The NBA has denied a report that Jimmy Butler rejected an invitation to the All-Star Game to replace the injured Kevin Durant, as it was initially believed that Butler would only attend the game if Heat teammate Bam Adebayo received an invite as well.
The rumor of Butler turning down the NBA’s offer originally came from Ethan Skolnick of Five Reasons Sports Network, who said that the league preferred Butler taking Durant’s spot over Pacers big Domantas Sabonis, who was chosen to take the vacant spot.
However, NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman called this rumor into question, noting that players don’t really have the option to skip the All-Star Game unless they are injured. Plus, replacements are typically chosen by coaches rather than the league. And Feldman’s hunch appears to have been proven right, as a league spokesperson denied that Butler had turned down an invitation to the All-Star Game.
While Butler remains one of the most beloved and well-known players in the league, he has played in only 21 games this season, making him an unlikely candidate for the All-Star Game. And even though he is not a household name, Sabonis is having his best season in Indiana, averaging over 20 points and 11 rebounds per game.