NBA

Why The Knicks Passed On Jimmy Butler

Why The Knicks Passed On Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler has the Miami Heat within one win of the NBA Finals. It is a return to glory for Pat Riley’s organization that would have seemed unthinkable just one year ago.

The biggest difference between then and now? The offseason acquisition of Butler.

Meanwhile, the New York Knicks finished this past season with a 21-45 mark – good for 12th place in the horrendous Eastern Conference. The team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2013.

Clearly the Knicks could use a Butler-like presence on the roster. Unfortunately, when they had their chance to nab him, they passed.

This week, Marc Berman of the New York Post revealed that New York brass ultimately decided that chasing Butler in 2019 when he was available wasn’t a worthwhile proposition.

“When Butler was a free agent in 2019, the Knicks’ past management wasn’t interested in Butler’s leadership and defense,” he wrote.

Ironically, new Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau has expressed a desire to replicate the plan that has gotten Miami to where it is.

“I have great respect for the Heat organization, the way they play, what Pat Riley has done there, Erik Spoelstra,” he said.

“They have great ownership in Mickey Arison. They’ve done it for a long time. The continuity has been important for them.

“They’ve evolved as the game has evolved. The things they believe in have stood the test of time — fundamentals, intensity, their work ethic. Those are all Pat Riley trademarks. I know Knicks fans are familiar with that from when Pat was here.”

Thibodeau also seems genuinely glad that Butler is thriving with the Heat.

“I’m thrilled for him,’’ he said.

“It’s a great story. It’s a guy who was drafted 30th and made himself better every year. Even now, an established All-Star, he still works incredibly hard.

“He plays very unselfishly, plays to win. He’s not about statistics. I knew that from the start with him. I never envisioned him being this good,” Thibodeau continued.

“I always thought he’d be a good player. But he’s made himself into a superstar because of his intelligence, talent and work ethic. He’s a guy who constantly studies and brings about the best in his teammates.”

It is pretty mind-blowing that the Knicks, a franchise known for relentlessly adding forwards with no leadership or defensive skills, passed on the one forward who has both because they mistakenly thought he didn’t.

Butler and the Heat are set to take on the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday.

With a win, they will return to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2014.

Related: Lane Kiffin’s Pregame Outfit For Ole Miss vs Florida Goes Viral

Jennifer Withers Hoey

Jennifer Withers Hoey is a former Business Development Manager who transitioned to writing about sports. With valuable connections all over the West Coast, she has used those contacts to break some of the most interesting stories pertaining to the Portland Trail Blazers, Oregon Ducks, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Seattle Supersonics (RIP), and more.

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