When Jimmy Butler signed with the Miami Heat this past summer a lot of people were probably confused. Not only because he vacated a roster that had Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and enough firepower to give the eventual champion Raptors their biggest test in the NBA Playoffs. But also because he didn't link up with another superstar in Miami in an era where that's a thing that just about every superstar makes sure to do before signing.
On Monday, in a piece written by Yahoo's Chris Haynes, Butler made it clear that he thought reaction(s) to, and assumptions of why, he signing with the Heat were disrespectful. Because, as Haynes summed it up:
It was a move largely perceived as abandoning championship aspirations in favor of basking in the sun with little to no pressure of winning.
After telling Yahoo that "people are overlooking all the facts" by ignoring that he had already tried to go to Miami when attempting to get himself traded from the Timberwolves a year before, Butler then went on to voice his displeasure with what he feels is a lack of respect for his career resume.
“Motherfuckers act like I’m not a good basketball player,” Butler said. “Like for real. Just think about that. Like I can’t come in and make a huge difference. I’m not going to say ‘carry a team’ because nobody can do it by themselves and I mean that. I’m not putting it all on myself, but I know what I’m capable of. I know what I bring to any and all situations, and the group of guys that we have is the group of guys that I want to play with."
He also went on to state that the Heat's current roster is made up of significantly more talent than people currently realize, while also implying that that group carries the same chip(s) on their shoulder(s) that he has throughout his career.
“When I look down the line and as we're talking about it as an organization on this roster, I know what these guys are capable of," he added. "These guys are built like me. We’re one in the same and so they’re only going to get better and they’re not going to get complacent. This is me. I see myself in every one of these guys around this locker room.”
He went on to specifically name drop rookies Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro, in addition to second-year man Duncan Robinson.
“Look at the motherfucker K-Nunn. Look at him. He’s got so much of me in him that it’s scary because his confidence continues to grow,” Butler said. “The same thing with our rook Tyler Herro and [second-year player] Duncan. Come on, man. Just because you don’t know these guys like that, don’t make the mistake of looking past them. They’re going to make sure you do know them pretty, pretty soon.”
In a quote emphasized by other outlets, Butler also said that behind-the-scenes drama in Philadelphia was responsible for him vacating that city for South Beach. Unfortunately he didn't elaborate anymore upon that despite Yahoo trying to get it out of him.
“Stuff just don’t work out. Nobody knows what really went on in Philly and we’re going to leave it that way,” Butler said. “But it was a great opportunity for me."
He did have nice things to say about his ex-team, however, and also Joel Embiid.
“Just go with your gut. You’re not dumb. All of that will come out whenever it’s time,” he added. “Right now is not the time. I’m locked in with this. I’m happy, man. I’m smiling and my guys want me to be here, my organization wants me to be here, I want to be here and we’re going to ride this thing until the wheels fall off. I’m not saying Philly wasn’t great, man. We had some really good players. I talk to Joel [Embiid] damn near every fucking day. It’s a brotherhood, man. I love that guy. I’m going to always have his back and I know he’ll always have mine.”
While I know better than to read too much into 6 out of 82 games, the Heat are currently 5-1. Second in the East behind the 76ers, who are 5-0.
Head over to Yahoo to read the full inteview with Butler.