Beno Udrih‘s improved play may force the Heat to shake up their rotation once Goran Dragic returns from injury, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Udrih, who was acquired in a November 10th trade with Memphis, has taken over as the starting point guard with Dragic out of action. Dragic was sent home from the team’s current road trip with a calf strain. He will be re-evaluated after the Heat return home tonight, but there is no timetable for his return. Winderman speculates that if Udrih continues to play well, he could turn Tyler Johnson from a combo guard into just a shooting guard and perhaps eat into the minutes of Gerald Green and Justise Winslow.
There’s more Heat-related news today:
- An ideal situation for Miami would be for free agent center Hassan Whiteside to accept an Early Bird salary of about $6MM next season and then receive a maximum deal the following year, Winderman writes in the same piece. However, the columnist adds that there’s virtually no chance of that happening, as Whiteside can expect at least an $80MM offer this summer.
- That payday will be extra sweet for Whiteside, according to Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders, as the 26-year-old center spent two full years out of the NBA before getting a chance with Miami midway through last season. Now that he has a shot at a huge contract, Whiteside listed a few basic things he will be looking for. “I want to go to a team that’s about winning,” he said. “[A team] that has a good understanding of what it takes to win and a good city with a good fan base.” Blancarte expects the Hawks, Celtics, Hornets, Bulls and Lakers to compete with the Heat for Whiteside.
- Earning an All-Star spot is still important to Dwyane Wade at age 34, writes Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post. Wade, who signed a one-year, $20MM deal with the Heat last summer and is headed for free agency again, is fifth in the overall voting with two days remaining. He said the results show he has staying power with the public. “I’m turning 34 years old, and the fans still want to see me in the All-Star Game,” said Wade. “It’s a pretty cool thing. Besides my first All-Star, it probably means the most.”