The Heat were feeling out the trade value of Goran Dragic before the deadline, a source told Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, and that jibes with an earlier report that the team was open to hearing offers for the point guard. Deveney also reiterates that Miami is unsurprisingly eyeing prime free agent Mike Conley. It’s all part of what appears to be a two-year plan that team president Pat Riley has in place to use his reputation as a recruiter and team builder and the natural appeal of Miami to restore the Heat to title contention, league sources told Deveney. See more from South Beach:
- Joe Johnson wants to play the rest of his career with the Heat, and while he acknowledged it’s not certain whether he will, the 34-year-old said that’s Riley’s goal too, observes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “The most important thing Pat told me was that this wasn’t just a short-term deal, that he would like me to finish my career here,” Johnson said. “That’s what we’re working toward. I want to come out and help as much as possible.”
- The Heat promised Johnson a starting role before he signed, The Herald’s Ethan Skolnick notes.
- The Johnson has often spent time in Miami for offseason workouts and said he felt right at home when he signed, as Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel details. “I really didn’t know much about the Heat organization and how they worked. Things I’ve heard that they were very first class. Just in the past couple of days, I’ve seen a lot of things I haven’t seen in my 15-year career. So I’ve been impressed,” Johnson said.
- Soon-to-be free agent Hassan Whiteside expressed some encouraging sentiments today about his future with Miami, as The Herald’s Manny Navarro relays (Twitter link). “I feel comfortable as long as I’ve got a Heat jersey on,” Whiteside said. “Coming off the bench, starting, I just love playing for this team.”
- The Heat have about $41,600 to spend without going over the tax line after Monday’s controversial buyout with Beno Udrih, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reported and as we detailed in an earlier post about the market for reported Miami target Marcus Thornton. Miami would have more to spend if another team claims Udrih off waivers.