The Heat spoke with the agent for point guard John Lucas III during a recent stretch when two of their existing point guards were injured, reports Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. It’s nonetheless unclear if Miami still has interest in the client of Bernie Lee after today’s news that Tyler Johnson is likely to miss at least two months. Johnson and fellow Heat point guards Goran Dragic and Beno Udrih all missed games in January for the Heat, who came close to having enough players who were expected to miss enough time to qualify for a 16th roster spot via hardship. The team doesn’t currently meet the hardship criteria, so signing Lucas or any other player would require the Heat, who have a full 15-man roster, to unload someone else.
That would be a difficult proposition, since all salaries are guaranteed at this point in the season and the Heat face repeat-offender tax penalties if they can’t decrease their payroll by about $5.5MM by the final day of the regular season. Rookie shooting guard Josh Richardson has the cheapest salary on the Heat, at the rookie minimum of $525,093, but he’s liable to see more playing time with Johnson out.
Lucas, 33, was with the Heat for the preseason, and coach Erik Spoelstra said it was a tough decision to release him before opening night, even though his contract was non-guaranteed. Sixers coach Brett Brown said in December that he spoke with the eight-year veteran, and last month Lucas joined the D-League affiliate of the Pacers. He’s averaged 20.0 points, 5.0 assists and 2.2 turnovers in 37.4 minutes per game across five D-League appearances so far.
The Heat recently made a due diligence check-in with free agent combo guard Tony Wroten, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported. They did the same with combo forward Dorell Wright, Jackson added.