Heat cut two rookies, trim to 15

MIAMI -- The Heat trimmed their roster to the regular-season limit of 15 players after releasing rookie hopefuls Da'Sean Butler and Patrick Beverley.

Butler, one of the Heat's three second-round picks in the June draft, had been recovering from knee surgery after tearing his ACL while playing with West Virginia in the NCAA tournament.

Beverley, a second-round pick last season, averaged 6.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and three assists in six preseason games, including two starts. Beverley spent last season playing in Greece after the Heat acquired him in a draft-night trade.

"You run out of spots," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "You really would love to keep a couple developmental guys, especially two players like Patrick Beverley and Da'Sean Butler. They were phenomenal while they were here. Patrick made significant progress just since this summer and Butler, that was tough because we never got to see him play, but we were a big fan of his winning mentality."

The Heat had until 6 p.m. Monday to get their roster to the regular-season limit as they prepared for Tuesday's season opener against Boston. Beverley and Butler had received minimum guaranteed contracts from the Heat. The team had hoped to keep Butler through his rehabilitation, but those plans changed when forward Mike Miller broke his thumb last week.

Miami signed Jerry Stackhouse over the weekend to fill in for Miller, which left the Heat with one fewer roster spot than it anticipated having. Butler was expected to return to game action by February.

If Butler isn't picked up on waivers, he plans to remain rehabbing in Miami, agent Richard Katz said.

Butler has rented an apartment in South Florida, and several Heat players -- LeBron James included -- have said in recent weeks they were impressed simply by seeing what he did in the college game.

"He's an unbelievable talent," James said last week. "And the leadership he showed for that West Virginia team ... anytime you watched a game, you always hear the commentators say, when those guys needed a bucket or needed a big play, 'Where's Da'Sean at?' And he always delivered."

Butler was the 42nd pick in this year's draft, his stock dropping considerably after tearing a ligament in his left knee during the Mountaineers' Final Four loss to eventual NCAA champion Duke. He was listed as the 21st-best player in the draft by Heat officials, which is why they were thrilled to grab him in the second round.

Butler averaged 17.2 points for West Virginia as a senior.

Beverley was bidding to be the team's third point guard behind Carlos Arroyo, who'll start Tuesday's opener in Boston, and Mario Chalmers. Beverley appeared in six preseason games, starting two, and averaged 6.5 points on 28 percent shooting.

Information from ESPN.com's Michael Wallace and The Associated Press was used in this report.