Miami Heat

Heat Notes: Green, James, Wade, Riley

The addition of James Johnson, Derrick Williams and Wayne Ellington left no room in Miami for Gerald Green, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Green, who agreed to terms with the Celtics this morning, spent one season in Miami and saw his playing time decline steadily as the year wore on. He appeared in 69 games, starting 14, and averaged 8.9 points per night. Green had expressed a desire to return to Miami, Winderman writes, and the Heat could have offered the same $1.4MM deal he received from Boston. Miami made it clear that the 30-year-old swingman wasn’t in its plans by signing Johnson, Williams and Ellington to be part of an already crowded rotation that includes Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson and Tyler JohnsonAmar’e Stoudemire and Dorell Wright are now the only remaining unsigned free agents from the 2015/16 roster.

There’s more news out of Miami:  

  • As players become more powerful, the idea of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul on the same team becomes more likely, Winderman writes in another piece. During the season, James speculated on the possibility of the four friends someday joining forces.
  • Team president Pat Riley recently offered some insight on teaming up James, Wade and Chris Bosh in 2010, Winderman relates in the same article. All three were slated to get max deals of $16.5MM per season, but they wanted to add Mike Miller and re-sign Udonis Haslem. Eventually, Wade volunteered to take less money, and James and Bosh agreed to sign-and trades. “The interesting part is on July 9th, they all agreed to come in on five-year deals, room only, so I didn’t have to give up any assets,” Riley said. “Then, at the 11th hour, they all wanted the sixth year. You know what that cost me and Andy [Elisburg, the Heat’s general manager]? That cost us four picks. I just said to them, ‘If you want the sixth year because I know you’re going to opt out after the fourth anyhow, but if you want the sixth year, I don’t want any of you to walk into my office and say, ‘Hey, can we get any young guys around here? Can we get some draft picks around here?’ Because they were gone.”
  • Riley’s decision to add more physical players this offseason was likely a matter of taking what was available on the market, rather than a strategy, Winderman writes in a separate piece. Winderman’s comment came in response to a reader’s question on whether acquiring Johnson, Williams, Luke Babbitt and Willie Reed would make the Heat more like the roster Riley had with the Knicks.

Heat Have Franchise-Player Void To Fill

Anthony: Wade Could Have Been A Knick

Carmelo Anthony believes bad timing is all that prevented Dwyane Wade from joining him on the Knicks, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. Wade sent shock waves throughout the NBA earlier this month when he agreed to leave the Heat and sign with the Bulls. Anthony says if Wade’s situation had become apparent earlier, the Knicks could have freed up the cap room to fit him on the roster. “There was a chance, definitely a chance,’’ Anthony said. “We would’ve had to pull a rabbit out of a hat in the 25th hour though. There was a chance. If it was two days earlier, we probably would’ve had Dwyane Wade.”

  • After passing up better offers and signing with the Heat, Willie Reed believes he’s in a perfect situation, writes Shandel Richardson of The Sun-Sentinel. After going undrafted and playing in Spain and the D-League, Reed’s future now appears secure after joining Miami on a two-year veteran’s minimum deal. He is expected to back up newly re-signed center Hassan Whiteside. After two seasons on the Heat’s summer league team, Reed knew he wanted to play for Miami. “I wanted to be able to come to the Heat [this offseason],” Reed said. “I told my agent that if I was able to get a minimum deal with the Heat, I’d take it just because what they did for me.”

Tyler Johnson Talks Free Agency

  • While Tyler Johnson would have been happy to join the Nets after signing an offer sheet with Brooklyn, he was hoping the Heat would match it, as he tells Couper Moorhead of “This is where I’m most comfortable. This is where I’ve found my way in the league. This is where my friends are at. These are the people that I’ve gone through battles with,” Johnson said. “At the end of the day I was still hoping I could figure out a way to come back and be in a HEAT uniform.”

Update On NBA Traded Player Exceptions

Traded player exceptions, which we’ve explained extensively in a Hoops Rumors glossary entry, are a tool that over-the-cap teams can use to complete trades. For mid-season deals, when most teams are at or over the salary cap, these exceptions are typically used and created frequently.

This summer, however, with the salary cap increasing by more than $24MM and most teams choosing to use cap room rather than staying over the cap, trade exceptions have become scarcer — and less useful. In order for teams to actually use their available cap room to take on salaries or to sign free agents, those exceptions must be renounced.

Heading into the 2016/17 league year, teams around the NBA held a total of 29 trade exceptions. After the new league year officially got underway and the moratorium ended, the majority of those TPEs were lost. In total, 22 of the 29 previously-existing traded player exceptions were renounced or expired.

Earlier this month, only the Clippers, Cavaliers, and Thunder still held any TPEs, with Cleveland hanging onto five of them, and L.A. and OKC holding one apiece. Over the last week or so, a few new trade exceptions have been created, but with so many teams still under the cap, the full list is much shorter than it has been in past years.

Here’s a breakdown of the newly-created TPEs:

Charlotte Hornets

Amount: $1,666,470
Expires: 7/12/17
How it was created: When the Grizzlies signed Troy Daniels away from the Hornets, they did so in a sign-and-trade deal, allowing Charlotte to create a TPE for half of Daniels’ $3,332,940 salary.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Amount: $1,333,420
Expires: 7/15/17
How it was created: The Cavaliers created this TPE worth Sasha Kaun‘s 2016/17 salary when they sent him to Philadelphia without receiving any NBA salary in return.

(Note: The Cavaliers also created a $4,803,750 trade exception by signing-and-trading Matthew Dellavedova to the Bucks, but immediately used that exception to acquire Mike Dunleavy.)

Los Angeles Clippers

Amount: $1,209,600
Expires: 7/15/17
How it was created: When the Clippers acquired Devyn Marble from the Magic for C.J. Wilcox, the team actually used its old $947,276 TPE (acquired in January’s Josh Smith trade) to absorb Marble’s salary, then created a new exception worth Wilcox’s salary.

The traded player exceptions listed above have been added to our full breakdown of the TPEs available around the league. That list no longer includes the $2,038,206 exception the Thunder created last summer when they sent Perry Jones III to the Celtics — that TPE expired on July 14.

Our full list of TPEs also no longer features the following exceptions, all of which were renounced earlier this month when these teams went under the cap (expiry date listed in parentheses):

  • Atlanta Hawks: $947,276 (2/18/17)
  • Brooklyn Nets: $2,170,465 (7/13/16)
  • Chicago Bulls: $2,854,940 (2/18/17)
  • Chicago Bulls: $947,276 (6/22/17)
  • Denver Nuggets: $135,000 (2/18/17)
  • Detroit Pistons: $6,270,000 (6/29/17)
  • Golden State Warriors: $5,387,825 (7/27/16)
  • Golden State Warriors: $3,197,170 (7/31/16)
  • Memphis Grizzlies: $450,000 (2/18/17)
  • Miami Heat: $1,706,250 (7/27/16)
  • Miami Heat: $1,294,440 (7/27/16)
  • Miami Heat: $2,129,535 (11/10/16)
  • Miami Heat: $2,145,060 (2/16/17)
  • Miami Heat: $845,059 (2/18/17)
  • Miami Heat: $2,854,940 (2/18/17)
  • Milwaukee Bucks: $5,200,000 (7/9/16)
  • Milwaukee Bucks: $4,250,000 (7/9/16)
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: $5,000,000 (7/12/16)
  • New Orleans Pelicans: $102,217 (12/24/16)
  • New York Knicks: $1,572,360 (6/22/17)
  • Phoenix Suns: $578,651 (2/18/17)

Information from Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post.

Heat Notes: Wade, Ellington, McGruder

On Saturday, we rounded up several of the comments made by Pat Riley during a press conference, including his thoughts on Dwyane Wade‘s departure, the team’s unsuccessful pitch to Kevin Durant, and Chris Bosh‘s uncertain future. During that session, Riley also addressed whether or not the Heat had any interest in Al Horford, admitting the team eliminated the free agent big man from consideration very early in free agency.

“It’s not out of a lack of respect for him, it’s that at 12:01 am, I came to an agreement with Hassan,” the Heat president said, per Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post. “I don’t care if Dallas came in after us, we had Hassan. Once we got Hassan, I didn’t want to string along anybody else. … We like Al, we love Joakim Noah. Everybody that was at the top – the DeRozans, the Beals, the Batums, Howard, Horford – all those guys, their deals were done. Horford is going to really help Boston, I think. But we didn’t really push on that one.”

Here’s more out of South Beach:

  • Riley said on Saturday that the Heat don’t plan to use their $2.9MM room exception this summer, but that doesn’t mean it will go unused for the entire league year. As Anthony Chiang of The Palm Beach Post writes, the club intends to use it in February or March if a noteworthy veteran free agent becomes available, like Joe Johnson did last season.
  • Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel looks back at the Wade/Riley situation, noting that the crux of the issue between the two sides involved Riley’s preference to go season-by-season for Wade’s next few years. The longtime Heat star wanted a longer-term commitment from the franchise.
  • Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders has provided several salary-related updates on recent signings by the Heat. As Pincus details, Wayne Ellington‘s second-year salary ($6.27MM) is non-guaranteed until the first day after 2017’s July moratorium. Additionally, Stefan Jankovic and Okaro White got similar two-year, minimum-salary deals from the club, while Rodney McGruder got a three-year contract worth the minimum.
  • Jankovic, White, and McGruder all start with $100K guarantees, but each player has different deadlines for when more of their salaries become guaranteed, per Pincus. McGruder has four upcoming guarantee dates for his 2016/17 salary, then has multiple guarantee dates for his 2017/18 salary as well.

Community Shootaround: Eastern Playoff Team Most Likely To Slide?

Last week, one of our Community Shootaround discussions focused on this year’s non-playoff teams in the East, asking which of those clubs had done the most to improve its roster so far this summer. The Knicks and Sixers received the most support, but several lottery teams got positive reviews from Hoops Rumors commenters for their offseason work.

Today, it’s time to look at the other eight teams in the East. The Cavaliers, Raptors, Heat, Hawks, Celtics, Hornets, Pacers, and Pistons all earned spots in the postseason. How many of those teams will be back in 2017, and how many will drop out?

The Heat had the most notable departure of any of those eight playoff teams, when Dwyane Wade left Miami to sign with his hometown Bulls. But Miami wasn’t the only club to lose a notable player. The Hawks saw Al Horford depart, and the Raptors parted ways with breakout rim-protector Bismack Biyombo.

The Hornets and Pistons, meanwhile, managed to re-sign their own key free agents, including Nicolas Batum and Andre Drummond, and added some complementary pieces. But Charlotte, at least, will have to deal with some notable departures as well, including Al Jefferson, Jeremy Lin, and Courtney Lee.

Finally, the Cavaliers, Celtics, and Pacers have all received solid reviews for their summer decisions — in Cleveland’s case, it’s simply enough to bring back most of the team that beat the 73-win Warriors for the championship. For Boston and Indiana, the changes are more notable — the C’s added Horford and No. 3 pick Jaylen Brown, while the Pacers brought in Jefferson, Thaddeus Young, and Jeff Teague, among others.

What do you think? Which of the Eastern playoff teams is most likely to slide down the standings in 2016/17? How many of these eight clubs do you expect to finish in the lottery next year? Is Miami the most obvious candidate to take a step or two backwards, or is there another team more in danger of underachieving?

Take to the comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions on the Cavs, Raptors, Heat, Hawks, Celtics, Hornets, Pacers, and Pistons. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Southeast Notes: Winslow, Howard, Bazemore

Pat Riley anointed Justise Winslow as the Heat’s starting small forward for next season, but he hasn’t addressed the larger question of power forward, writes Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel. Riley expressed his confidence in Winslow during a news conference Saturday, saying the rookie will be penciled in as the starting three for 2016/17. But if Chris Bosh isn’t medically cleared to play, that leaves Josh McRoberts, Luke Babbitt and Udonis Haslem as candidates to start alongside Winslow and Hassan Whiteside on the front line. Riley said even though Winslow is only 20, he’s ready to be an NBA starter. “I remember when James Worthy came to the Lakers and Jamaal Wilkes was incumbent,” Riley said, “and then there came that time, there came that time when it was just a matter of time when James Worthy was going to take his position.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Dwight Howard hopes his return home to Atlanta will revitalize his career, according to Steve Hummer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The 30-year-old center, who signed a three-year deal worth $70.5MM with the Hawks, has even changed his number to 8 to signify “a new beginning.” Howard insists that his back, which required surgery in 2012, is no longer a problem. “My back hasn’t been an issue,” he said, “and I don’t think I’ll ever have an issue out of my back for the rest of my career.”
  • Kent Bazemore‘s comments at the press conference after he re-signed with the Hawks showed how much he wanted to stay in Atlanta, relays K.L. Chouinard of Bazemore, who landed a four-year, $70MM contract in free agency, said it was important to remain with the team he joined two seasons ago. “This is one of the high points of my life,” he said, “and I couldn’t choose a better place to be. I said I wasn’t going to get emotional, but I just love it here, you know. People have just embraced me and it just feels like home, man.”
  • It’s hard to understand why the Wizards re-signed Marcus Thornton so early in free agency, writes Ben Standig of CSNMidAtlantic. Thornton, who received a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum, projects as a fifth guard, Standig contends, adding that it’s unusual for teams to fill roster spots with those type of players before Summer League begins.

Heat’s Riley: ‘Great Regret’ Over Losing Wade

During a news conference today in Miami, Heat president Pat Riley expressed his sorrow over losing free agent Dwyane Wade to the Bulls and said he should have done more to prevent it. “I have great regret I didn’t put myself in the middle of it,” Riley said in a quote relayed by Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel (Twitter link).

Wade officially signed with Chicago on Friday after reportedly being unhappy with the offers he was getting out of Miami. Riley says he wishes he had taken a more active role in the negotiations, adding that he should have “gotten in a canoe and paddled to The Mediterranean” if it meant keeping Wade, tweets Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post.

Riley said he had been trying to get “another guy” to pair with Wade since LeBron James returned to Cleveland in 2014 (Twitter link). He added that he hadn’t spoken to Wade since his decision, but has been putting together a long e-mail for him (Twitter link).

Wade, a 12-time All-Star, had been with the Heat since they drafted him in 2003. He is the franchise’s leader in career points, assists and several other categories.

“It’s not going to be the same without [Wade] but we will forge ahead,” Riley said. “Dwyane is unique. There will always be a key under the mat [for Dwyane], I just hope it doesn’t get too rusty. We will miss him.” (Twitter links).

Riley touched on several other topics during the news conference:

  • Any decision on Chris Bosh’s future is “on hold” until August or September, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Bosh, who didn’t play after blood clots were discovered in his left calf during the All-Star break, would like to return next season, but the Heat aren’t sure if it’s medically feasible. Riley said the team is considering a restricted travel schedule or limited workload to help Bosh get back on the court (Twitter link). “I know Chris wants to play, and we would be open to that,” Riley said “But this is still fluid. There’s not an answer.” (Twitter link).
  • Riley believes Justise Winslow is ready to be Miami’s starting small forward after a promising rookie season. “Are we ready for Justise Winslow to start at the 3,” Riley asked. “I am.” (Twitter link). The Heat lost last year’s starter when Luol Deng signed with the Lakers.
  • The Heat offered a more balanced contract to Tyler Johnson than the deal he signed with the Nets, but Johnson insisted on taking the offer sheet from Brooklyn (Twitter link). That contract, which the Heat matched on Sunday, pays Johnson $5.628MM in the first year and $5,881,260 in the second, followed by $18,858,765 in season three and $19,631,975 in season four.
  • Kevin Durant, who chose Miami as one of the five teams he met with in free agency, told Riley that he wants to win right away and viewed the Heat as being in a rebuilding phase (Twitter link). “I’ll never not take an offer from a free agent who calls and says we’d like to talk to you,” Riley said. “We had to do it, it didn’t slow us down.” (Twitter links).
  • Riley is working toward a contract extension with head coach Erik Spoelstra and his staff (Twitter link).
  • The Heat don’t plan to use their $2.9MM room exception this offseason. (Twitter link).

Heat Sign Okaro White

JULY 15, 5:01pm: The Heat have made their deal with White official.

JULY 14, 6:30pm: The Heat have agreed to a deal with unrestricted free agent forward Okaro White, Greek basketball journalist George Zakkas tweets and international journalist David Pick confirms (via Twitter). The length and terms of the agreement are unknown, but it does include a partial guarantee, Pick notes.

The 23-year-old went undrafted out of Florida State in 2014 and then headed overseas, spending the 2014/15 campaign with the Italian club Granarolo Bologna, where he averaged 12.2 points and 6.9 rebounds on the season. White then headed to Greece, spending this past season with Aris BC, notching averages of 13.9 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 26.8 minutes per outing. He shot .465/.337/.791 from the field on the year.

White attended a free agent mini-camp that Miami held in June, but didn’t come away with a contract offer. He appeared in the Orlando Summer League for the Magic’s squad and has been suiting up for the Heat’s squad in Las Vegas, chipping in 10.0 PPG and 6.3 RPG over four contests.

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