FRIDAY, 8:28am: Thornton wanted to join the Heat and was disappointed when Udrih went unclaimed, according to Jackson. Miami had strong interest, and Thornton would still like to join the team next month when the Heat are able to sign someone again without going over the tax, but he’d prefer to find a job sooner, Jackson adds.
2:43pm: Thornton is interested in seeing whether the Sixers claim Udrih off waivers to reach the salary floor, a move that would take his entire $2,170,465 salary off Miami’s books for tax purposes and give the Heat enough flexibility to sign him immediately without going over the tax, notes Jackson (Twitter link). Udrih will remain on waivers until Wednesday.
TUESDAY, 12:47pm: The Cavaliers and Heat are among a group of three or four teams with an eye on recently released shooting guard Marcus Thornton, reports Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald first identified the Heat’s interest last week, while Shams Charania of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports wrote Monday that Miami was in talks with the Tony Dutt client. Thornton remains in wait and see mode, according to Watkins, which jibes with Jackson’s report that the 28-year-old is in no hurry to sign. He cleared waivers from Houston this weekend, so he’ll be eligible to take part in the postseason with any playoff-bound team as long as he signs before the end of the regular season.
Tax implications loom large for both Cleveland and Miami. The Cavs are limited to giving out no more than the minimum salary, which would give Thornton about $300K if he signed today and cost the Cavs about $1.1MM in combined salary and luxury tax payments. The Heat couldn’t sign Thornton until about a week to go in the season without going over the tax line again. Beno Udrih gave back $90K of his $2,170,465 salary in Monday’s controversial buyout deal, leaving him with $2,080,465 for the season and the Heat about $41,600 under the tax threshold, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (All Twitter links). They could use a prorated portion of their mid-level to outbid the Cavs, but that would also send Miami zooming back into the tax.
Thornton was part of the failed Donatas Motiejunas trade that was to have sent both to Detroit before it was voided, but the Pistons didn’t plan on using Thornton in the rotation as Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press noted. He averaged 10.0 points in 18.8 minutes per game with the Rockets this season. Those numbers are up from last season but well off his career highs of 18.7 points and 34.9 minutes per contest he saw in 2011/12 with the Kings.