One aspect of the Miami Heat's offseason that has been interesting has been the contract situation regarding their featured player in Jimmy Butler. After the Heat star reportedly is seeking a new extension, there have been some questions regarding Butler's status in Miami, but it truly seems like it's in the hands of the team and the player since both parties do not want a split.

The same sentiment was echoed by The Athletic's Shams Charania where he was on The Pat McAfee show and talked about how Butler “does not want to be anywhere but Miami.” However, he would also mention that teams would be more than willing to give Butler what he wants in terms of a contract if the relationship with the Heat falters.

“My sense is Jimmy Butler does not want to be anywhere but Miami,” Charania said. “Sense is that he loves it in Miami. But again, he is extension-eligible this year. There are multiple teams out there that would give him an extension, and I think this is something that we'll see play out over the next month or so. The Heat don't want to trade him; he wants an extension. Will they give him an extension? That's the question.”

Butler seeks new deal from Heat, Pat Riley is non-committal

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) lines up a shot against the Philadelphia 76ers during the second quarter of a play-in game of the 2024 NBA playoffs at Wells Fargo Center.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

According to the original report by Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald, Butler is seeking a two-year deal worth $113 million for which he is eligible. However, during his end of season press conference, Heat president Pat Riley was non-committal in wanting to give Butler what he wants, expressing they does not have to “do that for a year.”

“Well, you know, we don't have to do that for a year and so we have not discussed that internally right now but we have to look at that and then making that kind of commitment,” Riley said. “We don't have to do it until 25 actually, but we'll see. We haven't made a decision on it. And we really haven't really in earnest. discussed it. So we'll see what happens.”

Riley concerned with player availability for Butler and Heat

The main reason that Riley mentioned about the reluctance to a contract extension for Butler and even what his general message during his presser was about player availability. He would question committing “those kinds of resources unless you're somebody” who will be “available every single night.”

“Well, I mean, if you request we can either accept or we can say we're going to think about it,” Riley said. “We've not made a decision on it and I think you can make too much out of this. You still got two years left on the 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. I don't want to go through the litany of factors right now because they all go up into different hypotheticals, but yeah, 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 and available every single night, that's the truth.”

Tensions rose when Riley told Butler to “shut your mouth”

It was even more amplified when Riley was asked about Butler's comments after the Heat were eliminated in the playoffs by the Boston Celtics. The 34-year old star would say that if he were healthy, Miami would have beaten Boston and the New York Knicks as he suffered from an MCL sprain in the first play-in tourney game that made him miss time.

“If I was playing, Boston would be at home,” Butler said. “New York damn sure would be f–king at home. F–k that mean to me? Josh Hart? C’mon man,” said Butler, a six-time All-Star who played for Thibodeau with the Bulls and Timberwolves. “I love Thibs, but I don’t want Thibs. Thibs, I love you baby, but I want to beat you to a pulp. You want me. I don’t want you. It’s like a one-sided relationship. You in love with me and I love you but I’m not in love with you, you know what I’m saying.”

While the common Heat fan would say that is just “Butler being Butler” as he is known for his boastful and playful attitude, Riley took another approach. He would question if the star Miami player was “trolling,” but would say that if he's not out on the court, “you should keep your mouth shut.”

“For him to say that, you know, I thought, is that Jimmy trolling? Or is that Jimmy serious?,” Riley said. “If you're not on the court, playing against Boston, or on the court playing against the New York Knicks, you should keep your mouth shut and the criticism of those teams.”

Butler has expressed his love for Miami time and time again

After these comments, the rumors and speculation started swirling on Butler splitting ties with the Heat and going elsewhere with teams especially like a reunion with the Philadelphia 76ers being a popular destination. However, the Marquette product has said time and time again that he loves being in Miami like during a GQ interview in May.

“I feel at home, man. I really care about the city, I really care about the people in this city. Miami has embraced me,” Butler said. “They’ve wanted me to bring them something they haven’t done since LeBron, D-Wade and C-Bosh. And I want to do that. So as soon as I get this knee back right, I’m right back on they a** and everybody know it.”

Riley says Butler “moves the needle the most” for Heat

While the comments from Riley that were publicized the most were more so negative, there was also praise for Butler as someone that “moves the needle the most” for Miami. In the five seasons he has been here, the Heat have made two NBA Finals and was arguably one shot away from making a third in the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals against the Celtics.

“Who moves the needle the most on our team is Jimmy,” Riley said. “He’s an incredible player. What I said at the beginning about change is he’s got to give it some thought himself for this team to be what he wants it to be and what I want it to be, and Micky [Arison] and everybody else. This five-year window, we’ve been pretty successful. We haven’t won the chip, and I think that bothers everybody.”

In any sense, the Heat are looking to improve after this season where they finished at the eighth seed for the second straight season after a 46-36 record.