Miami Heat

Heat Notes: Dragic, Spoelstra, Ellington, Winslow

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is visiting point guard Goran Dragic in Slovenia this weekend to talk about changes in the wake of the loss of Dwyane Wade, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Dragic is expected to become more of a focus in Miami’s offense with Wade leaving for Chicago in free agency. Jackson notes that in the games Dragic has played without Wade during his time with the Heat, his scoring average rose from 14.8 points per game to 17.6 and his assist average increased from 5.7 to 6.6, but his shooting dropped from 48.3 percent to 43.2 percent. In a video released by the team Friday, Spoelstra said he wants to adjust the offense to maximize Dragic’s abilities. “Goran is one of the best fast-break, transition point guards in this game,” the coach said. “He will force tempo regardless of how you want to play or how you want to defend. Goran is going to run. … You don’t find many players that can attack, that can play fast, that can make other players better in that type of game. And he’s relentless in getting to the rim. And Goran is that kind of player. And I think young players gravitate to Goran. They want to play that style.”

There’s more out of Miami:

  • Free agent addition Wayne Ellington hopes to make Hassan Whiteside a better passer next season, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The 28-year-old shooting guard, who got more than $12MM over two seasons to leave Brooklyn for Miami, thinks his 3-point range will provide an opportunity for Whiteside to increase his assist total. The newly re-signed center has handed out just 35 assists over the past two seasons and ranked 80th among centers in 2015/16 in points created off assists.
  • The departure of Luol Deng and lingering concerns about the health of Chris Bosh have seemingly opened a starting spot for Justise Winslow, Winderman notes in the same piece. Winslow averaged 6.4 points and 5.2 rebounds as a rookie last season in 78 games, mostly as a reserve. But Deng signed with the Lakers in free agency and questions remain about the availability of Bosh, whose last two seasons were cut short by blood clots. That creates an opportunity for Winslow, who is among the few holdovers after an offseason of change in Miami. “He’s going to find a way to make an impact on the game,” Spoelstra said. “And he’s going to do it in winning fashion. It might be defensively; it might be offensively. It might be leadership. All of that is far ahead of his age.”

Heat Notes: Bosh, Whiteside, Johnson

There remains no timetable for a decision on whether or not Chris Bosh will play for the Heat this season, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. Winderman believes that coach Erik Spoelstra will develop dual game plans as the team enters training camp and notes that it’s not something unusual, as many coaches have to prepare for stars sitting out as the seasons goes along.

Here’s more from Miami:

  • It’s unclear whether Hassan Whiteside and Bosh can coexist in the frontcourt, but the duo is talented enough to make it work should they see enough time on the floor together, Winderman opines in a separate piece. The Heat re-signed Whiteside to a four-year, max deal this offseason.
  • New addition James Johnson can be a valuable contributor if he can prove he can make 3-pointers at a reliable rate, Winderman argues in that same piece. Johnson signed a one-year, $4MM deal with the Heat this offseason.

Heat Plan To Keep Josh McRoberts

Josh McRoberts has been informed that the Heat intend to keep him for the upcoming season, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. The agent for the veteran power forward told Jackson that Miami officials recently called McRoberts to review his offseason training program and prepare him for the start of camp next month.

McRoberts has been the subject of trade rumors since early last season when Miami was trying to clear cap space to escape luxury tax penalties. More recently, there has been talk that McRoberts might be moved to clear up a shortage of minutes in the front court with the possible return of Chris Bosh, the re-signing of Udonis Haslem, the trade for Luke Babbitt and the free agency additions of Derrick Williams, James Johnson and Willie Reed.

Injuries have limited McRoberts’ effectiveness since he signed with the Heat in 2014. He played just 17 games in 2014/15 and 42 last season, when he averaged 3.6 points and 2.5 rebounds in a reserve role. McRoberts is set to make nearly $5.8MM in 2016/17 and holds a player option for a little more than $6MM for the following season.

Jackson notes that the Heat will have to get rid of someone with a fully guaranteed contract if they want to keep Briante Weber, whom they added in April. Weber signed for $874,636 next season, but only $218,659 is guaranteed if he is waived before opening night. Miami has 11 recently signed players who cannot be traded before December 15th.

Salary Cap Snapshot: Miami Heat

With the free agent signing period winding down and teams looking ahead to the preseason, we at Hoops Rumors will be tracking the Salary Cap figures for each team around the league.  These posts will be maintained throughout the season once financial data is reported. They will be located on the sidebar throughout the year, once all the teams’ cap figures have been relayed. The next franchise we’ll be looking at are the Miami Heat, who currently are well over the league’s salary cap of $94,143,000 for the 2016/17 season. You can always check for up-to-date rosters for each franchise, with the Heat’s team page accessible here.

Here’s a breakdown of where the Heat currently stand financially:

Guaranteed Salary

Total Guaranteed Salary= $101,916,133

Non-Guaranteed Salary

  • Briante Weber —$655,977 [If on the roster for the first game of season, salary guarantee increases to $437,319]
  • Stefan Jankovic —$443,471 [Salary becomes fully guaranteed on January 10th, 2017]
  • Okaro White —$443,471 [If on the roster for the first game of season, salary guarantee increases to $225,000]
  • Rodney McGruder —$393,471 [If on the roster for the first game of season, salary guarantee increases to $300,000]

Total Non-Guaranteed Salary= $1,936,390

Eligible for Rookie Scale Extensions: None

Cash Sent Out Via Trade:  $0 [Amount Remaining $3.5MM]

Cash Received Via Trade: TBD sent an undisclosed amount to Pelicans in Luke Babbitt trade [Amount Remaining $3.5MM]

Payroll Exceptions Available

Total Projected Payroll: $103,852,523

Salary Cap: $94,143,000

Estimated Available Cap Space: $9,709,523

Luxury Tax Threshold: $113,287,000

Amount Below Luxury Tax: $9,434,477

The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.

Heat Notes: Weber, Jankovic, Udrih

The Heat’s roster currently stands at 19 players, which is four over the regular season maximum. This places a number of young players on the bubble, with each of them hoping to be a member of the team when the regular season kicks off, Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel writes. The signing of Beno Udrih has made the path to a regular season spot more difficult for Briante Weber, whose contract includes a partial guarantee of $218,659, but the guard hasn’t let that discourage him, Winderman adds. “My mindset is never going change, no matter who’s in front of me, no matter how many people it is,” said Weber. “I’m just going to be me. I’m not going to change anything about how I do my things. I’m not going to try to be a different person.

Here’s more from South Beach:

  • In response to a reader question in his latest “Ask Ira” column, Winderman notes that a strong defensive guard like Weber is something the team could use, given the playing styles of the other members of Miami’s backcourt. “It is surprising that Weber could be squeezed out despite having three-eighths of his 2016/17 contract already guaranteed,” Winderman opined. “One thing the Heat have lacked for years has been a lock-down defensive point guard, one who could pick up full court and wear down an opposing ballhandler. It is not what Goran Dragic does. Not what Beno Udrih does. That’s what has made Briante so intriguing. But what we haven’t witnessed are the Heat’s private drills, and it’s possible that Josh Richardson or Tyler Johnson have turned into such defensive prospects/pests, perhaps reducing the need for a specialist at point guard such as Briante.
  • Stefan Jankovic, another member of the team who isn’t assured of a roster spot this season, was offered a chance to tryout for Serbia’s National team, but declined it because he had already made a commitment to play for the Heat’s summer league squad, Winderman tweets. Jankovic, 23, appeared in eight games this summer for Miami, averaging 7.0 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 13.9 minutes per outing. His shooting line was .444/.333/.786.

Big Plans For Whiteside; Too Many Players In Miami?

  • The Heat have big expectations for $98MM center Hassan Whiteside, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Now that the big man is under contract for the next four seasons, coach Erik Spoelstra posted a video on the team’s website discussing Whiteside’s responsibilities. “He will be working on all of it,” Spoelstra said. “Low-post scoring, that’s the number one thing he wants to work on, and I’m all for it. He will also work on his skill level at the top of the floor, handling the ball, getting us into second situations as a playmaker, rebounding off the glass.” Spoelstra is planning more minutes and more games for Whiteside, who sat out nine contests last season and only started 43 times.
  • The need to sign players before the deadline arrived on Tyler Johnson’s offer sheet with the Nets may have caused the Heat to add too many players, Winderman writes in a separate story. Faced with the possible loss of $4MM in cap space, Miami signed free agents Wayne Ellington, Derrick Williams, James Johnson and Willie Reed, then traded for Luke Babbitt before matching Johnson’s offer. Later, they signed Dion Waiters and Beno Udrih, along with Briante Weber and three other players who may be ticketed for the D-League.

No Guarantees For Udrih

Beno Udrih has no assurances of playing time despite re-signing with the Heat, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. Udrih gives the club a natural point guard behind starter Goran Dragic, but combo guards Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson will also see action at that position, Jackson continues. Udrih signed a one-year guaranteed deal at the veteran’s minimum of $1.4MM. Udrih had a standing offer from the Heat for more than a month, sources told Jackson, and turned down some other options because of his comfort level with the organization.

Heat Re-Sign Beno Udrih

11:38am: The signing is official, the Heat announced.

10:10am: The Heat have agreed to a deal to re-sign unrestricted free agent point guard Beno Udrih, Shams Charania of The Vertical reports (via Twitter). It’s a one-year, fully guaranteed pact, notes Charania. The scribe didn’t relay the dollar value of the arrangement, but with the Heat well over the cap with $102,872,092 in salary already committed for next season and having used the room exception to ink Dion Waiters, it would have to be for the league minimum.

Miami reportedly had a “standing invitation” for Udrih to join them in training camp if he was unable to land a better deal elsewhere. Udrih played 36 games with Miami last season before agreeing to a buyout in February to help the team avoid the luxury tax, which certainly gained him some fans within the organization. Udrih’s addition now gives the Heat 15 fully guaranteed pacts.

In those 36 games for the Heat last season, Udrih averaged 4.4 points, 1.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 16.3 minutes per outing. He shot .434/.333/.882 from the field.

Spoelstra Doesn't Mention Bosh

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra made no mention of Chris Bosh in two video messages posted today on the team’s website, relays Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. The status of the veteran big man remains uncertain after his past two seasons were cut short because of blood clots. Spoelstra singled out Hassan Whiteside, Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow and Tyler Johnson as defensive leaders who will define the team in the post-Dwyane Wade era. “You learn pretty quickly in this league that your roster is going to change,” Spoelstra said, “sometimes your staff changes. Expectations change. It’s like that every year. Just when you get comfortable, it will change. This is a new challenge. We’re embracing the change. We’re excited about the future, excited about the guys we have on our team. You also have to have the right kind of players.” Owner Micky Arison named Bosh as part of the Heat’s future in a recent letter to Miami fans.

Heat Notes: Udrih, Williams, Ellington, Bosh

The Heat could use a veteran like Beno Udrih to serve as a backup to Goran Dragic, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Miami doesn’t have anyone else on its roster who has played point guard on a regular basis at the NBA level, and Winderman points out that Dragic, who missed 10 games last season, is susceptible to injury with his attacking style of play. The Heat reportedly have a “standing invitation” for Udrih to join them in training camp on a veterans’ minimum contract if he can’t get a better deal elsewhere. Udrih played 36 games with Miami last season before agreeing to a buyout in February to help the team avoid the luxury tax.

There’s more news out of Miami:

  • There could be a shortage of minutes on the front line for recent additions Derrick Williams, James Johnson and Luke Babbitt, Winderman notes in the same piece. They will essentially be competing at the same position, and shooting guards Josh Richardson, Dion Waiters, Wayne Ellington and Tyler Johnson could all see time at small forward because of an overcrowded backcourt.
  • Ellington is a prime candidate to be traded once this year’s offseason signees are eligible to be dealt starting December 15th, Winderman writes in a separate story. The Heat signed the 28-year-old shooting guard away from the Nets in July, but later added Waiters in free agency. Winderman believes Ellington will have to be exceptional from 3-point range to earn a regular spot in the Heat’s rotation. He shot 36% from long distance last season and is at 38% for his career.
  • The Heat are “cautiously optimistic” that Chris Bosh will be able to play this season, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. However, he cautions that nothing is certain with the veteran big man, who has had his last two seasons cut short by blood clots.

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