OCTOBER 17, 8:37am: The move is official, as Bobby Marks of The Vertical tweets. Winslow becomes the first player to have his 2017/18 team option formally exercised, though plenty will follow in the next two weeks.
OCTOBER 16, 6:44pm: The Heat will pick up the third-year rookie-scale option on Justise Winslow, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The long-expected move will guarantee Winslow a $2.7MM salary for 2017/18.
Miami has an October 31st deadline to pick up the option, but GM Andy Elisburg confirmed that the decision has already been made. The Heat just have to prepare an official “exercise letter” and send it to Winslow’s agent.
Winslow made an impression with a strong rookie year after dropping to No. 10 in the 2015 draft. He quickly earned a spot in the Heat’s rotation and averaged 6.4 points and 5.2 rebounds in 78 games. With the departure of Luol Deng in free agency, Winslow will move into a starting role. He is the only Miami player to start the team’s first five preseason games.
Winslow said he expected to have his option picked up and he is learning all he can about how the NBA handles contracts.
“This is a business,” he said. “You’ve got to know every aspect of it. Of course, I felt 99 percent sure that they would pick it up, but it’s something that you’ve still got to be aware of. If not for yourself, you’ve got to tell other rookies coming down the line. Because this is a brotherhood. You want to look out for everybody.”
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is happy with Winslow’s progress so far and sees much brighter things in his future.
“He does what he’s always done, and that’s make winning plays,” Spoelstra said. “He is one of those unique players.”
Miami now has five players with guaranteed contracts for 2017/18, including Chris Bosh, whose salary could be removed from the team’s cap if he is not medically cleared to return after repeated issues with blood clots. The others are Hassan Whiteside, Tyler Johnson and Goran Dragic.