Orlando Magic

Latest On Potential Heat Trades, Mario Chalmers

The Heat expect to keep Mario Chalmers until at least the start of training camp, and owner Micky Arison has made no demand that the team shed salary, reports Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. The prospect of trading for Jamal Crawford, an idea the Heat reportedly raised in talks with the Clippers nearly two months ago, “can’t be ruled out,” but Miami is satisfied with its depth on the perimeter, Jackson writes. The Heat are still willing to trade Chris Andersen, but the market for him has been soft, Jackson hears from a higher-up who’s been in contact with the Heat, and no evidence suggests the Clippers are interested in him as part of a swap involving Crawford, Jackson adds.

The Heat would still prefer to offload salary and haven’t ruled out trading Chalmers, set to make a guaranteed $4.3MM in the final season of his contract this year, as soon as October, according to Jackson. The point guard hasn’t given indications that he’s expecting to be traded, and team president Pat Riley denied reports around draft time indicating that the team was shopping Chalmers and Andersen. Grantland’s Zach Lowe nonetheless heard a couple of weeks later that Chalmers and Andersen were available “for nothing.” Andersen didn’t seem concerned about the rumors when he made a public appearance earlier this week, as Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel chronicles.

An opposing GM told Jackson in mid-July that Chalmers and Shabazz Napier were the players the Heat were shopping the most aggressively, and Miami dealt Napier to the Magic later that month for no salary in return. That, plus the swap that sent Zoran Dragic to the Celtics with no other salary involved, helped Miami lower its payroll, though the Heat still have about $90.4MM in guaranteed salary, which puts them about $5.66MM above the $84.74MM luxury tax threshold. The Heat would have to pay repeat-offender tax penalties if they’re still above the tax line on the final day of the regular season. Miami only has 12 players on fully guaranteed deals, and if they keep Hassan Whiteside on his partially guaranteed contract but get rid of everyone else, they’d have a tax bill of roughly $16.3MM. Jackson estimates the tax bill at around $23MM, though that appears to include some of the non-guaranteed contracts.

Do you think the Heat will move below the luxury tax line this season? If so, how do you think they’ll manage to do it? Leave a comment to tell us.

Heat Rumors: Chalmers, Andersen, Green, Draft

The Heat would probably lack the depth needed to contend for a title if they ship out Mario Chalmers or Chris Andersen for luxury tax relief, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Miami recently got a measure of tax relief by trading Shabazz Napier to the Magic, but rumors persist that Chalmers, Andersen or Josh McRoberts could be sent elsewhere before the season begins. Winderman argues that dealing Chalmers or Andersen for little in return would damage the Heat by leaving them without veteran backups at point guard or center.

There’s more tonight from Miami:

  • The Heat should wait until at least midseason before making any more luxury tax moves, Winderman argues in the same piece. He contends the team needs a strong start after missing the playoffs last season, and that is more likely with all the veteran backups still around. Because the luxury tax is based on the season-ending roster, Miami could make a tax-relief deal or two during the season if it decides to pursue that strategy. He notes that owner Micky Arison is dedicated to keeping a “sustainable business model” as well as building a successful team.
  • Gerald Green feels “blessed” to be in Miami, according to Joe Beguiristain of NBA.com. Green, who signed a one-year minimum deal with the Heat last month, is happy to be reuniting with Goran Dragic, who helped Green post career highs in scoring and 3-point shooting percentage during their year together in Phoenix. “I never had anybody to make me better like that,” Green said. “He [Dragic] attacks the teeth of the defense, he puts pressure on the defense and he just does a great job of drawing two [or] three defenders.”
  • A series of trades has left the Heat low on draft picks over the next six years, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Miami has just three first-rounders and two second-rounders remaining in that span. That could change, although the odds seem remote, if Orlando has a top-five record next year or if Boston does in 2019.

Southeast Notes: Beal, Wizards, Ejim

The Wizards‘ new group of perimeter backups could make Bradley Beal more effective and help him stay away from injury, writes J. Michael of CSNWashington.com. A series of mishaps has limited Beal to 56, 73 and 63 games in his first three NBA seasons, but his minutes per game should be reduced next year with the offseason additions of Gary Neal, Jared Dudley, Alan Anderson and Kelly Oubre. Neal signed with Washington as a free agent. The Wizards sent a second-round pick to Milwaukee in exchange for Dudley in a July trade. Anderson signed as a free agent after two years in Brooklyn. And Oubre was acquired in a draft-night deal with Atlanta. “I think Jared is going to help us out tremendously,” Beal said. “Alan is going to help us out. … I’m excited. We still have a great team, still have our core together and it’s just a matter of going out and getting the job done again.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The loss of free agent Kevin Seraphin to the Knicks may force the Wizards to fully commit to a small-ball approach, according to Seth Partnow of The Washington Post. Washington had success with that strategy during the playoffs, and Partnow argues that the improvement of Otto Porter Jr. means that the Wizards’ best bet is a lineup with John Wall, one big man and three shooters.
  • Melvin Ejim’s deal with the Magic is for two years at the minimum salary, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. The former Iowa State star will receive $150K guaranteed in the first season.

Southeast Notes: Richardson, Williams, Gordon

Heat trade candidate Mario Chalmers and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who’s eligible for an extension from the Hornets until October 31st, are among the five players Jessica Camerato of Basketball Insiders believes must show improvement this coming season. Chalmers will have motivation to bounce back after a poor shooting year that featured his career-worst 29.4% three-point percentage with his contract set to expire at season’s end, while Kidd-Gilchrist has to contend with trade acquisition Nicolas Batum at his position. While we wait to find out whether either of them will break through this coming season, see more from the Southeast Division here:

  • The deal that No. 40 pick Josh Richardson signed with the Heat features minimum salaries for all three seasons and no guaranteed money beyond this season’s fully guaranteed salary, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders shows (Twitter link). His 2016/17 salary becomes guaranteed if he sticks through August 1st, 2016, Pincus adds.
  • Elliot Williams received two years at the minimum salary with an $80K partial guarantee for this season and no guaranteed money for 2016/17 in his camp deal with the Hornets, Pincus also reports (Twitter link).
  • Aaron Gordon is among the players from the 2014 draft class who appear on the verge of a breakout, according to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. A fractured bone in Gordon’s left foot helped limit him to 47 games last season and made it tough to see why the Magic invested the No. 4 overall pick in the combo forward.

Magic Sign Melvin Ejim For Camp

7:42: The signing is official, the team announced via a press release.

11:43am: Ejim still must free himself from a contract he signed earlier this summer with Medi Bayreuth of Germany before he can join Orlando, writes Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel.

8:31am: The Magic have invited summer-leaguer and former Iowa State standout Melvin Ejim to training camp, a source tells David Pick of Eurobasket.com (Twitter link), adding that some guaranteed money is involved. Pick confirmed to Hoops Rumors that Ejim has accepted the invitation.

Ejim put up 9.2 points and 6.8 rebounds in 30.1 minutes per game for the Magic’s summer league team last month after spending this past season with Virtus Roma in Italy. The 6’7″ small forward went undrafted in 2014 in spite of a breakout senior year in 2013/14, when he averaged 17.8 PPG and 8.4 RPG in 32.1 MPG for the Cyclones.

Orlando has already been carrying 15 deals, including a partially guaranteed arrangement with Keith Appling and Devyn Marble‘s non-guaranteed pact. The other 13 players have guaranteed salaries, and the Magic have yet to strike a deal with Tyler Harvey, whom they drafted 51st overall this year. Thus, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Magic view Ejim with the D-League chiefly in mind. Orlando can retain the D-League rights to as many as four players it cuts at the end of the preseason.

Do you think Ejim has what it takes to stick on an NBA roster? Leave a comment to tell us.

Eastern Notes: Jerebko, McRae, Dedmon, Hornets

Jonas Jerebko said he got several free agency phone calls after the clock struck midnight on July 1st, but he was glad that one of them came from Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, according to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Jerebko, who inked a two-year, $10MM contract with the Celtics, wanted to stay in Boston after being acquired from the Pistons in a February trade. “It was like proof that you had a good year,” Jerebko said of the calls from other organizations. “I had other teams interested, but after talking to Danny and the way we worked stuff out, this is where I wanted to be and we worked it out.” Jerebko averaged 7.1 points and 4.8 rebounds per game after the deal, both up from his numbers in Detroit.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference:

Cavaliers Rumors: Varejao, Dellavedova, Jones

In two years, the Cavaliers’ Anderson Varejao could be a trading chip similar to Brendan Haywood, according to Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer. The frequently injured Varejao received a contract extension last summer partially for that purpose, Pluto reports. His salaries of $9.6MM for next season and $9.3MM for 2016/17 are fully guaranteed, but the $10MM he is scheduled to receive in 2017/18 is not guaranteed, making him an attractive pickup for a team looking to shed salary. Haywood, who had a non-guaranteed salary of $10,522,500 next season was dealt to the Blazers along with Mike Miller for trade exceptions worth $10.5MM and $2.85MM and was subsequently waived by Portland.
There’s more news out of Cleveland:

Heat Rumors: Boozer, Ennis, D-League

Miami could have interest in free agent Carlos Boozer if the Heat deal one of their big men for luxury tax relief, writes Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. The Heat cut their tax bill with last week’s trade that sent Shabazz Napier to the Magic, but Chris Andersen and Josh McRoberts remain candidates to be moved to slash the potential payment even further. If that happens, Miami may pursue Boozer on a veteran’s minimum salary to be a replacement, although Winderman isn’t sure how much the veteran free agent has left to offer. Boozer, 34, averaged 11.8 points and 6.8 rebounds in 71 games with the Lakers last season.

There’s more this morning from South Florida:

  • Another team may pounce on James Ennis if he doesn’t make the Heat’s 15-man roster, Winderman speculates in the same piece. The 25-year-old guard got into 62 games with Miami last season, averaging 5.0 points in 17 minutes of playing time. Even with Napier and Zoran Dragic (traded to the Celtics) gone, Ennis faces a crowded backcourt situation. Winderman contends the Heat should carry the maximum of 15 players on their roster to keep as much talent as possible on hand.
  • The Heat have done a good job of taking of advantage of the league rule that lets teams retain the D-League rights to as many as four players cut in training camp, Winderman notes in a separate story. That applies only to players who clear waivers and have agreed to play in the D-League. Last season, Miami offered partial guarantees to Tyler Johnson, Khem Birch and Larry Drew II to get them into camp and establish an affiliation. They later added Andre Dawkins to the list. Players who end up in the D-League in this manner can be signed by other NBA teams during the season, as Drew (Sixers) and Dawkins (Celtics) were last year.
  • Napier was the first player involved in a trade between the Heat and Magic during their 28-year rivalry, Winderman points out in the same story. The teams’ only previous deal sent coach Stan Van Gundy from Miami to Orlando in 2007 for a second-round pick.

Eastern Notes: Sixers, Bucks, MCW, Magic

Jahlil Okafor is preparing himself to be the focal point of the Sixers, and the rookie has already established himself in Philadelphia, Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

“He has brought a whole lot of excitement to this team,” teammate Robert Covington said. “He is a big man who has made his presence known already.”

Here’s more out of the Eastern Conference:

  • The Bucks‘ ability to convince Greg Monroe to sign with them over teams in bigger markets such as the Knicks or the Lakers signals that Milwaukee should be considered a major player in free agency and a contender in the years to come, Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders writes. Monroe should bring some needed offense to a team that ranked 25th in the league in offensive efficiency last season.
  • Milwaukee must figure out whether Michael Carter-Williams can be the team’s point guard of the future, Blancarte writes in the same piece. Blancarte acknowledges the point guard’s flaws but believes there is a tendency to overlook the things he does well. MCW has career averages of 15.7 points, 6.5 assists and 5.8 rebounds per game. He will be eligible for a rookie scale extension after the 2015/16 campaign.
  • Amin Elhassan of ESPN.com (Insider only) believes Mario Hezonja can contribute to the Magic right away, but he realizes that the 20-year-old’s basketball IQ and decision-making could be serious hurdles in his development.


Southeast Notes: Scott, Ennis, Napier

Hawks power forward Mike Scott is facing felony drug charges following an arrest this morning, reports Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Police say they found Scott and his brother in possession of marijuana and MDMA, aka ecstasy or Molly. Scott’s salary of more than $3.333MM is fully guaranteed for this season, with a similar figure non-guaranteed for 2016/17. Here’s more from around the Southeast Division:
  • James Ennis feels confident that he’ll earn his way onto the Heat‘s regular season roster, agent Scott Nichols told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, explaining why he and the Heat decided to nix the clause in Ennis’ contract that would have triggered a 50% partial guarantee on his minimum salary if he remained on the team through Saturday. The move keeps the Heat from having to decide on a $422,530 chunk of salary this weekend, a prospect that may well have spurred the team to cut him, and it also moves up the date on which Ennis’ salary becomes fully guaranteed from December 1st to opening night, Jackson notes.
  • Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel still doesn’t see Miami’s 2014 draft-night acquisition of Shabazz Napier as a mistake, even after the Heat traded Napier to the Magic following a so-so rookie year, as Winderman writes in his mailbag column. He heard from one scout that Napier nearly was one of the first 15 picks in the draft. This summer, the Heat had luxury tax concerns and better options at point guard, and that’s what led to the trade with Orlando, Winderman argues. That casts a different light on Napier than that from when an NBA GM told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald that the Heat had simply concluded prior to the trade that the point guard “was not good enough”
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist leads a list of intriguing second-tier 2016 free agents that Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com compiles in an Insider-only piece. The elite defense of the 21-year-old Hornets small forward makes it such that he’ll be a valuable starter for years to come if he can merely become an average offensive player, Pelton argues.

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