The Miami Heat’s successful acquisition of Jimmy Butler took much longer than the team figured it would take.
However, his arrival was aided by the Heat front office letting him know that a more aggressive mindset toward improving the team was ready to commence.
Butler’s desire to end up in Miami began during the period when Dwyane Wade was saying his final goodbyes to the Heat fan base. Citing Butler’s competitive nature, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald wrote that his enthusiasm about playing for the Heat really picked up after a four-hour meeting with the team on June 30.
That’s when the Heat indicated that adding Butler was just the first step toward making the Heat true contenders, according to Chiang:
“The Heat pitched Butler on becoming the first established star to join the current roster, with the understanding the organization would be aggressive in trying to add another.”
It was Butler’s former team, the Philadelphia 76ers, that had served as the Heat’s opponent in Wade’s last home game in April. Prior to that contest, he had gotten a sense of what the community was all about by making a visit to the Little Havana section of Miami.
Coming away impressed, Butler also spoke of the subtle role that Wade played in recruiting him:
“He (Wade) has always said how nice Miami was. Obviously, the weather and all that great stuff. But I’m talking about the organization and the people that’s in it and how they go about everything. I’ve been fortunate enough to be around him for a couple years now since my days in Chicago and it always seemed to come up one way or another of how great the people were, the culture that was there and obviously him winning championships and what that took.
“He would always say, ‘It would be a place for you. The type of guy you are, the mentality you have, the Heat culture, it just fits.’ We laugh about it now, but looking back it’s like: Damn, he kind of called how it could happen and how this would be a place that just fits me to a T.”
The Heat have followed through with that aggressive approach, though they haven’t yet added that other major piece. A concerted effort to acquire guard Russell Westbrook came up short, while the possible addition of guard Chris Paul is still a work in progress.
Butler’s agent, Bernie Lee, explained why the Heat are the perfect fit for his client:
“He’s (Butler) at a point in his career where he’s going into his ninth year in the league. It’s time for him to put all of the experience that he’s had into action. It just feels like everything has come together for him at a really ideal time and in a really ideal way. Now he’s joining an organization that seemingly makes it very, very clear what the agendas and goals are of the group. They (the Heat) match Jimmy’s pretty closely.”
Approximately three months remain until the start of the 2019-20 NBA regular season, so the Heat still have plenty of time to make some noise in the acquisition department. It’s clear that Butler believes they can make it happen.