The Miami Heat dominated the headlines with their bench scuffle during last week’s loss to the Warriors. And while Jimmy Butler and Erik Spoelstra going at it during a game wasn’t a good look for the club, the latter opined that the incident could potentially serve as a galvanizing event or a motivator.
So far, though, the troops haven’t exactly rallied.
On Monday, Miami did manage to beat the lottery-bound Kings at FTX Arena. However, the team lost both of its preceding games in an embarrassing fashion, pushing its previous losing streak to four games in the process.
Moreover, the altercation has some hoops pundits questioning Butler’s long-term future with the Heat.
Windhorst on Butler’s Prickly Demeanor
As the March 29 episode of his podcast, The Hoop Collective, was winding down, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst spoke out on the kerfuffle. In doing so, he said a mouthful about what might be going on within the Heat organization as relates to Butler.
Windhorst recounted that the six-time All-Star has been difficult for some to handle in the past, noting that partnerships between Butler and other teams/players have gone awry throughout his career.
“The Jimmy Butler-Erik Spoelstra thing, you know, Jimmy Butler grinds on his teammates. I mean, he brings a lot to the table. [But] there’s been several organizations that have been like, ‘We are ready for him to be out of here.’ And there’s been organizations where he’s been ready to be out of there,” he said.
“There is not a long history of harmonious marriages there for Jimmy.”
Windhorst’s inference here is that there could be some disharmony in his current marriage as well; an opinion he made more than clear as the discussion continued.
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The league insider added that statements Coach Spo may have made about Butler being “crazy” were likely more than just idle words and/or angry talk. Rather, there may be some big-time issues there.
“When I’m seeing Spoelstra and I’m seeing Spoelstra saying to him — and I know it’s heat of the moment — ‘I always knew you were crazy.’ I think he’s speaking from his heart there, I think he does mean that,” Windhorst opined.
As a result of the incident, the reporter finds himself questioning whether Butler is long for Miami.
“So, I wonder, not only about this season, I wonder about Jimmy Butler long term in Miami, especially since he’s right on the edge there where his age and he’s been banged up a little bit,” he said. “I just, I wonder about that.”
Butler signed a massive, four-year extension this past offseason. He’s set to make $37.6 million next year, after which he’ll hit $45.2M, $48.8M and $52.4M during the next three seasons, respectively, through 2025-26.