LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) It was June 30, 2019. The Miami Heat had an evening all planned out for their recruitment of free agent Jimmy Butler, down to every detail. They greeted him with music from Irish singer Dermot Kennedy, one of his favorites. A buffet dinner was set up, tables overlooking the water of Biscayne Bay. They had players-turned-executives Shane Battier and Alonzo Mourning there to talk about what it's like to be part of the Heat.
And then it was time to go inside, break into a smaller group, get down to business and give him the sales pitch. Butler never let Heat President Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra even get started. There was no need. He'd already picked Miami. He just hadn't told them yet.