto Raptors in free agency, so there’s no reason the Heat can’t compete for a top seed.
Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters was scratched from a Friday night game against the Los Angeles Lakers due to what was initially called an “illness.” However, in the subsequent hours after his game designation, a much clearer picture of the situation came into play.
Waiters was said to have suffered a “medical emergency” on the team’s flight from Phoenix to Los Angeles. While a Heat spokesman refused to offer any specific details on the situation, Andy Slater of FOX Sports 640 was able to unearth some additional information.
Slater reports that Waiters had overdosed on “gummies” and was passed out upon arrival to Los Angeles. When he was awoken, the guard suffered a seizure.
ESPN later reported that Waiters took a THC edible for a stomachache and had a panic attack.
Waiters, who is in the third year of a four-year, $52 million contract, has now missed the first nine games this season after having previously been suspended for conduct detrimental to the team.
The concern obviously rests with Waiters’ health, but the Heat certainly can’t be too happy with these developments, especially considering there have apparently been several other incidents this year that led up to his earlier suspension.
The Miami Heat are dealing with a concerning development in the middle of a back-to-back set on the road.
Andy Slater of FOX Sports reported Friday that a Heat player had a medical emergency on their flight from Phoenix to Los Angeles on Thursday night. The identity of the player was not revealed however due to medical confidentiality laws, per a team spokesman.
The Heat played the Suns in Phoenix on Thursday, winning 124-108. The second end of their back-to-back has them playing the Lakers in LA on Friday.
For what it’s worth, Phoenix is about 370 miles away from LA, and the total flight time is less than 90 minutes, per FlightSphere. Dion Waiters (illness), Derrick Jones Jr (hip), Justise Winslow (concussion), and KZ Okpala (Achilles) were the Heat players listed as out for Friday’s game.
UPDATE: A report said the player was Dion Waiters and that Waiters overdosed on “gummies.”
The Oklahoma City Thunder have had no luck drumming up trade interest in Chris Paul since they acquired the veteran point guard as part of the Russell Westbrook deal, but at least one team is keeping close tabs on CP3 heading into next season.
The Miami Heat have interest in trading for Paul, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports. Paul and the Heat have mutual interest and Miami previously discussed a trade with the Thunder, but no deal was reached. Charania notes that the Heat will likely circle back after the start of the season if they still decide they want to pursue Paul.
It never made sense for the rebuilding Thunder to keep Paul, but they are reportedly doing everything they can to convince teams they are happy to keep him on the roster to mentor their young players. Few people are going to believe that after OKC traded both Westbrook and Paul George. Taking on Paul’s contract was simply the only way the Thunder could make the money work to send Westbrook to the Houston Rockets in exchange for draft picks.
Paul is still capable of playing at a high level, but he turned 34 in May and has battled injuries in recent seasons. There was talk that he was forced out of Houston for non-basketball reasons, though it was likely a combination of factors.
The Miami Heat have frequently been linked as a possibility to take Chris Paul’s contract off Oklahoma City’s hands, but new reporting indicates that possibility is remote.
According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the Heat will do “due diligence” on Paul, but their interest is not strong and they would have to be “absolutely overwhelmed” to take on the remaining three years and $124 million on his contract. According to Jackson, the Heat would be enticed if the Thunder took on multiple bad contracts while also sending Miami multiple first-round picks. With Oklahoma City more interested in stockpiling draft picks, this possibility appears very unlikely.
The Heat have serious concerns about Paul’s age and ability to stay healthy, and are not interested in spending big sums of money on aging stars.
Indications are the Thunder want to unload Paul, and would like to pass him on to the Heat. With Miami not sounding very interested, that may not be an option at this point.
The Oklahoma City Thunder appear to have no intention of keeping Chris Paul after they acquired him in the deal that sent Russell Westbrook to Houston, and they would like to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.
Immediately after the Westbrook-Paul trade was completed on Thursday, reports indicated the Thunder actually tried to find a third team to take CP3 and still want to deal him. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said Friday that the Miami Heat are the most obvious suitor in what will be a limited trade market for Paul, and the Thunder are anxious to complete a deal.
“The market for Chris Paul is going to be small, but Miami’s at the top of that list,” Woj said. “They’d like to try to get that deal done as soon as they can. I was told there are some other teams, too, that are going to be discussed, but their hope in getting this deal done with Chris Paul was that he doesn’t play a game in a Thunder uniform.”
Paul has three years and $124 million remaining on his contract, and he is older than Westbrook and has been injured quite often over the past few seasons. It never made any sense for OKC to replace Westbrook with him, so they must have been confident they will find a new home for him when they made the trade with the Rockets. That new home will likely be in Miami alongside Jimmy Butler.
Paul could have one very interesting dilemma if he winds up with the Heat, but that’s not going to stand in the way of a deal.
Russell Westbrook may be on the move this summer, and he may have a team in mind that wants him, too.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Miami Heat have expressed interest in Westbrook, and a move to Miami “appeals” to the Oklahoma City point guard.
It’s become quite clear that the Thunder are willing to trade Westbrook in the right deal after Paul George forced his way out of the organization to play for the Los Angeles Clippers.
While Westbrook theoretically has no say in where he goes, it’s clear that the Thunder are also willing to listen to his opinions. The Heat, who have just added Jimmy Butler, would likely have to part with significant assets to make the salaries work. The challenge for them might be draft pick compensation considering they have very few picks remaining after trading them away.
Westbrook is a franchise player who could pair with Butler to make the team an instant contender in the Eastern Conference.
Plenty of people have gotten to work trying to recruit NBA players to teams this offseason, and Chad Johnson wants to belatedly get in on the act.
The longtime NFL wide receiver tweeted Monday that he wants to recruit Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook and Washington’s Bradley Beal to Miami as an “outside representative” for the Heat.
Johnson, a Miami native, wants to pull a Kawhi Leonard here. Both Westbrook and Beal are under contract, and while either could be theoretically traded, they’d have to do some work if they wanted to leverage some influence over where they go. Plus, Beal doesn’t appear to be on the market right now. Westbrook could be, and the Heat may be a bit ahead of Johnson’s game in that regard.
In other words, one is perhaps possible if it’s Westbrook, but two is bordering on impossible. You can’t blame Johnson for trying, anyway.