If there is one aspect of the Miami Heat's offseason that will be interesting to follow, it's the contract situation surrounding star Jimmy Butler. One person who gave their viewpoint on the matter was basketball analyst for ESPN in Tim Legler who talked about how Heat president Pat Riley addressed Butler which makes him believe it is not “trending in the right direction.”

“The way Pat Riley addressed some of the things Jimmy Butler did,” Legler said on Monday's episode of “NBA Today” on ESPN. “They are at a point where they want [him] to prioritize the regular season more than he does… I don't think this thing is trending in the right direction.”

The Riley comments that made Legler concerned about the Heat

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

In terms of the comments Riley made, there was a mention of the Heat star looking to seek a contract extension this summer since he will be eligible in the price range of a two-year deal worth $113 million. However, Riley was non-committal in his end of season press conference back in May.

“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.”

“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.”

Riley said Butler “should keep your mouth shut”

To fuel the fire even more, Riley was asked about a viral video of Butler saying after the Heat were eliminated from the playoffs that if he was healthy, the team would have beat the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics. Since Butler suffered from an MCL sprain in the first game of the play-in tournament, Riley would say that he “should keep your mouth shut” since he was not playing.

“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 “does not want to be anywhere but Miami”

While those quotes from Riley has been the talk of the offseason, he also mentioned in the same press conference that Butler has moved the needle most for Miami as he led them to two NBA Finals appearances in the five seasons he's been there. Also, there is a strong sense that Butler “does not want to be anywhere” but with the Heat as said by The Athletic's Shams Charania.

“My sense is Jimmy Butler does not want to be anywhere but Miami,” Charania said on “The Pat McAfee Show.” “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.”

In any sense, it remains to be seen if Legler's intuition will be correct as it will no doubt be an interesting offseason for the Heat and Butler. However, Miami will focus on the NBA Draft starting Wednesday and continuing Thursday as they have the 15th and 43rd overall picks this year.