Heat’s Robinson updates back injury. And former front office executives weigh in on Butler

Heat wing Duncan Robinson indicated on Friday that he has been given no reason to have long-term concerns about a back injury that sidelined him for 10 games late in the season and limited him significantly in the playoffs.

Robinson played only 58 minutes in Miami’s 4-1 first-round playoff series loss to Boston because the back limited his mobility. He scored 13 points on 5 for 18 shooting in the series.

He said the back injury will not “linger or last,” based on medical feedback.

He offered this insight on the injury:

“Towards the end of the season, that Philly game [on March 18], started being an inflection point, that one in Philly. There were a million different thoughts of how to proceed, the best way to handle it.

“I was going to try to do whatever I could to be available. In hindsight, I don’t have any regrets. I certainly feel I would have had more regrets the other way...

“That was a bitter way for us to finish the season for us, foremost, and then for me, dealing with emotions, frustrations, challenges I’ve been fortunate enough not to deal with in my career.”

Robinson missed five games after that March 18 game in Philadelphia, came back to play five games but shot only 8 for 28 in those games, and then sat out four games before the playoffs.

He finished the regular season averaging 12.9 points and a career high 2.8 assists and shot 39.5 percent on threes in 68 games and 36 starts.


Bam Adebayo offered a candid response when asked what it was like being the Heat’s captain this season, following the retirement of Udonis Haslem.

“It [stinks] because you learn it’s not about you. You’ve got to think of so many other people [first]. It can’t be about you no more.”

▪ What will Adebayo add to his game this summer? “Being able to coach my teammates through the offense while the game is happening, tell my teammates where to go.”

▪ Free agent point guard Delon Wright said “I definitely would like to come back” to the Heat next season. “With a full training camp, I will have a better understanding of what [Erik Spoelstra] wants out of me.”

▪ Rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. said he does not plan to play for Mexico in Olympic qualifying this summer. He said he would like to become a “consistent knock down shooter.”

Jaquez shot 48.9 percent from the field but 32.2 percent on three-pointers in 75 games and 20 starts.

Cole Swider, who was on a two-way contract this season, said the Heat has indicated it wants to keep him a part of its program. He expects to play for the team in the Las Vegas Summer League.

Terry Rozier, Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro declined to speak to reporters, something that is voluntary after the season. Rozier missed the team’s final nine games with a neck injury.


Two former front office executives weighed in on the situation with Butler, who plans to ask the Heat to give him what essentially is a three-year, $161.7 million commitment instead of the two-year, $101.2 million commitment already in place.

ESPN’s Bobby Marks, a former Nets executive, wrote up a detailed outlook on the Heat with this perspective on Butler:

“No one can doubt what Butler has meant to the Heat. Before his arrival in 2019, Miami had missed the playoffs in two of three seasons and had not reached the Finals since 2014. With Butler, Miami has advanced to three Eastern Conference finals and two NBA Finals in the past five seasons.

“Butler is one of nine players to have higher career averages in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks in the playoffs compared to the regular season. This past season, Butler was one of eight players to average 20 points on 40% on 3-pointers and 85% on free throws. But for all of that, Butler will turn 35 years old in September and has failed to play more than 65 games in each of the past four seasons.

“Butler saw his field goal percentage drop from 54% to 50% this year, largely due to his struggles at finishing near the rim. Per Second Spectrum, Butler shot 44% on drives this season (seventh worst in the NBA among players with at least 250 field goal attempts) and 59% on layups and dunks. Last season, Butler shot 52% on drives and 63% on layups/dunks….

“The Heat will need to decide whether rewarding Butler with a new contract is in their best interest long term and then analyze what type of fallout comes if Butler is not extended.”

▪ Former Memphis Grizzlies official John Hollinger, in his postseason piece for The Athletic on Thursday, said of Butler’s situation:

“Between his declining play this season and the constant absences, there are increasingly loud whispers that his future might not be in Miami….

“One wonders if a more plausible endgame is a trade of Butler himself; moving his $48.8 million for next season would pare down an expensive roster and perhaps supplement it with additional pieces… This could help kick-start a stealth rebuild around Adebayo and Herro.

“On the other hand, if you’re trading Butler, the obvious questions are 1) Who is trading for him? 2) What are you getting back? and 3) How is that any better than the status quo?

Butler is great, but he isn’t a Durant or Paul George whom you just plug into any system and don’t sweat it; he’s more in the Trae Young category where he’s not everyone’s cup of tea and doesn’t fit every roster, especially with the age and contract. There are definitely teams that could and should want him, but it might be a more difficult sell than you think.

“If Butler is back in Miami next year, the most obvious place to look for roster revisions is using one or two of the mid-sized contracts (Herro/Robinson/Rozier) with the 15th pick to acquire a plus-starter on the wing.

“That might be a middle ground that improves the roster short term and allows them to survive losing Martin but also keeps their future draft pick powder dry and lets them tread water until better options come along.”