Erik Spoelstra addresses potential Jimmy Butler switch
While Jimmy Butler’s hair got a lot of attention on the Miami Heat’s media day, Butler also touched on the subject of former starting linebacker PJ Tucker’s departure to the Philadelphia 76ers. Butler and head coach Erik Spoelstra know how crucial Tucker was, as one of the league’s most trusted 3&D big men, to their run to the Eastern Conference Finals. . While Butler could certainly do a job for the Heat at four, it looks like Caleb Martin, armed with a three-year, $20 million contract, should start at the forefront.
Erik Spoelstra recently clarified that Jimmy Butler won’t start as a power forward, which echoed the sentiment Butler had at the start of the media day.
Anthony Chiang, Heat reporter for the Miami Herald, wrote“Erik Spoelstra today sounded like Jimmy Butler wasn’t a candidate to start as a power forward, but he said he’d probably play four-man Butler for different periods.”
Erik Spoelstra today sounded like Jimmy Butler wasn’t a candidate to start at power forward, but he said he’d likely play four-man Butler for different stretches.
—Anthony Chiang (@Anthony_Chiang) September 28, 2022
Substituting Tucker will be a difficult task as he is also capable of guarding opposition centers but if Martin builds on his performances last season he could certainly do an admirable job replacing him which would bring Jimmy Butler back to his position. more natural to the three. Martin averaged 13.7 points and 5.7 rebounds on 53% shooting from the field (40% from deep) in the 12 games he started last season.
Caleb Martin’s other competitors for fourth place include 6’7 forward Haywood Highsmith and 27th overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft Nikola Jovic, who projects as an all-around wing, and at 6’11 , his size would mask any major defensive limitations that may be caused by his lack of athleticism.
Nonetheless, the Heat could still be looking to buy out Jae Crowder from the Phoenix Suns after he played a huge role for the Heat in their 2020 NBA Bubble Finals run. Crowder matches the Heat identity to a T and he’s also friends with Jimmy Butler after their move to Marquette in 2011, so Erik Spoelstra and the rest of the Heat staff will have no trouble bringing him back to the team. However, a potential deal between the Heat and Suns remains tricky due to salary cap complications, so such a trade may require the involvement of a third team.