Miami Heat

Jimmy Butler in Miami won't put heat on Celtics

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Jimmy Butler in Miami won't put heat on Celtics

Could Jimmy Butler land back in the Eastern Conference?

The New York Times’ Marc Stein cited sources Wednesday while reporting that disgruntled Butler and his agent had informed Minnesota Timberwolves ownership that the Miami Heat are now Butler’s preferred trade destination.

The Heat had one of the quietest offseasons in the NBA this summer, with their biggest splash coming only when Dwyane Wade announced he’d return for one final season.

A potential addition of Butler isn’t likely to make projected East frontrunners like the Celtics, Raptors, or Sixers start looking in their rearview mirrors, though it might thrust Miami into that next cut of playoff contenders alongside teams like the Pacers and Bucks.

A very different looking Celtics squad encountered a Butler-Wade combo during the 2016-17 playoffs and rallied out of a 2-0 hole to top the Chicago Bulls in six games during an opening-round series.

There had been a lot of hype this summer about whether Kyrie Irving might desire to team up with Butler, particularly with both able to reach free agency after the 2018-19 season. Irving has quieted that buzz, telling ESPN he hadn’t talked to Butler about the possibility of joining of forces since the summer of 2016.

Trading for Butler and committing big money to him next summer would likely take the Heat out of the running to add another max-salary player like Irving.

'One Last Dance': Dwyane Wade is back for one more season


'One Last Dance': Dwyane Wade is back for one more season

In an introspective announcement posted on his YouTube channel Sunday afternoon, Dwyane Wade says he's giving it one final go with the Miami Heat for what will be his 16th NBA season.

"You ask yourself a lot of questions," the three-time NBA champion and future Hall of Famer asks rhetorically in the 10-minute video. "Can I deal with every step hurting in the morning? Can I deal with the travel? Can I be away from my family? Is it selfish to continue being away from my family? Can I miss my son's games? Can I miss my son? Can I not be there in moments that they need me?"

Wade's oldest son, Zaire, is a junior point guard at South Florida prep power American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.), who recently picked up his first Division 1 scholarship offer last month from the University of Nebraska.

Wade returned to the Heat at the trade deadline in February, after two seasons split between the Cleveland Cavaliers and his hometown Chicago Bulls. He appeared in 26 games with the Heat last season, all off the bench, averaging 12.9 points.


30 Celtics questions in 30 days: Who'll be a surprise challenger in East?

30 Celtics questions in 30 days: Who'll be a surprise challenger in East?

Here's another entry in our series of key questions facing the Celtics this season. We'll ask one per day heading into camp, which kicks off with Media Day Sept. 24. 

BOSTON – There’s little doubt that the Celtics will begin this season as the odds-on favorite to emerge atop the East in the NBA.

And as far as who will challenge them, most agree that Philadelphia and Toronto pose the greatest threat.

Still, here’s the thing about the East. While it may once again appear to be relatively top-heavy, there are a handful of teams that could potentially play their way into a top-tier finish and emerge as a legit contender.

Here’s a look at five teams that could be this year’s surprise and play their way into a high playoff seeding, which would make them an unexpected threat to Boston’s efforts to take over the East this season:


The Pacers finished with the fifth-best record in the NBA last season, one in which many thought they would be a lottery team. Credit the emergence of Victor Oladipo who seems to have finally found a basketball after stops in Orlando and Oklahoma City, to emerge as an All-Star. Myles Turner continues to improve as a stretch big; ditto for Domantis Sabonis. Indiana added some toughness with the addition of Kyle O’Quinn and former rookie of the year Tyreke Evans. They still seem at least one or two superstar-esque players away from being a title contender, but this team will not be an easy out for anyone – the Celtics included – in the postseason.


Many forget that the Bucks took the Celtics to the brink of playoff elimination last season, with the home team emerging victorious in all seven games. They return one of the game’s most dynamic players in Giannis Antetokounmpo, in addition to one of the game’s more underrated scorers in Khris Middleton. Lots of players with length and versatility will once again be a staple of the Bucks. Milwaukee added Brook Lopez, which will provide them a legit low-post scorer in those stretches when the game slows down, but the most important new guy to the mix is head coach Mike Budenholzer. The former Atlanta Hawks coach has shown the ability to transform average talent into an above-average team in large part by utilizing the 3-point shoot. In his five seasons with the Hawks, Atlanta ranked among the top 10 in three-point attempts four times. In that span, Milwaukee never finished any better than 24th (out of 30 teams) in 3-point attempts.


The Heat have been among the better teams defensively for years under coach Erik Spoelstra. And that trend won’t change this season. But their chances of cracking the top-tier of teams in the East hinges heavily on their ability to improve their 3-point shooting. The Heat showed a greater willingness to launch 3’s last season, when they ranked ninth in the league with 30.6 three-pointers taken per game. However, Miami shot just 36 percent, 16th in the league. Look for the Heat to develop more offensive schemes to open up shot attempts for their better 3-point shooters, such as ex-Celtic Kelly Olynyk, who connected on 37.9 percent of his 3’s while averaging a career-high 11.5 points per game. His continued growth from long range as well as that of the rest of the team could be just what it takes to catapult them into the upper-tier in the East.


One of the more mystifying teams in recent years, the Wizards have consistently come up short in the playoffs. Despite having a couple of All-Stars in John Wall and Bradley Beal, Washington hasn’t been able to get past the second round of the playoffs since 1979. And the addition of Dwight Howard, while talent-wise an upgrade over Marcin Gortat, raises even more questions about chemistry, which has often been at the heart of their struggles. But beyond Wall and Beal, Washington has more quality depth with the improved play of Kelly Oubre Jr. and Otto Porter Jr., along with newcomers Austin Rivers and Jeff Green. But in the end, fans can expect the Wizards to be the same old Wizards: a good team, but one that will once again fall short of reaching its potential.


Similar to Milwaukee, the Pistons are hopeful that a new coach will come in and get them back to respectability. Dwayne Casey, the NBA’s Coach of the Year, was fired by Toronto after the Raptors were swept in the second round of the playoffs by the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers. Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond are the two focal points of the Pistons, in that order. Griffin’s career has been one in which his athleticism has often carried the day. But like most frontcourt players, he has expanded his game beyond the 3-point line. After having taken 268 three-pointers in his first seven seasons, Griffin launched 322 last season.