So, as it turns out, Jimmy Butler is an All-Star after all.
In the aftermath of Kevin Durant’s hamstring injury, which will sit him through the All-Star Break, the NBA gave the vacant spot to highly-deserving Indiana Pacer forward Domantas Sabonis, who is averaging 21.6 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game this season.
But according to Ethan J. Skolnick of 5 Reasons Sports, who covers the Miami Heat as closely as anyone, the spot was offered to Jimmy Butler first.
On the network’s 5 On The Floor Podcast, which he frequently hosts alongside Greg Sylvander and Alex Toledo, Skolnick reported that Butler was not only invited, but he also turned down the offer because teammate and All-Star worthy big man Bam Adebayo couldn’t join him.
“For those who were questioning why Jimmy (Butler) wasn’t named to the All-Star team when (Kevin) Durant went out, and it was (Domantas) Sabonis, I can tell you that the NBA wanted to name him to the All-Star team,” Skolnick reported. “He wasn’t going unless Bam was going.”
As highlighted earlier this week, Butler’s still one of the most impactful players in the NBA and is currently at the center of the team’s first five-game winning streak since last year’s playoffs. At the moment, he’s averaging 20.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 7.8 assists for the Heat, who currently are fifth in the Eastern Conference standings at 16-17. Since returning from COVID on January 30, the Heat are 10-5, and Butler’s averages have elevated to 21.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 8.7 assists during the 15-game stretch. On the season, Adebayo has made another leap from being second in Most Improved Player voting in 2019-20, putting up 19.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 5.5 assists on a nightly basis.
And it also just so happens that Butler is coming off a 33-10-8 line that led a victory over the NBA-leading Utah Jazz. Adebayo added 19 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists.