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Heat's Jimmy Butler returns to South Florida as NBA awaits restart

Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Basketball

With an announcement expected Thursday on the NBA plan to resume the 2019-20 season, Miami Heat All-Star forward Jimmy Butler has returned to South Florida after spending most of the league's shutdown at his San Diego-area home.

Butler's return comes a week after Heat forward Andre Iguodala returned to South Florida from his home in the San Francisco area.

That leaves forward Solomon Hill, who has spent the shutdown at his Los Angeles-area home, as the lone Heat player of the 17 under contract yet to return to South Florida.

With the NBA Board of Governors on Thursday expected to ratify a return-to-play plan, players had been encouraged to return to their teams' cities.

The expectation is that the league will continue voluntary, individual workouts at team training facilities, such as the practice court at AmericanAirlines Arena, before moving to team workouts closer to the start of July.

The NBA shut down Match 11 amid the coronavirus pandemic. The league is expected, with Thursday's vote of the Board of Governors, to attempt to resume play July 31 in a closed setting in the absence of spectators, health conditions allowing.

While not all teams are expected to return, the Heat, with their 41-24 record and No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, will be among the teams expected to enter a "bubble" at Disney World in the league's bid to finish 2019-20.

Butler over the past two months has posted a series of workout videos on his social-media channels, quarantining in California with training and conditioning staff.

 

In addition, when he learned that several teammates did not have access to baskets during the height of the quarantine, he paid for rims to be sent to the homes of those players, as well as coaches and selected others.

Butler, 30, acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers in July and then signed to a four-year, $142 million contract, has continually stressed his comfort playing for Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and Heat President Pat Riley.

"There isn't a better place to be, for me. Miami's it. We've got the right young guys. We've got the right vets," he said during a podcast last month. "They get it, they get it, and they're thirsty to get back to hooping."

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