Miami Heat Rumors

Heat Interested In Hassan Whiteside

November 23 at 5:01pm CST By Zach Links

Marc Stein of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears that the Heat are planning to pluck Hassan Whiteside from the D-League.  Whiteside has put up big numbers so far this season for the Iowa Energy.

The Grizzlies waived Whiteside last week, terminating his second contract with Memphis this season.  Whiteside’s last stint with the Grizzlies lasted a grand total of one day.  The 7-footer was signed along with Kalin Lucas to help fill the gap as five Grizzlies players were out of action with stomach viruses.  Still, Whiteside did not see the floor for the Grizzlies and has yet to see a minute of NBA action in 2013/14.

As Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel (on Twitter) notes, the Heat could cut Andre Dawkins to make room for Whiteside.  The undrafted shooting guard is on a non-guaranteed pact and could be moved to the team’s D-League affiliate.  Eventually, Winderman posits (link), a Whiteside signing could unseat Justin Hamilton, who has a December 1st partial-guarantee date.

Southeast Notes: Payne, Hornets, Harris

November 23 at 3:27pm CST By Zach Links

Heat rookie Shabazz Napier never had any doubt that he belongs in the NBA, writes Shandel Richardson of the Sun Sentinel. “Even though Chris Paul is a guy I looked up to growing up, I just thought this was a chance for me to have a good opportunity to play against him and try my best,” Napier said after scoring 17 points against Paul in Thursday’s loss to the  Clippers. “I’m never in awe of anybody. I don’t let the moment get to me at all.” Napier entered the league with a reputation for confidence after leading Connecticut to the NCAA title last season.  Here’s more from the Southeast..

  • The Hawks have recalled Adreian Payne from the D-League, according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (on Twitter).  Payne was went down to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, an affiliate that they share with a dozen other teams, late last week.  The Michigan State product averaged 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds with 42.3% accuracy from behind the three-point line as a senior.
  • Even though they haven’t saved the Hornets from a disappointing start, coach Steve Clifford told Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer that he likes what he sees in the team’s three key offseason signees. Lance Stephenson, Marvin Williams and Brian Roberts joined the Hornets in the offseason in hopes of helping the team improve on last year’s No. 7 playoff seed. Charlotte has stumbled to a 4-9 start, but Clifford said his three newcomers need time to adjust to his system. “I think they’re all getting acclimated,” Clifford said. “All three of them I like. All three do things that can help us play better and win.”
  • The Magic’s Tobias Harris could always score, but he has responded to a challenge from the Orlando front office and coaching staff to expand his game, as John Denton of Magic.com details. Harris, a fourth-year player who will become a restricted free agent next summer, is doing his best to make a positive impression on the team. After getting 24 points, five steals, five rebounds and four assists in Monday’s win over the Pistons, he emphasized the victory over his individual accomplishments. “I’ve told all of the guys on the team, ‘You look better individually when we win as a team,’” Harris said. “So it really is all about winning.’’

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.

Southeast Notes: Heat, Williams, Rice Jr.

November 20 at 6:41pm CST By Eddie Scarito

The Heat are a better team with Dwyane Wade on the court, but him missing time due to a hamstring injury has helped build chemistry amongst the team’s newcomers, Shandel Richardson of The Sun Sentinel writes. “When you don’t have that guy [Wade] on the court, it’s a huge void that you have to fill,” Chris Bosh said. “I think it’s both a good and a bad thing. We want him out there, but at the same time our rookies are gaining a ton of experience and our new guys are gaining a ton of experience. It’s forcing the chemistry to happen a lot sooner.”

Here’s the latest from the Southeast Division:

  • Heat president Pat Riley deserves credit for taking a chance on signing Shawne Williams, despite some of the criticisms Riley received for fully guaranteeing this season’s salary, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald opines. Williams is rewarding Riley’s faith by averaging 11.4 points and is currently fifth in the league in three-point percentage, bombing away with a 50.9% success rate, notes Jackson.
  • Glen Rice Jr.‘s D-League assignment by the Wizards has less to do with his verbal outburst directed toward coach Randy Wittman and is more about the player’s overall development, J. Michael of CSNWashington.com writes. With the season underway, there isn’t enough practice time to fully develop younger players like Rice, who hasn’t seen any game action since November 7th, Michael adds.
  • Despite his lackluster performance during last year’s playoffs, the Heat re-signed Mario Chalmers, but his role and the team’s expectations of him have changed, Surya Fernandez of FOX Sports.com writes. Chalmers had started every game that he’s appeared in the previous three seasons but is now coming off the bench. “That’s a requirement when you have a championship-level team,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “So nobody feels badly for anybody that has to sacrifice when you have an opportunity to be a part of a great team. That’s the hardest part of great teams is getting guys to sacrifice. So now the role has to be a little different with this team. He’s embraced that role and he’s been able to produce in this role. I think some of the experiences he went through the last six years have helped him get to this point.”

Heat Notes: Bosh, Williams, Chalmers

November 18 at 9:59am CST By Chuck Myron

Part of what dissuaded Chris Bosh from signing with the Rockets was the prospect of forming yet another “Big Three,” this time with James Harden and Dwight Howard, and inviting the expectations that would come along with it, as Bosh tells Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.

“I could see where people would think that’s an attractive site,” Bosh said of Houston. “They were trying to win right away. And I was really happy to be touted that I possibly could’ve been out there. But you know, that doesn’t guarantee anything, and I know that. All that guarantees is a bunch of pressure.”

The Rockets have been just fine without Bosh so far, Monday’s loss to the Grizzlies notwithstanding, while Bosh and the Heat broke out of a slump in a win against the Nets. Here’s more from South Beach:

  • Among the myriad reasons Bosh chose to remain with the Heat was that he was simply used to living in Miami, as the big man explained to Berger for the same piece. “I’m familiar with people,” Bosh said. “I know how to get to work. And if there’s traffic, I know the shortcuts. It’s those small things that I really love about the city and I love about being comfortable that guided me back. And you know, if you can make a couple of dollars on the side, then it works out.”
  • Shawne Williams had played just 61 NBA games in the three years before he joined the Heat this past offseason, but coach Erik Spoelstra has long been a fan of his new starting power forward’s game, notes Francisco Rivero of Heat.com“I’ve liked him for three or four years,” Spoelstra said. “His skill set, his toughness, that in the right situation and the right commitment to his conditioning and his weight and strength, he could be a guy that fits in our style of play. And I think that’s what you’re seeing right now. He looks totally different. He remade his body this summer.”
  • Much has changed in Miami, but the Heat remain a dangerous team thanks in part to their decision to bring back Bosh, Mario Chalmers and others from their battle-tested core, as Tim Bontemps of the New York Post examines.

Eastern Notes: Bucks, Heat, Knicks

November 15 at 8:48pm CST By Chris Crouse

After finishing last season with the worst record in the NBA, the Bucks are benefiting from a change in culture, writes Mary Stevens of Basketball Insiders. New coach Jason Kidd has received praise from many players, including center Larry Sanders. “He’s a great coach. As good as a player he was, I think he’s a better coach,” Sanders said. “He really knows how to run a team. He’s putting all of us in a position to be successful.”  Sanders, who last year signed an extension to remain in Milwaukee through the 2017/18 season, has helped the Bucks rank third in scoring defense (93.6 points per game allowed) through nine games.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Heat’s new additions have yet to gel and the lack of defensive cohesion is upsetting the team, writes Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. “This defensive system is built on trust, and we’re not there yet,” center Chris Bosh said. “I think that’s obvious. But guys have to take their positions, guys have to know their rotations. They have to know exactly what they’re doing when the ball goes to a certain place.” Despite their decline, the Heat are only giving up 97.8 PPG, which is the 12th-best mark in the league.
  • Knicks coach Derek Fisher believes the team’s current hardship will help the club down the road, writes Barbara Barker of Newsday.com“Oftentimes it takes humbling experiences and adversity to soften the environment enough for guys to really grow. I think we have a lot of that going on in our group right now and it’ll pay off in the long run. Right now, we’re not getting the wins that we would like, but it’s gonna pay off,” said Fisher. The Knicks have started the season with a 2-8 record.
  • Even though the Knicks are struggling, finger-pointing within the locker room is no longer an issue, writes Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. Guard Iman Shumpert believes the team’s chemistry is better this season. “I know it was a problem last year. This year, [there’s] a confidence in the system and confidence in one another,” Shumpert said. “I think everybody trusted [each other] once we came to training camp; we could see that everybody worked their [butts] off this summer.”

Eastern Notes: Cavs, Patterson, Wade

November 11 at 8:40pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Nate Duncan of Basketball Insiders runs down some possible options the Cavs have to fortify their struggling roster. Given Cleveland’s proximity to the luxury tax line, their spending flexibility is somewhat limited, so Duncan isn’t convinced that extending Anderson Varejao was the right decision.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Earlier this week I ran down the highest paid players in the NBA and Kobe Bryant topped the list with his salary of $23.5MM for 2014/15. Chris Johnson of SI.com took a look at this same topic, but factored in taxes (city/state/Federal), NBPA fees, as well as the cuts that the players’ agents receive. According to Johnson’s new calculations the player who is actually taking home the most cash this season is the NetsJoe Johnson.
  • Patrick Patterson said that he was “very tempted” to sign with the Magic this past summer, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports reports (Twitter link). Orlando’s pitch tried to sell Patterson on an opportunity to be a starter, but in the end the forward wanted to play for a contending team, something re-signing with the Raptors gave him a much better chance at this season, notes Lewenberg.
  • Miami’s Dwyane Wade is much happier this season despite the Heat having lost LeBron James to the Cavs via free agency this past summer, Joseph Goodman of The Miami Herald writes. This isn’t because of any issues Wade had with James, but now Wade gets to have the ball in his hands more often, notes Goodman, something that makes Wade more comfortable as a player.

Charlie Adams contributed to this post.

Southeast Notes: Oladipo, Fournier, James, Wall

November 9 at 12:35pm CST By Arthur Hill

Magic guard Victor Oladipo has donned a mask and is participating in light drills, reports Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel. The second-year guard suffered a facial fracture under his right eye during an October 23rd scrimmage and underwent surgery October 25th. He has been cleared to fly and is joining the team on its current road trip, but there is no schedule for his return to the court. “The biggest thing is just getting used to it, having something on your face,” Oladipo said of his mask, adding that it felt “a little bit” weird to wear it.

Also in the Eastern Conference:

  • After a change of scenery, Evan Fournier is thriving in his new role for the Magic, Schmitz writes. Fournier, who was traded to Orlando along with the 56th pick of the 2014 draft for Arron Afflalo last June, isn’t trying to replace Affalo’s production. “I don’t take it that way,” Fournier said. “I’m here to play my game. That’s the only thing that matters. I’m not here to do something like Arron.”
  • Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel says LeBron James is asking for patience with the Cavaliers, but rarely showed it during his final season with the Heat. “By the end of his Miami Heat tenure,” Winderman writes, “all indications were LeBron James‘ patience had run out with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Erik Spoelstra and Pat Riley/Micky Arison. He essentially left without a clarifying word to any.” Winderman charges that James’ desire to win more NBA titles to add to his legacy led the Cavaliers to trade away overall No.1 picks Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, while adding veterans Mike Miller and James Jones.
  • John Wall lamented the Wizards‘ lack of a “killer instinct” after nearly letting a 22-point lead get away Saturday against the Pacers, reports Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post. The fifth-year guard, who is in the second year of a five-year, $84.79MM max extension, says the Wizards haven’t learned haven’t learned how to put teams away when they have the opportunity. “We made it a tougher game than we wanted it to be,” Wall said. “We didn’t do a great job of closing the game out, but as long as we got the win and finished four-in-five-nights 3-1, you can’t ask for a better record.”

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.

Offseason In Review: Miami Heat

November 7 at 6:16pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Hoops Rumors is in the process of looking back at each team’s offseason, from the end of the playoffs in June right up until opening night. Trades, free agent signings, draft picks, contract extensions, option decisions, camp invitees, and more will be covered, as we examine the moves each franchise made over the last several months.

Signings

Extensions

  • None

Trades

  • Acquired 2014 pick No. 24 from the Hornets in exchange for 2014 pick No. 26, 2014 pick No. 55, Miami’s 2019 second-round pick and cash.

Waiver Claims

  • None

Draft Picks

  • Shabazz Napier (Round 1, 24th overall). Signed via rookie scale exception to rookie scale contract.
  • James Ennis (2013, Round 2, 50th overall). Signed via cap room for three years, $2.333MM. Second and third years are non-guaranteed.

Camp Invitees

Departing Players

Rookie Contract Option Decisions

  • None

When you lose a player who is arguably the best in the world, it’s not exactly a great start to an offseason. But that is the reality that the Heat had to deal with in the wake of LeBron James returning his talents to Cleveland. But alas, life must go on, and there are few folks around the league outside of Miami who feel sorry for the Heat. All things considered, team president Pat Riley managed to recover adroitly from the blow that LeBron’s decision struck, and Riley was able to land a number of useful new pieces while keeping a large part of the team’s core in place.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Miami HeatMiami’s most significant move of the summer was re-signing Chris Bosh to a five-year, $118,705,300 maximum-salary deal. The Rockets heavily courted Bosh, and Houston went as far as to deal away Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin in order to clear enough cap space to allow the team sign him. But in the end, Bosh stayed true to his word that he would return to South Beach, and the fact that the Heat were able to offer a fifth year didn’t hurt their recruitment efforts, either.

Now Bosh will get the opportunity to remind the league of his years with the Raptors when he was that franchise’s No. 1 option and averaged more than 22 points per game for five consecutive seasons. None of the “Big Three” sacrificed their games for the betterment of the Heat as much as Bosh did, and Bosh was suitably rewarded with his new deal. The 30-year-old forward has lived up to his end of the bargain thus far, averaging 24.2 PPG and 11 rebounds per game through the team’s first five contests.

Riley also re-signed franchise icon Dwyane Wade this summer, though I’m not as bullish on this deal as I am on Bosh’s, since Wade hasn’t appeared in more than 70 games in a season since the 2010/11 campaign, and he isn’t close to being the dominant force that he was during his prime. The $15MM that Miami will pay Wade this season isn’t a problem, but next season’s $16.125MM player option could hamstring Miami’s efforts to acquire another upper-tier player.

Also re-signing with Miami this summer were Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem, and Chris Andersen.  All three are valuable role players for the franchise, though I feel that the team overpaid for Chalmers, who had a brutal postseason last year, and with first-round pick Shabazz Napier showing enormous potential, having Chalmers and his $4.3MM salary on the books for next year could be unnecessary. As for Haslem and Andersen, both are valuable rotation pieces who bring an enormous amount of energy and tireless work ethic to the court, but both are over 34 years old and have had numerous injury issues the past few seasons. The frequency of injuries usually doesn’t abate as players age, and that’s especially true with big men. Their salaries aren’t excessive, but fully guaranteeing the second years for both could end up being problematic.

Miami already has $41,185,835 in guaranteed salary committed for 2015/16, plus another $28,447,077 in player options, totaling $69,632,912. With the injury risks for Wade, Haslem, Andersen, and the oft-injured Danny Granger, whom Riley signed on the cheap this summer, Miami could be looking at a large chunk of its salary cap sitting behind the bench in street clothes for long stretches over the next two years. The team will probably enter next summer without cap space, and depending on what it wants to do with Norris Cole, who went without a rookie scale extension and is poised for restricted free agency, perhaps close enough to the tax threshold to keep it from using the full mid-level exception. With LeBron gone, so likely are the days when veterans would be willing to take pay cuts to come to South Beach in return for a shot at a ring.

The team made a pair of other important moves during the offseason, chief among them the signing of Luol Deng. Much of LeBron’s numbers will have to be made up by aggregation, but it’s not only on the offensive side where Deng can help the team compensate for James’ departure. It is Deng’s defense and fiery demeanor that will benefit the team the most. Deng, who has a player option, may only stay in Miami for a season, depending on how strong a year he has, and how he feels about the direction of the team, but he is an excellent addition nonetheless.

I’m not particularly fond of the deal the Heat gave to Josh McRoberts, however. This signing was made prior to LeBron announcing his free agent destination, and a large part of me feels that if Riley had known he wouldn’t have James next season, he wouldn’t have done this deal. McRoberts would have been an excellent rotation piece on a contending team fronted by James, but as a starter who will be counted on for more than just spreading the floor, a four-year, $22,652,350 deal seems like a gross overpay for a 28-year-old forward who has career averages of 5.7 PPG and 4.1 RPG. The Hornets made a much wiser signing to replace the departed McRoberts with Marvin Williams, who has significantly better career numbers and has been more consistent over the course of his time in the league.

The Heat made the best of a trying situation this offseason, though a number of the deals they made could come back to haunt them next season. Riley proved his worth as an executive once again in being able to field a competitive team in spite of having been spurned by James. Miami is also lucky to reside in the Eastern Conference, so the team should factor into the playoff picture this year. Still, it’s next season when the Heat will truly feel the weight of the salary cap pressing down upon them, and absence of LeBron will begin to sting more sharply.

Photo courtesy of USA Today. The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post. Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Southeast Notes: McRoberts, Harris, Frye

November 6 at 3:31pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Wizards haven’t won a division title since 1978/79, but they’re atop the Southeast Division standings today with a 4-1 record. Of course, the season is only nine days old, but Washington is looking strong so far even in the absence of Bradley Beal. Here’s more on the Wizards’ rivals in the Southeast Division:

  • Heat power forward Josh McRoberts said it was his intention to re-sign with Charlotte when he opted out of his contract to hit free agency last summer, observes Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. Miami made a stronger recruiting effort at the start, even though Hornets owner Michael Jordan doubled back to meet with him later, McRoberts said, adding that while he felt that some within the Hornets organization, including coach Steve Clifford, wanted him back, he didn’t think everyone did. The Hornets didn’t offer him a deal similar to the four-year, $22.652MM contract he signed with the Heat until Miami already had its money on the table, sources tell Bonnell.
  • Tobias Harris said the Magic never negotiated on an extension for him before the October 31st deadline, as Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel notes amid a piece examining the year ahead for the forward who’s poised for restricted free agency. GM Rob Hennigan said in September that he had spoken with the Harris camp, and multiple reports indicated that talks indeed took place, if only briefly. Perhaps Harris meant that the Magic didn’t budge from their initial proposals rather than that no discussions took place, though that’s just my speculation.
  • A fondness for the city of Orlando, the direction of the Magic‘s youthful roster, a chance for more playing time and a recommendation from Grant Hill helped influence Channing Frye‘s decision to sign with the Magic, as Frye told Steve Aschburner of NBA.com. The presence of Harris, Frye’s cousin, didn’t hurt, either, as Aschburner examines.

Eastern Notes: Napier, Dellavedova, Sixers

November 5 at 10:31pm CST By Eddie Scarito

The Sixers are keeping their eyes open for another big man to sign, Tom Moore of Calkins Media reports (Twitter link), though, according to Moore, no move is imminent. Philadelphia currently has 15 players on its roster so someone would need to be waived or dealt before another big could be added. The top bigs available currently are Dante Cunningham, Rashard Lewis, Ivan Johnson, Jeff Adrien, and Bernard James. With the Sixers in full-on rebuild mode, they may look to the D-League for a player with upside rather than a veteran, though that is just my speculation.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The trade for Shabazz Napier on draft night has worked out very well for the Heat so far, Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel writes. While Napier is only averaging 5.0 PPG and 3.0 APG, he’s been the point guard on the floor for Miami during crunch time, which is a strong indicator of his standing on the team, notes Winderman. “The thing about that is that whatever opportunity I get, I’m going to try my best, and I expect a lot from myself no matter what,” Napier said. “And I’m fortunate enough that Coach puts me in the fourth quarter. So I’m going to do whatever I can possible do.
  • Heat coach Erik Spoelstra isn’t thrilled with the new experimental rules that are to be tested in the D-League, Winderman writes in a separate piece. Spoelstra isn’t a fan of all the play stoppages the league currently has, and said, “I don’t think any of that stuff matters until we figure out what’s going on with replays. Replays are what’s extending the games 20, 30 minutes each game.” One of the new rules being tested are coaches challenges which would serve to increase the amount of time officials spend looking at replays during games.
  • The Bucks have fired Skip Robinson, longtime VP of player development, Gerry Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times reports (Twitter link). The reason for Robinson being dismissed is unknown at this time, Woelfel adds.
  • Cavs guard Matthew Dellavedova has been diagnosed with a grade two MCL sprain and is expected to miss up to six weeks, Chris Haynes of The Northeast Ohio Media Group reports. In three games Dellavedova is averaging 2.7 points, 1 rebound and 2.3 assists. Cleveland recently waived A.J. Price and signed Will Cherry, who will most likely see increased minutes with Dellavedova out for an extended period.
  • Former Celtic Leon Powe has been observing Boston’s practices and meetings with an eye on a potential move to a front office position in the future, Scott Souza of the MetroWest Daily News reports (Twitter link).