Star wing Jimmy Butler indicated he is very confident in the Heat’s title chances.
Miami opens the Eastern Conference finals on the road against the Celtics on Wednesday. Boston is the No. 2 seed; the Heat are No. 8.
“This year is our year,’ Butler said, via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “We’re going to go into this Game 1 and do what we’re supposed to do and be the first one to four. We are very capable of it. We have enough. …
“Guys are playing some incredible basketball. I like our chances, as does everyone in this organization.”
- Butler also praised the Celtics, who emerged out of the East last season, eliminating the Heat along the way. “If there’s ever a need for perfect basketball, even though it’s not really a thing, we better get as close to it as we can,” he said, via Jackson.
- We have more out of Miami in our related notebook right here, as well as all the time on our Heat page.
Guard/forward Jaylen Brown indicated the Heat are not to be taken lightly, despite being the final team to qualify for the East playoffs.
The Celtics beat the Heat in seven games last season — but things are different today, Brown added.
“(Miami is) not the same team as last year,” Brown said, via Jay King of The Athletic. “Jimmy is still Jimmy and (coach Erik Spoelstra) is still Spo, but we’ve got to make sure that we’re aware to everybody else — Kevin Love, some of the new guys that they got.
“They’ve got a tremendous story, being able to go all the way from the play-in and just steamroll through the playoffs. We’ve just got to come out and set the tone with our energy and try to cool them off a little bit.”
- Coach Joe Mazzulla added that the Heat do indeed have a culture. “I mean everybody has a culture. I think we have ours as well,” he said, via King. “Both teams have shown that they’re able to get through good times and bad. And that says a lot about the players in the organization, more than anything.”
- Center Robert Williams is a full-go and will start Game 1 vs. the Heat, Mazzulla told reporters.
Center Jarrett Allen is the “most expendable component” of the Cavs’ top players, but it appears they will keep him and give the frontcourt of Allen and forward Evan Mobley more time together, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.
Also, league sources have insisted to Hoops Wire that the Cavs have zero intention of trading Allen this offseason.
- Celtics forward Grant Williams, Hornets guard/forward Kelly Oubre Jr., Lakers shooting guard Malik Beasley and Bucks forward Joe Ingles are just some of the names who could be on the Cavs’ free agency radar, per Fedor.
- The Cavs will also be looking to add a big man off the bench. Nuggets center Thomas Bryant is among those who may be a possibility, per Fedor and Hoops Wire sources.
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Trade Allen and Okoro for DeAndre Ayton. Let Ayton play power forward like he wants to.