Pat Riley and the Miami Heat made a bold sign-and-trade for Jimmy Butler last offseason a few months after nearly trading for him during the 18-19 season. Butler has helped elevate the Heat to playoff contenders again.
"There's a reason why we chased him so hard, and backed up the Brink's truck to get a max player," Erik Spoelstra said. "That was the idea: to have a guy that we believe can take us to a different level.
"That's what he's doing right now."
Butler allows the Heat offense to function without a traditional point guard in the starting lineup and also espouses all the principles of "Heat Culture".
Spoelstra even thinks about what would have happened had the Heat selected Butler in 2011 instead of Norris Cole.
"It felt like he should've been with us all along," Spoelstra said with a smile. "All along. I was joking about it with [Heat senior adviser] Chet Kammerer. ... I was saying, 'Man, looking back on it now, how great would Jimmy Butler have been drafting him after that first year with the Big Three?' Could've slotted him in with LeBron (James) be the point, Dwyane (Wade), Jimmy be your 3, CB (Chris Bosh), Shane (Battier) ... that team could've gone on."
"I'm just here to hoop," Butler said when asked if he thought about the future possibilities for the organization when he agreed to come to Miami. "I'll let Coach Pat, Coach Spo and everybody else in the front office deal with all of that.
"I just know that I wanted to be here, I am here, and whatever we do, if we stick with this team, our job is still to win. We're locked in right now, and we'll worry about the future when it gets here."