The Godfather also addressed a few rumors about the Heat’s biggest star Jimmy Butler and head coach Erik Spoelstra. Just one day before Miami’s playoff series started against the Milwaukee Bucks, The Athletic’s Shams Charania detailed how there’s been some serious tension between the five-time All-Star, the coaching staff, and his teammates throughout the year.
The latest Heat news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Heat newsletter here!
Charania said on May 21, “I’m told there has been very, very testy moments behind the scenes between Jimmy and that coaching staff, the roster at different points. And so, how they’ve been able to navigate that throughout the year — it’s transpired– and now they’re at a point where [the Heat] are on the uptake.”
Riley told Le Batard and Friends on June 4, “Whatever rumors are out there about Jimmy Butler and anybody else who might have a problem with me or with Erik or with the team, it’s normal,” Riley said. “As long as you can teach me something, as long as, ‘Oh, I get it. I understand.’”
Charania had also pointed out that Butler’s temper is not new news. “I think everyone who knows Jimmy Butler understands that he wears his heart on his sleeve, not afraid to let people know how he feels.”
Star players getting angry and lashing out is not specific to Butler, Riley pointed out. It’s not just part of the job, it’s integral for the team’s success.
Look it, throughout my career as a coach, there wasn’t one player on any team that I ever coached, a key player, that I didn’t have disagreements with, didn’t have yelling and screaming matches with. And whether it was Alonzo Mourning or Magic Johnson or James Worthy or Patrick Ewing of whoever, LeBron, Dwyane, Chris. That’s just the way it is… And if it’s too nice and too quiet, then you want to create something where there’s tension, otherwise you’re going to be apathetic and what you’re doing all the time.
Riley Spoke About Adding a Third Big Name for Next Season
The Heat would greatly benefit by adding another All-Star to complement the team’s core that is Butler and Bam Adebayo. With Victor Oladipo’s future still up in the air, and possibly an additional $34 million in cap space if they release both Goran Dragic and Andre Iguodala, Riley could make a blockbuster move to sign a top-tier free agent this summer.
“We’ll see,” Riley said during his annual postseason media conference on June 3, as reported by Miami Herald‘s Barry Jackson. “The market will determine a lot of that as we move forward. I like the nucleus of our team. We have a great core with Jimmy and Bam; regardless of how they performed in the playoffs, we didn’t make a mistake on those guys.”
“I have a pretty good idea of what we have and where we are headed,” Riley said. “Despite the result of the Milwaukee series, which was bad… We are ready to move forward.”