Miami Heat fans were up in arms after the franchise was denied a game on Christmas Day, the marquee date for contending teams to showcase themselves. The decision seems to stem from the Heat getting bounced in the first round of the NBA playoffs, although it’s a bit unfair when you look at their rebuilt roster.
Jimmy Butler inked a $184 million contract extension this offseason. The Heat added Kyle Lowry in a sign-and-trade, then brought in P.J. Tucker and Markieff Morris. They also re-upped Duncan Robinson and kept Tyler Herro in two moves that confirmed team president Pat Riley’s promise to keep his young nucleus intact. No Christmas Day game, though. That stings.
Butler’s agent, Bernard Lee, took to Twitter to express frustration at the holiday snub. He wrote that his client was more concerned about playing on Memorial Day than Christmas Day, a feeling shared throughout the Heat echo chamber. And Lee used the staggeringly effective Michael Jordan “Last Dance” meme to further the point.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald pointed to a first-round playoff exit as the deciding factor for Butler’s squad not being showcased on Christmas Day. In fact, the Heat have no nationally-televised games to start the 2021-22 season. The Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks kick the NBA slate off on Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m. on TNT, followed by the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers at 10 p.m. Wait, why the Warriors? Exactly.
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Raptors President Talks Kyle Lowry Exit
Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri admitted it’s been “tough” on the organization after losing Kyle Lowry to the Miami Heat. The writing had been on the wall for quite some time, but that didn’t make the six-time All-Star’s departure any easier. Ujiri called Lowry the “greatest Raptor” of all-time, then expressed a desire to beat the Heat “four times a year.”
“It’s been really tough for us to see a player as incredible as that go,” Ujiri said, via Aaron Rose of Sports Illustrated. “We wish him all the best where he is. He’s in great hands in Miami with that organization. We just hope we beat them four times a year and we’ll be good that way.”
Mavericks Beat Heat in Summer League Finale
The Heat closed out their 2021 Las Vegas Summer League schedule with an 83-82 defeat to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday. KZ Okpala paced Miami with 16 points, with Micah Potter adding 15 points and DeJon Jarreau scoring 12 points.
Heat assistant coach Malik Allen sat out several key players in that one, including Max Strus, Marcus Garrett, Gabe Vincent, Omer Yurtseven. Those decisions were happening across the NBA as teams look to give their younger guys – and possible training camp invites – one final look before the preseason. Heat camp begins on Sept. 28 in South Beach.