Miami Heat Rumors

Miami Heat trade, free agent, and draft rumors, updated constantly by the NBA experts at HoopsRumors.com.

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Zeller, Gordon

April 22 at 8:15pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Veteran guard Ben Gordon became the odd man out in the Magic‘s rotation once James Borrego took over as the team’s interim coach, Ken Hornack of FOX Sports Florida writes. Borrego preferred to see what the backcourt pairing of Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton could accomplish, which left Gordon on the outside looking in, Hornack notes. Gordon’s $4.5MM salary for 2015/16 is non-guaranteed. In 56 games this season Gordon averaged 6.2 points and 1.1 rebounds in 14.1 minutes per contest.

Here’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Hornets big man Cody Zeller had successful surgery today to repair damage to his right shoulder, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer reports (Twitter link). The 22-year-old appeared in 62 contests for Charlotte this season, averaging 7.6 points and 5.8 rebounds in 24.0 minutes per game. Zeller is expected to resume basketball activities in three months.
  • Grant Hill‘s presence as part of the Hawks‘ new ownership group could aid GM Danny Ferry in retaining his position within the organization, Tim Bontemps of The New York Post opines (Twitter link). Ferry and Hill have ties through Duke University, which both men attended, Bontemps notes.
  • Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press tweeted that Hill’s involvement with the Ressler group should provide a good indicator of how Kevin Garnett could function as part of the Wolves’ ownership when he retires. Garnett has acknowledged an interest in buying the Wolves at some point, and owner Glen Taylor said that his return as a player enhanced his chances of becoming a part-owner.
  • Heat rookie point guard Shabazz Napier showed promise during his rookie season, but needs to be a more consistent player moving forward, Surya Fernandez of FOX Sports Florida writes in his profile of the player.

Heat Notes: Johnson, Haslem, Luxury Tax

April 22 at 4:39pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The athletic Tyler Johnson impressed with his ball-handling and playmaking this season for the Heat, and he’ll need to show more improvement with those ball-handling skills and shoot more consistently, as Surya Fernandez of Fox Sports Florida examines. Johnson has a non-guaranteed minimum salary for next season that becomes 50% guaranteed if he remains under contract through August 1st, and he made his case for the Heat to keep him. “He’s relentless with his work ethic and with his drive,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “A lot of players would have gotten discouraged by being cut after a full summer and having to go to [D-League] Sioux Falls. He looked at it as an opportunity to get better and play minutes under our guidance and our system. Doors happen to open for players like that and it did when we re-signed him and he made the most of his opportunities so I know he’s poised and looking forward to this offseason.”

Here’s more out of Miami:

  • Sean Deveney of The Sporting News has doubts about Heat owner Micky Arison’s willingness to pay the luxury tax next season, noting that bringing back Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade and Luol Deng would give the Heat room for little else. If Dragic re-signs for the max and Wade and Deng return with salaries equivalent to the values of their player options, the rest of the guaranteed salary on the books for the Heat would send them above next season’s projected $81.6MM tax.
  • Heat president Pat Riley has offered Udonis Haslem to several teams in trade conversations in the past few years, league sources tell Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. Windhorst’s piece juxtaposes Riley’s willingness to sacrifice loyalty for winning against similar choices LeBron James has made in light of Riley’s recent remarks that seem to show the Heat president questioning James’ decision to leave for Cleveland.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Eastern Notes: Bucks, Thibodeau, Grant

April 21 at 7:59pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Bucks president Peter Feigin impressed upon bickering local and state government officials to wrap up a deal within the next 10 days to secure the public’s $250MM share of financing for a $500MM new arena for the team in Milwaukee, reports Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Without an arena, “the Bucks will be gone from the state of Wisconsin,” Feigin warned. Realistically, groundbreaking must take place by early this fall so that the arena remains on schedule to beat an NBA-imposed deadline, as Feigin told Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com for a story this weekend. Sources told Windhorst the NBA would indeed exercise its right to buy the franchise and seek to move it if construction doesn’t begin soon.

Here’s more out of the Eastern Conference:

  •  Despite the upgrade Tom Thibodeau would provide as coach, the Magic should pass on the longtime Bulls coach if it required the team to surrender its first round draft pick as compensation, Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel opines. Orlando previously traded for Stan Van Gundy, sending the Heat a second-rounder back in 2007 in return for the coach, Schmitz notes.
  • 2014 second-rounder Jerami Grant turned out to be one of the Sixers‘ biggest surprises this season, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. An undersized power forward in college, Grant adapted well when the team moved him to small forward, Pompey adds. “Whatever position they put me at, I think I will be fine with it,” Grant said. “But in the offseason, I’m definitely going to work on a lot of things that a four-man can do and what a three-man can do. I’m just going to work on my overall game.” In 65 games this season Grant averaged 6.3 points and 3.0 rebounds in 21.2 minutes per contest.
  • Dwyane Wade isn’t in a rush to make a decision regarding his player option worth $16,125,000, Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press writes. The veteran also indicated that the 2015/16 campaign isn’t likely to be his last in the league, Reynolds adds. “I don’t sit on my hands,” Wade said. “Obviously, everything’s about life after [basketball] and seeing what you want to do as well. So this is a perfect time to figure it out. I signed my deal the way I did for a reason … and the organization did it for a reason. It’s my option. I’ll decide when the time is right. Everyone knows I always try to do what’s best for the organization, but I also have to do what’s best for Dwyane Wade as well.” This conflicts with earlier statements from Wade that he intended to opt in for next season.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Eastern Notes: Cavs, Riley, Harkless

April 20 at 8:00pm CDT By Chris Crouse

The Cavs improved their win total over last season’s by 20 games and appear to be the favorite to win the Eastern Conference. LeBron James returning to Cleveland was a huge factor in the team’s improvement, but GM David Griffin deserves credit for the moves he made during the last 14 months, as I wrote in his Executive of the Year Candidate piece.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • President of Basketball Operations Pat Riley may have taken a jab at LeBron James during the Heat’s season ending press conference today, Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald writes. “No more smiling faces with hidden agendas, so we’ll be going in clean,” Riley said in response to a question about the draft. When ask to clarify if that comment was about James, he said, “that could be anyone across the board. I’ve already got about half a dozen emails from people I don’t even know recommending [a player], and somewhere in that email or text is always a smiley.”  
  • Maurice Harkless regressed during his third season in the league and Ken Hornack of Fox Sports Florida believes he is unlikely to remain in Orlando long-term. The forward is eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason.
  • The Cavs have recalled Joe Harris from their D-League affiliate, the Canton Charge, according to the team’s website. To date, the guard has played in 48 games for Cleveland this season while seeing only 9.1 minutes per game.

Pat Riley On LeBron, Dragic, Wade, Draft

April 20 at 12:23pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Heat team president Pat Riley said today that he’s “at peace with” the choice LeBron James made last summer to return to Cleveland, and he indicated that everyone else in the organization had moved on, too, as Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald transcribes (Twitter links). That didn’t appear to be the case when Riley, in response to a question about the draft, said there would be “no more smiling faces with hidden agendas, so we’ll be going in clean,” as Goodman also relays from today’s season-ending press conference (Twitter link). That could be interpreted as a jab at James, whose affection for Shabazz Napier was well-known before the Heat drafted him just weeks prior to James’ departure from Miami, but Riley insists his remark could be a reference to “anyone across the board,” Goodman tweets. Regardless, Riley had much more to say about the Heat’s future, and we’ll round up the highlights here:

  • Riley underscored the importance of re-signing Goran Dragic, as Herald columnist Barry Jackson relays. “If he doesn’t sign, my [expletive] is going to be in that seat and I’ll be writing about it,” Riley said to the gathered media. Still, Riley is “very confident” that Dragic will be back, Jackson notes.
  • Dwyane Wade‘s health been an ongoing issue, but Riley challenged the 33-year-old to be prepared to play more often. Wade said last week that he intends to opt in for next season. “Dwyane has to change the narrative about his body, his injuries, his missing games,” Riley said. “We’ve had a discussion about that. Night in, night out, there’s always a question of whether he can or cannot [play]. I’d like to see him do whatever he has to do to get himself ready to practice and play every single night. He’s got five months. This is not just a Dwyane Wade problem. It’s throughout the league.”
  • Riley would like to see the current starters return, Jackson relays in the same piece. That would indicate that the team wants to keep Luol Deng, who’s undecided about his more than $10.15MM player option.
  • The Heat president laid out what he’s looking for in the draft, where the Heat have a lottery pick as long as it falls in the top 10, and the 40th pick, saying that he wants “developed players, experienced players,” Jackson notes. “While we felt we might have had enough on the perimeter, that might be an area where we look,” Riley said. “I don’t want a one-dimensional guy. [I want] guys that can [shoot], guys that are playmakers, guys that can defend. We will take the best player that’s available.”
  • Riley believes the Heat will return to title contention next year, Goodman tweets, and he expressed bitter disappointment about falling short of the postseason this time around, as Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel notes (on Twitter). “There is not a person in the organization that doesn’t think we should have made the playoffs,” Riley said.

Heat Rumors: Dragic, Whiteside, Ennis

April 19 at 3:31pm CDT By Dana Gauruder

Goran Dragic is intrigued by the possibility of blending his offensive skills with Chris Bosh if he returns to the Heat, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. Dragic indicated after the season he will turn down the $7.5MM player option on his contract, thus allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. The team hopes to re-sign Dragic, who didn’t get a chance to play with Bosh after Dragic was acquired from the Suns at the trade deadline because of Bosh’s season-ending blood clot issues. “I always put pressure on the defense,” Dragic told Jackson. “If they don’t stop me, I’ve got a layup. If they stop me, Chris is going to pick and pop and that’s a wide open shot for him. Or he makes the next decision on a handoff, and then the big guy needs to recover from down to up, and so that makes a lot of room for other guys. It’s a lot of different strategies we can use with him on the floor.”

In other news involving the Heat:

  • The possibility of building around Dragic and center Hassan Whiteside, who became a rotation player in January, excites coach Erik Spoelstra, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Spoelstra considers Dragic to be an impact, top-10 point guard and Whiteside to be a legitimate, impact center who could get the team back into the playoffs next season, Winderman adds. “We feel very good about the group that we possibly could have back, if we could bring everybody back and start a training camp together,” Spoelstra told the media that covers the team. “We think we can fast-track a lot of this and make guys look different and more comfortable and more confident with each other with time.”
  • James Ennis and Tyler Johnson are the role players that the Heat will most likely bring back, Winderman speculates, as he writes in a separate article. Winderman does not believe the team views the possible returns of Henry Walker or Michael Beasley as a priority. Ennis, Johnson and Walker have non-guaranteed contracts for next season while the team holds an option of approximately $1.27MM on Beasley. Winderman also opines that Luol Deng is likely to return, based upon his body language, positive attitude and recent comments about his status. Deng holds a player option of approximately $10.15MM for next season.

Southeast Notes: Magic, Harris, Heat

April 18 at 8:45am CDT By Eddie Scarito

The Magic made some positive strides this season and have a solid young core in place for the future, Kyle Hightower of The Associated Press writes. When discussing what would need to be altered to make the team a contender, GM Rob Hennigan said, “Our focus is on getting better. We want to be a playoff team. We’re not trying to be a lottery team — that’s counter to our goals. This season has been frustrating. It has, I think if you ask our players, our coaches, myself— we expect more. We’re also realistic about how young we are…We think with their development and some pieces added here and there we will start to turn this thing.

Here’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Restricted free agent Tobias Harris characterized his end of season meeting with Hennigan as being productive, Hightower adds. “Talk went good,” Harris said. “Only God knows what’s next. I can’t control the future. None of us can. I’ll leave it up to management to decide what the overall plan is and go from there. We didn’t really talk too much about [his contract], just about the season…He just told me not to worry about it and he’s proud of the year I had.
  • Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was complimentary of swingman Henry Walker, whose $1,110,602 salary for next season is non-guaranteed, as was relayed by the team’s official Twitter account. “With a full off-season with us I feel like his player development can continue,” Spoelstra said. Walker appeared in 24 games for the Heat this season, averaging 7.3 points and 3.4 rebounds in 26.2 minutes per outing.
  • Spoelstra also relayed that the Heat are enamored with Goran Dragic and Luol Deng, both of whom have player options to decide upon this offseason, and that the organization wants both players to return next season, Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post writes. “We love them; Hopefully they love us,” Spoelstra said. “I love working with them and our staff loved working with them. They’re two pros. From an objective point of view, they’re not difficult guys to work with. They’re absolute pros, the kind of guys you want to build your team around, the guys you want to go to work with, the guys you want to be in a foxhole with.

Dwyane Wade To Opt In

April 17 at 12:05pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Dwyane Wade intends to pick up his $16.125MM player option for next season, as the Heat star confirmed today to reporters, including Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel (Twitter link). It’s no shock, given Wade’s longstanding ties to the Heat, though the 33-year-old is set to pass up the chance to lock in more money spread over a longer period of time and capitalize on a season in which he finished 11th in the NBA in scoring average.

Wade’s 21.5 points per game this season, just 0.2 shy of Klay Thompson for 10th among league leaders, stopped a streak of five straight years in which his PPG had declined. The 12th-year veteran carried a heavier load with LeBron James having returned to Cleveland and Chris Bosh out for the second half of the season with blood clots in his lungs. He missed 20 games, and he’s not the slasher he once was, taking a lower percentage of his shots from within 3 feet than in any season in his career, as Basketball-Reference shows. Wade was less efficient, with a 21.4 PER that was his lowest since his rookie season. That still makes him much more efficient than most, however.

The Heat would have about $59MM in commitments against a projected $67.4MM salary cap for next season if Wade indeed opts in, so the team wouldn’t be able to open significant cap room to replace Goran Dragic if he were to bolt. Wade doesn’t plan on making a recruiting push to keep the point guard, but Dragic, who confirmed today that he’ll opt out, has nonetheless made it seem as though the Heat are well out in front as they bid to retain him.

Latest On Goran Dragic

April 17 at 10:45am CDT By Chuck Myron

Goran Dragic today confirmed that he’ll turn down his $7.5MM player option for next season, as he’s long planned to do, tweets Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. The point guard continued to talk up his affection for the Heat during an exit interview with the media today while stopping short of commiting to a return. The Heat can offer a fifth year this summer because they have his Bird rights, and that extra year will be “huge,” Dragic said, according to Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post (Twitter link).

“I had a great time in Miami and I want to come back, but we’ll see what happens,” Dragic said, as Lieser tweets.

Dragic said the Heat meet all of the criteria he’s looking for in a team from the basketball standpoint, and he already named Miami his favorite U.S. city, as Lieser relays (Twitter link). Still, the BDA Sports Management client said that he’ll consider every offer this summer, Winderman notes (on Twitter).

The 28-year-old Dragic, who turns 29 next month, reportedly had the Knicks and Lakers in addition to the Heat on his list of preferred destinations as he pushed for a midseason trade from Phoenix. Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News reportedly briefly after the trade that Dragic viewed the Lakers as a “perfect fit” and would relish the chance to join the team in free agency this summer. Still, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News heard at about the same time that Dragic would probably re-sign with the Heat, and the expectation was that the Heat would make a five-year max offer to bring him back, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra made it clear to the media today that he wants to retain Dragic as well as Luol Deng, as Lieser relays in a full story. Deng also has a player option for next season.

“We love them; hopefully they love us,” Spoelstra said. “I love working with them and our staff loved working with them. They’re two pros. From an objective point of view, they’re not difficult guys to work with. They’re absolute pros, the kind of guys you want to build your team around, the guys you want to go to work with, the guys you want to be in a foxhole with. The next two months [the playoffs], what that feels like, you want to have guys like that. When this thing kicks off this weekend, you have to have reliable professionals, and both of those guys’ resumes and careers scream that.”

Southeast Notes: Fournier, Henderson, Heat

April 16 at 9:31pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Al Jefferson indicated earlier today that he would likely opt in and remain with the Hornets next season. Swingman Gerald Henderson also has player option for 2015/16, his being worth $6MM, but Henderson says that he hasn’t thought about free agency yet, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes. The 27-year-old did say that he would prefer to remain with Charlotte, Bonnell adds. Henderson appeared in 80 games for the Hornets this season, averaging 12.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.6 assists in 28.9 minutes per contest.

Here’s the latest from the Southeast Division:

  • After a difficult first campaign with the Hornets, Lance Stephenson vowed to return next season much improved and with his confidence back, Bonnell notes. “My 3-point percentage was the lowest ever in history. That’s terrible,” Stephenson said. “It’s confidence – just wanting the shot to go in so bad and then you lose your confidence. That plays a major part when you don’t have confidence in your shot. This summer I’m going to find my confidence.” Stephenson’s 17.1% three-point accuracy wasn’t quite the worst ever, but it was a sharp drop from last season’s 35.2%.
  • Evan Fournier is eligible to sign an extension this summer, and the swingman loves playing for the Magic, but he acknowledged that contract extensions are usually reserved for star players, Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel tweets.
  • Dwyane Wade says that he won’t be recruiting Luol Deng and Goran Dragic to remain with the Heat next season, Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post tweets. “Nope,” Wade said about playing recruiter. “They know. If they want to be here, they’ll be here.” Both Deng and Dragic possess player options for the 2015/16 campaign.
  • Magic GM Rob Hennigan fully expects restricted free agent Tobias Harris to be with Orlando next season, John Denton of Orlando Magic.com relays (Twitter link). “I’ve said all along that we don’t envision a scenario where Tobias isn’t with us next season,” stated the GM.