Miami Heat Rumors

Josh Smith Rumors: Grizzlies, Lakers, Rockets

December 22 at 7:14pm CST By Chuck Myron

Pistons coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy pulled a stunner today, waiving Josh Smith. Reports quickly identified the Clippers, Mavs and Kings as suitors for Smith in free agency once he clears waivers, as expected, and more clubs are lining up for a chance to obtain him on the cheap. There’s plenty of news rolling in related to Detroit’s bold move and what happens next with the tweener forward, and we’ll pass along the latest in this thread, with any additional updates posted on top:

  • There is a strong belief among Rockets players, even beyond Howard, that they’ll convince Smith to sign in Houston, reports Wojnarowski (via Twitter).
  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said that Smith “fits the profile of the type of guys we love to bring in,” reports Bryan Gutierrez of Mavs Outsider. Cuban added that the Mavs would use Smith more down low than on the wing should they add him, per Gutierrez (Twitter links).
  • While it’s hardly a surprise, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today reports that the Sixers, flush in cap space, have zero interest in claiming Smith off waivers (via Twitter).

4:05pm update:

  • The Grizzlies have expressed interest in Smith, too, Grantland’s Zach Lowe hears, acknowledging that it’s nonetheless a long shot for him to wind up in Memphis (Twitter link). The Grizzlies couldn’t pay him any more than the minimum.

3:49pm update:

  • The Lakers would like Smith to play for them, according to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link), but they wouldn’t fall into the category of a playoff-bound team, the only sort that Smith is reportedly considering (below).

1:55pm update:

  • Teams that aren’t headed for the playoffs are out of the running for Smith, tweets Shams Charania of RealGM. That stance would appear to damage the chances of the Kings most of all among the clubs that reports have so far linked to the forward.

1:40pm update:

  • Smith was “fixated” on finding a way to join the Rockets before he signed with Detroit in 2013, according to Wojnarowski, who writes in a full piece.

1:05pm updates:

  • The Heat are in the running for Smith, Stein reports (on Twitter). Miami has only the minimum to give.
  • Houston will allow Smith to choose whether he wants a one-year or two-year deal, Amick hears (Twitter link). The biannual exception limits contracts to no more than two seasons, and the Rockets are without a way to sign him to a longer deal.

12:39pm update:

  • The Rockets are taking an aggressive stance in their pursuit of Smith, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link). They attempted to trade for him but couldn’t find a workable salary match that didn’t involved Howard or James Harden, Wojnarowski adds in a second tweet.

12:28pm updates:

  • Houston will offer Smith its $2.077MM biannual exception, reports Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). The Rockets are optimistic about their chances to land Smith, given their status as a contender, the opportunity to offer him a large on-court role, and their financial advantage of having the biannual while others are limited to the minimum salary, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today.
  • No one has been a bigger fan of Smith in recent months than Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, according to Stein (Twitter link).

12:17pm updates:

  • The Clippers would like to research the matter more thoroughly before committing to a pursuit of Smith, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (on Twitter). Though Marc Stein of ESPN.com hears the Clippers are indeed interested, coach/executive Doc Rivers said he doesn’t know quite yet what his team will do, as he told reporters, including Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).
  • The Rockets do have interest in signing Smith, Wojnarowski reports (Twitter link). Stein reported earlier that Houston, which has the $2.077MM biannual exception to spend, was still thinking about whether it wanted to go after Smith, who’s a friend of Dwight Howard‘s. Howard has said in the past that he and Smith have had conversations about playing together again as they did when they were AAU teammates, notes Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link).
  • The Kings were the only team to express interest in trading for Smith as the Pistons sought to move him in recent weeks, Stein tweets. The Pistons refused to part with draft picks in any deal or take on burdensome contracts in return, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link).
  • Derrick Williams was alongside Jason Thompson in the Kings‘ earliest trade proposals to the Pistons regarding Smith over the summer, and Carl Landry later replaced Williams in those offers, according to Stein (on Twitter). Van Gundy turned them down because he wanted to coach Smith before cutting ties, Stein adds (Twitter link).

D-League Notes: Cavs, Grizzlies, Heat

December 21 at 4:20pm CST By Zach Links

We’ll keep track of today’s D-League assignments and recalls right here.  As always, you can check out our running post to keep track of all of the D-League moves for the 2014/15 season..

  • Grant Jerrett has been recalled from the D-League, the Thunder announced earlier today.  Jerrett has appeared in five games (four starts) for the Blue this season, averaging 11.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in 22.0 minutes per game.
  • The Cavs announced that they have recalled center Alex Kirk from the Canton Charge.  Kirk has played in 13 games (all starts) for the Charge this season with averages of 16.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 32.2 minutes per contest.  The big man has appeared in three games for the Cavs this season.
  • The Grizzlies announced that they have recalled guard Jordan Adams and forward/center Jarnell Stokes from the Iowa Energy.  Both players were on their third stint with the Energy this season.  Adams, 20, has averaged 18.0 points and 7.1 rebounds in across seven games for the Energy this season.  Stokes, 20, has averaged 13.0 points and 7.3 rebounds in three games for Iowa.
  • The Heat announced that they have recalled Andre Dawkins from the D-League.  Dawkins appeared in nine games (three starts) for the Sioux Falls Skyforce and averaged 25.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists in 36 minutes per game.  Just yesterday, Dawkins dropped 42 points on the Texas Legends.  He’ll be available for Miami’s contest against the Celtics later today.

Latest On Lance Stephenson

December 18 at 8:22pm CST By Zach Links

8:22pm: The Hornets have not received an offer for Stephenson that they are inclined to accept, and will “keep him for now,” Chris Broussard of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link).

THURSDAY, 8:10am: Charlotte isn’t making any progress in its talks with Indiana, and the market in general for Stephenson is lean, Wojnarowski tweets.

TUESDAY, 1:04pm: The Heat are among the teams to have called the Hornets about the mercurial shooting guard, but there’s no traction toward a deal, since Miami doesn’t have much that would entice Charlotte, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

MONDAY, 6:28pm: Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer confirms that the Hornets are aggressively looking to move Stephenson, but his sources say that they are nowhere close to a deal.

12:51pm: The Nuggets have recently been in the mix for Stephenson, too, as Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio hears.

SUNDAY, 6:10pm: The Hornets are targeting the Pacers and Nets as destinations for Stephenson, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.  Wojnarowski also hears that, so far, Charlotte has shown no inclination to package a future draft pick to move Stephenson.

Stephenson’s inability to co-exist on the floor with point guard Kemba Walker is among the main reasons for the franchise’s desire to move him, according to sources who spoke with Wojnarowski.  The Pacers, meanwhile, are all too familiar with Stephenson’s troubles and are acting with little urgency in the talks.

When it comes to talks with the Nets, the Hornets have been willing to consider center Brook Lopez, whom they nearly signed to an offer sheet in 2012, league sources told the Yahoo scribe.  Charlotte has been open to discussing the high-priced Lopez and Joe Johnson as part of a broader Stephenson package.  However, they’re not interested in Deron Williams, thanks to his sizable contract and the emergence of Walker.

4:50pm: The Nets and Clippers are researching Stephenson’s time in Charlotte but they’ve yet to show serious interest, sources tell Wojnarowski (on Twitter).

Meanwhile, the Kings are not among the teams with interest due to concerns about Stephenson, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today.  It’s not hard to imagine other teams having worries about the guard.

4:38pm: The Hornets will be allowed to trade Lance Stephenson starting Monday and they’re exploring their options to move him, league sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Stephenson has been the subject of trade rumors for weeks now and if the Hornets can find a trade partner, their union could be coming to an end within the next couple of months.

Meanwhile, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter) hears that the Hornets and Pacers have had preliminary talks to facilitate a possible Indiana return for Stephenson, but those discussions haven’t gone far.  So far, the Hornets have been unwilling to attach a first-round pick to unload Stephenson, Wojnarowski tweets.  That could have enticed the Pacers to make a move, he adds.

The Hornets are only 23 games into the Stephenson era, but a disappointing 6-17 start has them antsy to make moves.  They’re not in move-him-at-all-costs mode, Stein writes, but they’re ready to bail out on their gamble if the right deal presents itself.  So far, Stephenson appears to be a poor fit alongside Charlotte’s established core of Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker, shooting 38.9% from the floor and going 8 for 48 from downtown.  The Brooklyn native has a 10.5 PER this season, his worst since becoming a starter in 2012/13.

Late last week it was reported that four or five teams have let the Hornets know they have strong interest in acquiring the shooting guard.  For his part, Stephenson wouldn’t mind returning home to join the Nets, but it remains to be seen if there’s a match there.

Corey Brewer Back On Trade Block

December 18 at 6:58pm CST By Eddie Scarito

6:58pm: The discussions between Houston and Minnesota include the possibility of Ronny Turiaf heading to the Rockets as well, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN.com tweets.

THURSDAY, 6:20pm: The Rockets are involved in trade talks with the Wolves regarding Brewer and hope to have an agreement in place by Friday, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle reports.

WEDNESDAY, 8:25pm: The Timberwolves have placed veteran swingman Corey Brewer back on the trade block, Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein of ESPN.com report. Minnesota, which has been hit hard by injuries and is dead last in the Western Conference with a record of 5-19, are again engaging contending teams in discussions for Brewer. The Rockets, Cavaliers, and Clippers are the franchises most interested in acquiring Brewer, Windhorst and Stein note. The Heat have also been mentioned as being interested in the swingman’s services.

Minnesota had made Brewer available in trade talks back in November, but then pulled hm off of the trade market, with team president Flip Saunders saying that the 28-year-old defensive whiz was “too valuable to trade.” This was due in part to the loss of Kevin Martin to a broken wrist, and Ricky Rubio to an ankle injury, which left Minnesota rather thin in its backcourt, note the ESPN scribes. Saunders had acknowledged last week that the Wolves had switched their focus from retooling to rebuilding in light of the rash of injuries and their poor record, which explains why Brewer is suddenly being made available again.

Houston and Cleveland remain in the best position to make a deal because both teams possess an active trade exception large enough to absorb Brewer’s $4.7MM salary, note Stein and Windhorst. But their sources say that the Wolves are seeking a future first-round pick in exchange for Brewer, something that the Cavaliers are reluctant to surrender. Both the Rockets and the Cavs could certainly benefit from Brewer’s strong perimeter defense and versatility.

As for the Rockets, Houston hopes to sell Minnesota on trading Brewer for the Knicks’ 2015 second-rounder that the Rockets hold the rights to, which is a pick with the potential to be attractive come June given the Knicks’ ongoing struggles, Stein and Windhorst add.

For his part, Brewer would likely welcome a trade since he admitted last week that he wasn’t too keen on going through another rebuild with the Wolves. “It’s tough for me, I’m not going to lie,” Brewer said. “When I came back here, I wasn’t expecting this, to rebuild again. It comes with the territory. It’s business. It’s basketball. It’s what I love to do. So I wake up every day and I come to work.”

For the season, Brewer has appeared in 24 games for Minnesota, including 16 as a starter. He is averaging 10.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.3 steals in 28.3 minutes of action per contest.

Eastern Notes: Thornton, Hardaway Jr., Wallace

December 17 at 8:01pm CST By Eddie Scarito

With Dwyane Wade‘s injury history and the lack of production from the bench, one possibility for the Heat to correct this deficiency is Celtics shooting guard Marcus Thornton, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes. Miami wanted to sign Thornton this past offseason, but Thornton was unable to come to terms on a buyout arrangement with Boston, Jackson notes. In 20 games for the Celtics this season, Thornton has averaged 8.2 points and is nailing 42.3% of his three-pointers. The 27-year-old is currently suffering from a small tear in his left calf and is expected to miss a few weeks of action.

Here’s more from the East:

  • The deal with the Nets that garnered Boston three first round draft picks, but also required the Celtics to take back Gerald Wallace‘s bloated contract is looking better for Boston every day, Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com writes. Though Boston would jump at the chance to trade Wallace and the remaining $10.1MM that he is owed for next season, the veteran is providing value as a leader and a spot defender, notes Forsberg.
  • With J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert currently out for the Knicks with injuries, Tim Hardaway Jr. has been struggling with his increased minutes, but Hardaway says the pressure to make his case for more playing time in the future isn’t a factor in his struggles, Fred Kerber of The New York Post writes. “I’m not going to hold my head. I’m not going to get frustrated,” Hardaway said. “I’ve just got to go in the gym and work on it. I’ve got to see the ball going in the basket. That’s what I’m going to do.
  • The play of Sixers‘ 2014 first-rounder Dario Saric overseas has Philadelphia’s coaches and front office excited for the future, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Saric is currently the only player in the Turkish Basketball League who is averaging at least 11.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists, notes Pompey. “I pay attention to him [in] all the games he plays,”  Sixers coach Brett Brown said. “I’ll go and either watch a portion or all of it or highlights. We play text tag all the time. [GM] Sam [Hinkie] was just over there last week. The exciting thing is he’s ours. He will be a Philadelphia 76er and we all have to be excited about that.

Eastern Notes: Pistons, Celtics, Stephenson

December 16 at 9:14pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Despite the Pistons‘ struggles thus far this season, team owner Tom Gores is happy with the direction that team president Stan Van Gundy has the franchise heading, David Mayo of MLive.com writes. “The hardest part for me actually was Stan wants to win so bad,” Gores said. “He genuinely just wants for us to make progress. So the hardest part for me is I know everybody’s working hard, and when you’re not winning, and you’re working hard, it’s kind of tough. Maybe it’s not going to show on the court every night, but I’m personally so comfortable that he’s doing the right things every single day, and eventually, it’s going to convert to wins.”

Here’s more from the East:

  • The multitude of injuries the Heat have endured this season will test Pat Riley‘s patience and willingness not to sacrifice future cap space for a quick fix, Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report writes. Although, Miami’s lack of tradeable assets might make Riley’s decision easier than it would be otherwise, Skolnick adds.
  • Based on the Celtics‘ current record (8-14) and their roster composition, it’s far more likely for them to be sellers than buyers on the trade market, Brian Robb of Boston.com writes. Brandon Bass and Jeff Green are especially likely targets since the pair are putting up strong offensive numbers over the first quarter of the season, notes Robb.
  • As tempting as it may be for the Cavs to take a run at acquiring Lance Stephenson from the Hornets, Cleveland should steer clear of the mercurial player, Chris Fedor of The Northeast Ohio Media Group writes. Fedor asserts that Stephenson’s selfish attitude and disruptive locker room personality would far outweigh any good his skills would bring to the Cavs.
  • There will be numerous complications involved for the Hornets in trying to rid themselves of Stephenson, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes. This is a situation that might require patience, notes Bonnell, since teams often don’t get serious about making an equitable deal until the trade deadline is near.

Josh McRoberts Likely To Miss Rest Of Season

December 16 at 12:43pm CST By Chuck Myron

12:43pm: Erik Spoelstra said today that McRoberts is likely to miss the season, as the Heat coach told reporters, including Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. The Heat plan to apply for a Disabled Player Exception, though they’re expected to wait until they’re confident that an NBA-designated doctor will agree with their assessment that it’s unlikely that he’ll play again in 2014/15, Winderman writes. If the league’s doctor disagrees, Miami wouldn’t be able to reapply for the exception for another 90 days, and even then, they could only do so if McRoberts either aggravated the injury or suffered a different ailment.

MONDAY, 1:26pm: Josh McRoberts has a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee which will force him to undergo surgery that could be season-ending, the Heat announced (Twitter links). McRoberts missed the start of the season after undergoing offseason toe surgery and has struggled to recover, averaging just 17.4 minutes per game and missing seven regular season contests after signing a four-year, $22.652MM contract in the offseason. The Heat would be eligible to apply for a Disabled Player Exception worth nearly $2.653MM if McRoberts is indeed deemed most likely to miss the season, though Miami would have to waive a player to make use of it, since the team has a full 15-man roster.

There’s a strong chance that Miami is also without Chris Bosh for a while, since it’s possible that he’ll miss a few weeks because of a strained calf, reports Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald. The Heat have struggled to replace LeBron James after bursting out of the gates to a 3-0 start this season, and Miami sits seventh in the Eastern Conference at 11-13 after a blowout loss Sunday at home to the Bulls.

McRoberts enjoyed a career year last season with Charlotte, where he averaged 30.3 minutes per game and established himself as a premier passing big man, racking up 4.3 assists against just 1.1 turnovers per contest. The Heat gave him a deal equivalent to the non-taxpayer’s mid-level exception with hopes he’d do the same in Miami, and McRoberts passed up a comparable offer that the Hornets made after the Heat had already put their offer on the table. His absence from Charlotte appears to be one of many problems ailing the Hornets, who’ve gone just 6-17 without him this season.

Southeast Notes: Heat, Wizards, Stephenson

December 15 at 5:40pm CST By Chuck Myron

The two best Eastern Conference teams outside of Canada reside in the Southeast Division, where the Wizards and Hawks are separated by only a game atop the division. Still, there’s turmoil elsewhere in the Southeast, where the Hornets are apparently engaged in trade talks regarding Lance Stephenson and the Heat are suffering from injury woes. Here’s the latest:

  • The Heat are thinking about bringing in another big man with Josh McRoberts sidelined perhaps for the rest of the season, writes Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald.
  • John Wall insisted this past offseason that the Wizards retain coach Randy Wittman, as TNT’s David Aldridge writes in his Morning Tip column for NBA.com. Wittman’s job security was reportedly still in limbo until Washington dispatched the Bulls in the first round of the playoffs last season, and the Wizards signed him to an extension in June.
  • Miami has recalled Shabazz Napier and Hassan Whiteside from the D-League, the team announced. The team sent them down to Sioux Falls on Saturday in advance of the Skyforce’s game that day. Napier scored 22 points and Whiteside put up 21 points and 12 rebounds in a win for the Heat‘s affiliate.
  • The Hornets are finding out that Stephenson is more attractive from a distance than he is as a day-to-day presence on the team, as Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star believes.

Eastern Notes: Magic, Nets, Heat, Cavs

December 14 at 2:45pm CST By Chris Crouse

The Magic are only two games back in the race for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference after their win against the Hawks on Saturday and forward Tobias Harris credits head coach Jacque Vaughn for the team’s improvement, writes Ken Hornack of Fox Sports Florida. “Coach got on us before the game about sharing the basketball and getting everybody else involved and being unselfish,” Harris said after he hit the game winner. “And that’s what we did, and that’s why we were able to be successful.”

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Nets have had their share of injuries this season but the team’s synergy is the reason they have remained in the playoff hunt, writes Roderick Boone of Newsday. Reserve big man Mason Plumlee certainly believes the team is playing well despite the hindrances. “I thought our offense looked great, man,” said Plumlee, who is averaging 16.2 minutes per game this season. “Everybody is going to talk about how well we shot it, but I thought it was because we were moving the ball, we were shooting in rhythm within the offense, and there’s a reason we shot a high percentage tonight. So hopefully we can carry that forward.” Brooklyn currently sits at eighth place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 10-12.
  • Although many of the team’s players will become trade-eligible on December 15th, the date that most offseason additions become movable, the Heat do not have many assets to improve the team, opines Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.  Winderman notes that trading any key player that was signed this summer would signal a failed offseason, which is something team president Pat Riley is unlikely to do. Because of this, Winderman projects Luol Deng and Josh McRoberts to remain on the roster through this season.
  • GM David Griffin is looking to make a deal and the Cavs need an athletic swingman who can defend, according to Bob Finnan of The News-Herald. With the team in no hurry to deal guard Dion Waiters due to his improved play over the last few weeks, Cleveland’s lack of assets may keep the team from bringing in a game-changer via trade. Finnan suggests signing Andrei Kirilenko as a possible solution since the Sixers are likely to waive him. However, the opportunity to sign the Russian forward may not exist until late in the season due to Kirilenko being absent from the league because of family issues.

Eastern Notes: Davies, Payton, Heat, D-League

December 13 at 12:43pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Brandon Davies was asked about the perception that his former team, the Sixers, were tanking in a deliberate effort to land the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Davies denied that was the case amongst the players, and said, “One thing I can tell you in the locker room, we were set on winning. We were just going away. I think the games we played in showed that. We lost some close games against some really good teams.

Here’s more from the East:

  • Nets coach Lionel Hollins was disappointed that the Sixers waived Jorge Gutierrez, whom they had acquired along with Andrei Kirilenko on Wednesday, Pompey tweets.
  • When the Magic drafted Elfrid Payton with the No. 10 pick in this year’s draft it appeared the plan was to play him and Victor Oladipo alongside each other, which hasn’t occured much this season, Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com writes. But according to coach Jacque Vaughn, things can change as Payton continues to develop, notes Howard-Cooper. “I think overall we’ll see how this combination finds its way,” said Vaughn. “The great thing is I have my eyes, which I always listen to, and I also have stats these days, which I can look at and see how that pairing is doing. A lot of detail will go into it. But there’s no rush from the standpoint of ‘This has to happen now.’
  • The Heat‘s two young big men, Justin Hamilton and Hassan Whiteside, are beginning to impress coach Erik Spoelstra, Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel writes. “They both do some nice things and they both do it in a different way,” Spoelstra said. “Justin is a very intelligent, in-the-right-place type of weak-side defender. He does a lot of things that don’t show up in a box score. He reminds me a little bit of a Shane Battier, does a lot of those intangible things. Whiteside is big and he has that great gift of blocking shots, so you know somebody is in there.”
  • The Heat have assigned Whiteside and Shabazz Napier to the Sioux Falls Skyforce, their D-League affiliate, the team announced. This will be the first trek of the season to the D-League for both players.
  • With both the Lakers and the Knicks struggling mightily this season, and both franchises’ future prospects looking equally bleak, Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony should find a way to become teammates, Paul Newberry of The Associated Press opines. Newberry does acknowledge that the players’ respective contracts would make this a difficult proposition.