Justise Winslow has played well in his return to the NBA court after an injury-riddled 2019-20 season. Last night against the Houston Rockets, Winslow went 8-for-12 from the field to score 20 points in a 133-84 walloping.
Jokes aside...look at Justise Winslow. pic.twitter.com/1e24Cb4amN— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) March 1, 2021
But in a post-game interview, Winslow called his Feb. 2020 trade from Miami to Memphis “one of the best things to happen in my life on and off the court.” He also thanked the Grizzlies for being patient with him.
Winslow’s comment sparked some debates about whether he took a shot at the Heat. Last season, the Heat organization and Winslow disagreed about the extent of the back injury that limited him to just 11 games. After being introduced with the Grizzlies, Winslow admitted, “The coaching staff thought I was able to play” and said, “I’m sure the Miami Heat did everything that they thought was right to try to help me. Things didn’t work out.”
After the NBA re-started its season in July 2020, Winslow suffered a hip injury that sidelined him for the rest of the season. His debut with Memphis came Feb. 20, 2021. His last game with Miami was Jan. 8, 2020.
I don’t think Winslow meant his statement as a diss to the Heat. During a scrimmage in the NBA bubble, Jimmy Butler and Kelly Olynyk greeted him. Winslow later tweeted out a video of the interaction with the caption, “From Florida with Love.”
After trading for Butler in the 2019 off-season, the Heat moved into win-now mode. Miami didn’t have the luxury to wait a year for Winslow to return to form; that’s why the trade for Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill made sense. And Winslow got a change of scenery after a couple injury-plagued seasons. Besides, it’s hard to see Winslow and Butler fitting together offensively.
Heat fans can still root for Winslow, even though he’s on a different team.