Jimmy Butler’s agent speaks out on Pat Riley’s comments about Miami Heat star

Peter Dewey
5 Min Read
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Butler’s agent Bernie Lee responded to Miami Heat president Pat Riley’s comments about Butler on Monday.

It’s been reported that Butler will seek an extension from the team since he’s entering potentially the final season of his deal in the 2024-25 campaign. Butler also has a player option for the 2025-26 season that would pay him north of $50 million.

“I mean, if he requests, we can either accept or we can say we’re going to think about it,” Riley said when asked what the Heat will do if Butler requests the extension this offseason. “But we have not made a decision on it. I think you make too much out of this. He still has two years left on his contract, theoretically. He’s got a player option. But that’s something that we have to give some real thought to based on a lot of factors. … That’s a big decision on our part to commit those kinds of resources unless you’re somebody who’s really going to be there, available every single night. That’s the truth.”

It seems like if Riley and the Heat need to see more from Butler before potentially giving him an extension.

“That was discussed prior to last year,” Riley said when asked whether the Heat needs to put pressure on Butler to be available for more regular-season games. “We had a discussion with his agent about that. That was discussed thoroughly.”

With the Heat falling short in the playoffs this season with Butler sidelined due to a knee injury, Lee reiterated that his client is still focused on winning a championship in his NBA career.

“Coming out of this season, a year in which the team didn’t either have the same success in the year previous and in Miami’s case didn’t return to and win the Finals, everything has to be examined and it will be,” Lee said. “And the necessary changes will be put in place not because anyone else said so, or to prove anything to anyone externally but simply because that’s the way Jimmy has built his entire career. He has one goal left and that’s to win a championship. Period.”

Butler has spent the past five seasons with the Heat, leading the team to three Eastern Conference Finals appearances and two NBA Finals appearances. Miami has not won a title, but it last made the Finals in the 2022-23 season, going on an improbable run as the No. 8 seed in the East.

Still, it’s clear that Butler’s health is a concern for the Heat and Riley. He’s played in 64 or fewer games in each of his five seasons with the franchise. This season, Butler was limited to just 60 games, and he missed all five of the team’s playoff games against Boston.

When he was on the floor, the five-time All-NBA selection averaged 20.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game while shooting 49.9 percent from the field and a career-high 41.4 percent from beyond the arc.

While Riley may be wary about committing to Butler, 34, for even longer given his injury issues, Miami certainly is a better team when he’s on the floor. It was also reported that Butler could become “disgruntled” if the organization doesn’t offer him an extension.

“But the expectation is Butler and his camp will push for that extension before the start of the upcoming season,” the Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang wrote. “Choosing not to offer this exact extension this offseason could lead to a disgruntled Butler.”

Ultimately, the Heat need to make a decision on Butler — and several other players on the roster as they look to improve upon a disappointing finish to the 2023-24 season.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball, football and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.