Jimmy Butler’s agent offers update on Miami Heat star, who is dealing with death in family

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Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Butler won’t be with the Miami Heat for an indefinite period after the team granted him a leave of absence to deal with the loss of a family member.

The six-time All-Star played in Miami’s last 13 contests, his longest consecutive stretch of the season. All in all, he has appeared in 37 of the Heat’s 52 games, averaging 21.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists per match.

Interestingly, Miami has had a better record without him, winning nine of the 15 games Butler has missed. In contrast, it has gone 19-18 with him.

Still, the veteran’s value to the organization cannot be overstated. It wouldn’t have made its second NBA Finals trip in four years last season if it weren’t for Butler playing beyond expectations.

The rest of the Heat will have to hold down the fort while he is away, although it will certainly be a tall task. Their next assignment is against the visiting Boston Celtics, who happen to be the league’s top team at the moment. The rivals have already met twice in this campaign, with the Celtics coming out on top both times.

Without Butler, Miami will have to rely more on players like Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Jaime Jaquez Jr. to shoulder the offensive load to avoid a regular-season series sweep to Boston.

Perhaps Terry Rozier can also turn it up, especially since he is going to play against the squad that drafted him with the No. 16 pick in the 2015 draft. In nine appearances in a Heat uniform, the guard has averaged just 12.6 points and 5.6 assists per game while shooting 35.7 percent from the field.

Following its bout against Boston on Sunday, Miami is slated to face off against two other Eastern Conference contenders, the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers, in a back-to-back set on the road. The team will get some rest during the All-Star break before going back on the road again to complete its six-game road trip.

It remains to be seen at what point Butler will return, but the organization likely won’t be rushing him back to give him time to get his personal affairs in order.

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Orel writes all day, everyday. During the day, he writes and does research to complete his master's degree in education. During the night, he writes about the league he has loved since the '90s: the NBA.