Report: Jimmy Butler amongst stars whose stock rose highest in NBA bubble

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In the opinion of multiple NBA agents, Miami Heat veteran Jimmy Butler’s reputation saw a significant upgrade after his performance within the NBA bubble.

Writers for The Athletic, including Ben Standig and Mike Vorkunov, conducted a survey of 20 agents about a variety of topics. A question about which player changed the agents’ opinions the most resulted in Butler and Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray leading the pack with four votes each.

One agent pointed out that Butler’s past reputation as a player who had trouble connecting with teammates was dismissed by his show of leadership, especially during the postseason.

“I think his leadership,” said the agent. “Everybody paints a picture of him being such a pain in the ass. And such a difficult guy. And I think that ‘Heat Culture’ was perfect for him, but they empowered him to be somebody and he grabbed that and he ran with it.”

Another agent was simply left to ponder why the Philadelphia 76ers decided to deal Butler to the Heat last year.

“I wouldn’t say Jimmy Butler changed my opinion, but Jesus Christ, how did Philly let him go?” the agent said.

Butler’s leadership was a constant presence within the bubble, perhaps most prominently in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. With the Heat down 2-0 in the series, Butler delivered a stirring triple-double of 40 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds in the Heat’s 115-104 victory on Oct. 4.

A few nights later, the Heat were facing elimination in Game 5 when Butler again contributed a triple-double with 35 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists.

Butler was the 30th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, but has since used his intensity and drive to become an elite player, with his personality being something that has the Heat smiling.

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Brad Sullivan is a freelance writer for, having been an avid fan of NBA basketball for more than four decades. During that time, he's watched the Heat evolve from gestation period to expansion team all the way to three-time NBA champions. He'll follow their quest toward again reaching those lofty heights, and do so by offering some perspective along the way.