The Heat and Beno Udrih are near agreement on a buyout deal that would offset the salary and luxury tax costs of Miami’s decision to sign Joe Johnson this weekend, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports. Udrih would be eligible to participate in the playoffs with another team if he hits waivers no later than Tuesday, but he’s expected to be out until late May with foot surgery, so little chance exists that he’ll be healthy enough to see action. Thus, it’s unclear why Udrih would give up a portion of his salary, worth more than $2.17MM. His contract is set to expire this summer anyway. The decision about whether to do a buyout deal, which would help the Heat, or simply hit waivers without agreeing to give up money rests with Udrih, Charania writes, indicating that Miami plans to release him one way or another.
Miami has an eye on making continued additions to its roster. The Heat and the recently released Marcus Thornton have had talks, sources told Charania, advancing an earlier report identifying the Heat’s interest in Thornton. Those same sources suggested to Charania that the Heat might pursue a point guard. Miami currently has 14 players on its roster, so offloading Udrih would create two open roster spots.
The Heat are about $44K over the tax threshold, according to The Vertical’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). They pay $2.50 for every dollar they’re over the line, and more in the unlikely event they’re in excess of $5MM above the tax, pursuant to the league’s repeat-offender tax penalties. Miami slipped under the tax line at the trade deadline, but went back over with the Johnson signing. Udrih could give back part of his salary as a goodwill gesture to the Heat, but it would be against the rules for him and the team to prearrange any new deal that he might sign after he clears waivers.