Heat Rumors: Dragic, Spoelstra, James Johnson

The Heat should wait to see how the draft plays out before deciding whether to trade Goran Dragic, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Miami is tied for third in our latest Reverse Standings, which gives the organization a decent shot at landing one of the top point guards in the draft such as UCLA’s Lonzo Ball or Washington’s Markelle Fultz. However, Dragic will make $17MM next season and the Heat probably couldn’t find a similar talent in free agency for the same price. Also, he could be a valuable piece to keep in place if team president Pat Riley’s plans for a quick rebuilding project work out. Winderman concludes that Dragic should be dealt this season only if a team is willing to pay a premium price in return.

There’s more this morning out of Miami:

  • Dragic has been dealing with soreness in his back for more than a week, according to Anthony Chiang of The Palm Beach Post. The problem began with back spasms in a December 23rd game, and the pain has been lingering ever since. Dragic sat out Friday’s game and is hoping a prolonged absence won’t be necessary. “The back is kind of tricky,” he said. “The only thing that I can say is I’ll go day-by-day and see how I’m going to feel.”
  • Coach Erik Spoelstra sees progress even though the Heat closed out 2016 with a 10-24 record, Chiang writes in a separate story. Spoelstra has tried to build a winner without longtime stars Dwyane Wade, who signed with Chicago over the summer, and Chris Bosh, who has probably played his last game in Miami because of blood clot issues. Despite a revamped roster, Spoelstra doesn’t like to consider this a rebuilding year. “This is my 22nd year with the Heat. We’ve been to the Finals five times and won three championships,” he said. “So what about all those other years? There’s a lot of other years that you’re not winning it or you’re not the last team or where you want to be. So, whatever word you want to use, we’ve had to do it before several times — retool, rebuild — and we’ve done it quicker than most. That’s because of the commitment to developing and building these standards.”
  • James Johnson has played well enough to earn consideration as the starting power forward, Winderman contends in a separate column. Spoelstra has been reluctant to make the move because Johnson has been a valuable member of the second unit. Johnson will be back on the free agent market again in July after signing a one-year, $4MM contract with Miami.
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2 thoughts on “Heat Rumors: Dragic, Spoelstra, James Johnson

  1. Formerlyz

    James Johnson really has been amazing. That being said, I think I’d still keep him off the bench for now, although giving him good munutes. Winslow should see more time at the 4, now that he’s back. I’ve been talking about Richardson for Waiters, when everyone gets healthy since before the season. One thing that happens with no Waiters is the ball moves more fluidly, and Dragic attacks more. There are times where Waiters dominates the ball, and Dragic isn’t as aggressive. He needs to be the best player on this team, and when he attacks, he has put up some good numbers this year. Makes a lot more sense for Waiters to come off the bench. When healthy, the rotation should probably be Dragic, Richardson, McGruder, Winslow, Whiteside
    Tyler Johnson, Dion Waiters, James Johnson, Willie Reed, Wayne Ellignton, Udonis Haslem, and the 3 inactives would be Babbit, Beasley 2.0 (Derrick Williams), and then obviously, McRoberts and Bosh. It is possible that Ellington and McGruder switch though, with Richardson moving to the 3 and Ellington at the 2 in that scenario, depending on how they consider Ellington’s shooting vs McGruder’s defense/energy

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  2. Formerlyz

    Originally, I thought the Heat either needed to move a couple of pieces (James johnson, Wayne ellington, derrick williams) for an expiring 4. Then, I thought they should possibly move Dragic….Now, I think they HAVE to get rid of Whiteside. I thought I could live with it, but I cant, and if I cant, I know Pat Riley cant. Hassan Whiteside is a selfish, quitter. He is not a Miami Heat player. Lack of effort is unacceptable, and it’s happening on a nightly basis. He is a Stat chaser. Constantly chasing blocks allows for easy dump off passes to free baskets, or free offensive rebounding opportunities for other teams. Doesn’t help on defense, and is terrible defending pick and roll. He also slows the pace b/c he refuses to let his team mates get a rebound. On offense, he is a black hole. He stops the ball, obviously, and then he refuses to pass under any circumstances. Meanwhile, he is one of the least efficient post players in basketball, and is prone to turnovers. And for some reason, he decided it made sense to stop doing the free throw routine he did last year, in which he shot like 75-80% from the line for a significant amount of time. Now, he is back into that 50-58% range. And then he has the audacity to question why he gets benched? Please get rid of this dude. I can’t stand the fact Dwyane Wade isn’t on this team, while we have to watch this guy disrespect the game of basketball on a nightly basis

    The young guys are very intriguing. They even found another cheap 3 and D wing, in Rodney McGruder, who is the opposite of Whiteside, and plays so hard. Definitely a team that has a good nucleus. Even with the injuries, the heat haven’t been fully healthy for even 1 game yet, they’re in every game. They’re so close. Defense has been good, but they can’t make free throws. If everyone is healthy, I think they’re much better than their record. Should be interesting to see how the next few weeks play out. I’m just done with Whiteside. I dont question the work ethic, or the abilities, of Spo, or the rest of the roster, with the exception of Hassan Whiteside. When Dion Waiters is more mature than you, there is a problem.

    Honestly, I like the outlook of this roster if they can stay healthy. They’ve had a massive hole at the 4, but James Johnson has been really good there, and Winslow could and should see time there, now that hes back, as well as McGruder has been good seeing minutes at the 3. The problem is that it gets late early in a league where there is so much competition, and almost winning games doesnt mean anything. Nobody is going to feel sorry for you, with injuries. Still, it could end up benefiting the Heat. I honestly dont think this team is bad enough to get a draft pick in the top half of the lottery, but if they cant get healthy, it might allow them to do that, and if they can trade Whiteside, and add 1 young player and another draft pick next year in a really deep draft, the core all of the sudden looks really good, and then they’d have cap room to sign a free agent or 2 like Heyward and/or Milsap

    Core would be Dragic, Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow, Rodney McGruder, young player from Whiteside trade, Heat 1st round draft pick, 1st round pick from Whiteside trade, which is a really good start, especially when they’d have a lot of cap room. I don’t see a reason to trade Dragic during the season, unless you get a lot for him. Otherwise, it makes more sense to reexplore hi market before the draft, and probably build around him for next year

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