The Heat have a track record of luring free agents to Miami on below-market contracts, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald notes. Center Udonis Haslem offered an explanation for the trend, saying, “It’s a first-class organization, winning organization, and you see how [team president] Pat [Riley] and [owner] Micky [Arison] work together, how the players are treated, how we love being here. And [players] see other people make sacrifices and they start to wonder, ‘Why is everybody sacrificing to be there? Why is everybody sacrificing to stay there?’ When they get a chance to be a part of it, then they buy in.”
Combo guard Goran Dragic, who signed a five-year, $90MM deal this past offseason, left millions on the table from other suitors in order to remain part of the Heat’s winning culture, Jackson relays. “When the time came and we negotiated, [agent Rade Filopovich] said we can get more somewhere else,” Dragic said. “But the most important thing for me was to be in the right place to try to win a championship. I didn’t even want to question that. Because it’s a winning culture here. Everybody wants to win, at least the players that are here. You want to put yourself in a good situation that you can develop your game, that you can get better and get the highest prize. I’m happy here. I went through some struggles but I’m really happy I’m part of this team. Everything looks good now.”
Here’s more out of the Southeast Division:
- The Hornets surprised a number of draft experts when they selected Frank Kaminsky over Justise Winslow in the first round of the 2015 NBA draft. Coach Steve Clifford indicated that it was a matter of redundancy that led Charlotte to pass on Winslow, Jackson relays in a separate piece. “[The decision] was difficult, because Justise is a good player. But so much of it is need. Justise’s position, that versatile three/four, is what we have in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist [who missed most of the season with injury]. But we were really high on Frank anyway,” Clifford said.
- The Wizards may not be a good fit for Tom Thibodeau, since the team isn’t offering organizational control to head coaching candidates, and that’s something the former Bulls coach reportedly prefers, Ben Standig of CSN Mid-Atlantic notes. Scott Brooks is the reported front-runner for Washington’s coaching vacancy, though Thibodeau has also drawn consideration from the Wizards as well.
- The Hawks have recalled swingman Lamar Patterson from the Austin Spurs of the NBA D-League, the team announced via press release.