Dwyane Wade spent the first 13 seasons of his career with the Miami Heat and perhaps didn’t fully appreciate the quality of their culture until he joined the Chicago Bulls.
Wade made a remark alluding to that perspective in the Bulls’ locker room, which sources tell ESPN’s Zach Lowe that Jimmy Butler heard and it stuck with him.
As Butler was traded from the Bulls to the Minnesota Timberwolves and then to the Philadelphia 76ers, he never seemed satisfied.
“There’s no utopia in the NBA. Every team has issues,” Butler’s agent, Bernie Lee, would often tell him.
“I’d always hear back: What about Miami?” Lee said. “I can only assume the person who had a locker near Jimmy for a year and who is in a picture with Jimmy that has been the home screen on Jimmy’s phone had something to do with that.”
Butler’s first choice became the Heat even though they didn’t have cap space for him.
“We never once spoke about Miami as a city,” Lee said. “Obviously it’s an amazing place with amazing people, but Jimmy wasn’t going there for the beach. Since he’s gotten there, I think we have gone out to eat less than 10 times and one of them was the Super Bowl. We didn’t even talk about the tax advantages. The only questions he asked were of the background of the people involved and how they would build out the team.”
As one rival GM put it: “The Heat have something better than trade assets.”