Jimmy Butler gets harsh warning: ‘They will absolutely trade your a-s…if you don’t start playin’ basketball games’

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It’s entirely possible that Jimmy Butler won’t finish his NBA career with the Miami Heat, with Bill Simmons warning the franchise player that Pat Riley won’t hesitate to trade him away, possibly as soon as this coming offseason.

“Jimmy, I hate to tell ya, they will absolutely trade your a– at some point over the next six months if you don’t start playin’ basketball games and showin’ up every day,” Simmons said. “They will trade your a–.

“You have two years left — $48 million, $52 million — and they will trade you. Pat Riley would trade anyone on his team, in his family. That guy will do [anything]. He’s 79 years old. You think he’s gonna be like, ‘Oh, I’ll wait till I’m 81 to decide if this Jimmy Butler thing works.’

“He will f—— trade you. I wouldn’t be surprised if he traded him this summer. Jimmy, don’t get too comfortable.”

The Heat undoubtedly are looking for ways to improve after being knocked out of the 2024 NBA Playoffs in just five games by the Boston Celtics. Butler did not play in the series after he injured his knee during the play-in round. That was after the 34-year-old appeared in just 60 regular season games during the 2023-24 campaign, the fourth time in his five seasons with Miami that he played in fewer than 64 games.

His averages of 20.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game were all slightly lower than his marks from the previous season, when he eventually helped the Heat reach the 2023 NBA Finals, where they were defeated by the Denver Nuggets.

Butler will turn 35 years old before next season begins, and Simmons speculated that the Heat could use him in a complex trade to acquire Paul George, who may be moving on from the Los Angeles Clippers. The recently turned 34-year-old has a player option for next season that he could decline in order to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. He also could sign a contract extension prior to June 30.

Riley, the Heat’s president, recently was noncommittal about a contract extension for Butler, and Butler and George have been linked to the Philadelphia 76ers.

“I keep eyeing the Paul George piece of all of this wondering if that could be a Miami basically doing that weird Miami voodoo they do where they started out with Jimmy Butler and somehow end up with Paul George on a new contract,” Simmons said. “And you’re like, ‘Wait, how’d they do that?’

“Whether it’s like a sign, a double trade where they trade Butler to Paul George and he moves into the Butler spot. Or they trade Butler to Philly to create this big trade exception.”

The Clippers also were eliminated in the first round this postseason, losing to the Dallas Mavericks in six games. George has reached the conference finals three times in his NBA career, most recently in 2021.

Butler has helped the Heat advance that far three times in his five Miami seasons, including an additional trip to the 2020 NBA Finals. However, the Heat have had to emerge from the play-in round the past two seasons, in part because their regular season records have fallen short since Butler is at times unavailable.

For his part, George appeared in 74 games this season but never played in more than 56 games in any of his four prior seasons in L.A.

The exchange of the two veteran stars would certainly shake up the NBA, something Riley certainly has been known to do in the past.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. His introduction to the business included the legendary Heat-Knicks rivalry from the 1990s.