Heat Notes: Johnson, Haslem, Luxury Tax

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.

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