The Heat Hired Caron Butler As An Assistant Coach And Will Bring Back Udonis Haslem

In a pair of moves announced Friday, the Miami Heat will retain one instrumental part of their renowned culture and bring back someone who once played for the franchise and whom they likely hope will bolster that culture further.

Initially it was Udonis Haslem, who at a local community event announced he would be returning to the NBA for his 18th season, all of which have been played with the Heat. Haslem has long been thought of in Miami as almost an extra assistant coach, a player who brings far more as a locker room leader and workout partner these days, as he’s no longer really a part of head coach Erik Spoelstra’s playing rotation.

“I have to do these things in order to move the needle from a perspective of a guy that’s actually not getting minutes,” Haslem said.

The more surprising news came later in the day when Miami announced it would hire longtime NBA veteran Caron Butler, who was back in the headlines this summer hosting a digital series for the NBA and taking the lead in many of its social justice initiatives in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis.

Butler played for the Heat for the first two seasons of his career from 2002-04 alongside Haslem.

Though Butler has not been on a coaching staff since retiring in 2016, the 2011 NBA champion is widely respected around the NBA and, like Haslem, a thoughtful and hard-working guy who made it work in the league for a long time despite not possessing typical NBA athleticism or star power.

As Miami gears up for another potential title run, they’re doubling down on the culture that’s long made them such a force in the league.