When it comes to Jimmy Butler potentially being a power forward this season, the Miami Heat leader said Monday that his team had better start looking at Plan B.
With power forward PJ Tucker leaving as a free agent with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Heat not signing an outside replacement, Butler was asked at a media team day at the FTX Arena if he was ready to play in a power role this season.
“If they really wanted to talk,” Butler said of at least listening. “But I’m not going to play four.”
Other Heat power forward options include Caleb Martin, Heywood Highsmith, Max Strus, or one of the team’s center types like Duane Dedmon or Omer Yurtseven, although coach Erik Spoelstra rarely prefers big squads.
“I could play four, yes, if they absolutely needed me to play four, yes,” Butler said.
On Tucker’s departure, Butler said with a smile: “PJ is a traitor. I tell him every single day.”
Butler, 33, said the Heat will find a way to succeed without the veteran power forward.
“There will be changes,” he said. “Everyone understands that the roles will change. There will be many changes that have nothing to do with me. As training camp approaches, it will be interesting to see what this lineup is like.”
Butler also downplayed an off-season practice video showing him spending a lot of time working on his three-point game. He stressed that his focus is still on hitting the paint and getting to the foul line.
“Scout me however you like,” he said. “I’m still going to find a way to get into the paint.”
Speaking about the off-season transition to a longer hairstyle, Butler tried to insist that he did not add extensions. But he also said he didn’t know if he would continue that look during the regular season.
“I was just fiddling with things to drive the internet crazy,” he said of the long braids he continued to wear on Monday.
Following Butler in the interview room, center Bam Adebayo downplayed the Heat, facing a power shortage without Tucker.
“We always find a way,” he said. “This is the Miami Heat way.”
For his part, he said he plans to take a more active offensive stance.
“Yes,” he said with a wide smile. “We are much better when I score.”
Heat president Pat Riley said at the end of last season that Adebayo was making at least 15 shots per game.
Adebayo’s response: “18, trying to move up this year.”
“You heard,” Adebayo added of Riley, “what the old man said about me.
“It’s very important for me to come back better.”
However, according to him, the current focus is on winning the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award.
“I mean, it’s politics at the moment,” he said of the annual media vote that has been given to Rudy Gobert and Marcus Smart for the past two years.
After saying at the end of last season that he wanted to be a starter, and shortly after that, Riley said that such a role had to be earned, Tyler Herro softened his stance on Monday.
“I’m a team player,” he said, “regardless of what Spaau and the organization want me to do.”
Erro, realizing the importance of a balanced rotation, said he would accept “any role that suits me best”.
Eligible for an extension prior to the start of the regular season, Erro delayed such a conversation with his agent.
“I’m focused on basketball this season,” he said.
But the confidence remains unshakable.
“My offensive skill set is one of the best in the league,” he said.
With room to grow, he says, “becoming a more nimble guy and attacking from the moment you catch it.”