Basketball: NBA's Heat lock up Butler with four-year extension

Butler (above) started all 52 games in which he played last season, averaging a team-leading 21.5 points, 7.1 assists and 6.9 rebounds.
Butler (above) started all 52 games in which he played last season, averaging a team-leading 21.5 points, 7.1 assists and 6.9 rebounds. PHOTO: AFP

MIAMI (AFP) - The Miami Heat inked NBA All-Star guard Jimmy Butler to a four-year contract extension Saturday (Aug 7) worth a reported US$184 million (S$250 million).

Heat president Pat Riley called Butler "the anchor and face" of the franchise in announcing the deal, an extension of the contract that will pay Butler US$36 million for the 2021-22 NBA season.

The club did not announce terms of the deal that will keep Butler in Miami through the 2025-26 season, but ESPN, citing Butler's agent, said it was worth US$184 million.

"With Jimmy, we get an All-NBA player, an All-NBA Defensive player, tough as nails and a complete player across the board," Riley said.

"He's very deserving of this contract as he continually puts himself at the top of the league at his position. Having him in the Heat organization has been a great, great coup for us."

Butler started all 52 games in which he played last season, averaging a team-leading 21.5 points, 7.1 assists and 6.9 rebounds. His 2.08 steals per game led the league.

Butler also shot 86.3 per cent from the foul line.

Over 10 years in the NBA, Butler has averaged 17.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists.

The 31 year-old American, who arrived in Miami two years ago, is expected to be a key component in a revamped Heat roster as the club seeks to return to the NBA Finals for the second time in three years.

He has already been instrumental in recruiting his friend Kyle Lowry to the Heat, who announced on Friday the acquiring of the six-time All-Star guard from the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa.

The Heat had pursued Lowry at the trade deadline in March but couldn't make the deal, finally landing him in a sign and trade deal after free agency negotiations were allowed to begin.