NBA suspends Heat’s Butler, Bryant and Jovic after fight in New Orleans. Also, Herro to undergo MRI

Every player on the Miami Heat’s roster is in Sacramento for Monday’s matchup against the Kings. But not every player is eligible to play in that game.

That’s because three Heat players will miss Monday’s contest against the Kings at Golden 1 Center (10 p.m., Bally Sports Sun and NBA TV), as they serve suspensions stemming from the melee that took place during Friday night’s 106-95 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

For the Heat, the NBA announced Sunday afternoon that Thomas Bryant, Jimmy Butler and Nikola Jovic have been suspended in the wake of the fight.

For the Pelicans, the NBA suspended Jose Alvarado and Naji Marshall.

Bryant and Alvarado “have each been suspended three games without pay for leaving the bench area during an on-court altercation and fighting,” the league said in a press release.

Meanwhile, Butler, Jovic and Marshall have all been suspended for one game.

“I had no idea what to expect,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said following Sunday’s practice in Sacramento when asked whether he’s surprised by the suspensions. “You know, at this point, it doesn’t really matter. They’ve made their decision on that. It felt like Jimmy shouldn’t have gotten a game on that. It’s really just kind of a tangling and a little bit of pushing. I don’t think that deserves another game because he ended up having to miss the fourth quarter. But it is what it is.”

Butler and Marshall “have each been suspended one game without pay for instigating and engaging in an on-court altercation” during Friday night’s game, the league said.

Jovic “has been suspended one game without pay for leaving the bench area and entering an on-court altercation,” the NBA announced.

Butler and Jovic will serve their one-game suspensions on Monday when the Heat faces the Kings. Bryant will begin serving his three-game suspension on Monday and will miss the final three games of the Heat’s four-game trip.

“It doesn’t surprise me, man. It doesn’t,” Butler said of his suspension. “I’m basically still on All-Star break.”

The skirmish at the root of the league-issued punishments began when Heat center Kevin Love fouled Pelicans forward Zion Williamson by wrapping him up to prevent an easy layup with 11:19 left in the fourth quarter. As a result, four players were immediately ejected from that game.

The four ejected: Two Heat players (Butler and Bryant) and two Pelicans players (Marshall and Alvarado). Those four players also ended up being suspended by the NBA for their roles in the scuffle.

“From my point of view, I was coming in to be a peacemaker,” Bryant said. “I didn’t want any of my teammates to get hurt, I certainly didn’t want to get hurt at all. It just didn’t work out in the favor that I wanted. But, hey, it is what it is.”

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) and New Orleans Pelicans forward Naji Marshall (8) and guard Jose Alvarado (15) are ejected after a melee due to a play during the second half at Smoothie King Center.
Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) and New Orleans Pelicans forward Naji Marshall (8) and guard Jose Alvarado (15) are ejected after a melee due to a play during the second half at Smoothie King Center.

But those four who were ejected on Friday weren’t the only players under the league’s microscope. Others who joined the fray also were in danger of being punished by the NBA, especially those who were on the court during the altercation and left the bench to get involved.

According to the NBA rule book, “During an altercation, all players not participating in the game must remain in the immediate vicinity of their bench. Violators will be subject to suspension, without pay, for a minimum of one game and fined up to $50,000.”

Jovic is the only other player who the NBA suspended for leaving the bench area and entering the fight. It’s the second time in Jovic’s two-year NBA career that he has been suspended for this reason, as he also served a one-game suspension for leaving the bench to get involved in an altercation as a rookie last season during a skirmish between Heat forward Caleb Martin and then-Toronto Raptors center Christian Koloko on Oct. 22, 2022.

“I didn’t want to step on the court,” Jovic said following his latest suspension. “Me and TB were just trying to make sure that nothing crazy happened. Then something crazy happened on the sideline, and I was the nearest one to be around TB and he was surrounded by the other team and I just couldn’t let him down. I was there just trying to separate guys and that’s it.”

The suspensions without pay will cost Butler $259,968, Bryant, $52,308 and Jovic $12,655.

While Bryant has been out of the rotation and Jovic has been in and out of the rotation this season, Butler is considered by many to be the Heat’s best player. Butler, who will miss his 19th game of the season on Monday, has averaged 24.1 points, eight rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.1 steals per game while shooting 56.5 percent from the field and 12 of 22 (54.5 percent) on threes in his last eight appearances.

In addition to those three Heat players who will serve suspensions on Monday, injuries will also keep a few others out against the Kings.

The Heat has ruled out Bryant (league suspension), Butler (league suspension), Jovic (league suspension), Josh Richardson (right shoulder dislocation) and Dru Smith (season-ending right knee surgery) against the Kings.

Also, Heat guard Tyler Herro left Friday’s win early with less than two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter after slipping and hyperextending his left knee. Herro offered positive news after the game, saying “everything was good” and “it just kind of scared me more than anything.”

Herro said following Sunday’s practice that he will undergo an MRI on his left knee as a precaution and is listed as questionable for Monday’s game against the Kings. Following Monday’s contest, the Heat closes a back-to-back set on Tuesday against the Trail Blazers in Portland.

“I’m feeling encouraged with everything that happened after the [knee] incident,” Herro said Sunday. ... “It really didn’t swell up that much at all. Just get an MRI for peace of mind and make sure nothing is structurally damaged, which I don’t think is. But we just want to make sure. Hopefully I’ll be ready to go either [Monday] or in Portland.”

But there is positive injury news for the Heat: The hope remains that Rozier will return soon after missing the last three games, possibly as soon as Monday against the Kings. Rozier is listed as questionable for the Heat’s game in Sacramento.

“He’s on the road trip for a reason,” Spoelstra said Sunday when asked about Rozier’s status. “He’s working toward getting back. When that day will be, I don’t know yet. But he’s definitely making progress. His body will let us know. He’s putting in a lot of work behind the scenes to be able to be out here. So he’s doing a lot of stuff in the training room. Hopefully at some point on this trip, he’ll be available.”

The only other player on the Heat’s injury report is center Orlando Robinson, who is questionable for Monday’s game with lower back spasms.

The Heat always believes it has enough to come away with a win. Amid suspensions and injuries, the Heat will use that same approach against the Kings

“I want to go out there and I want to compete with my guys, as does Niko and as does TB,” Butler said. “But I think we do have enough to get it done. It might be a little bit more difficult. But I know that these guys can do it. They’ve shown that they can do it all year long. This is no different — on the road and on the first night of a back-to-back. We’re expected to go out there and win, and that’s what we’re going to do.”