The Heat would almost certainly have to go into the luxury tax to re-sign Wayne Ellington, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Ellington will be a free agent again after accepting a one-year, $6.3MM deal last summer. He has a chance to set the franchise record for 3-pointers in a season, but team president Pat Riley operates under a policy of only paying the tax when the Heat can contend for a title. Miami will be well over the salary cap next season, with more than $116MM already committed.
The Heat may not have a significant role for Ellington even if he does re-sign, Winderman adds. Dion Waiters should be fully recovered from ankle surgery, and Dwyane Wade will probably return for another season. Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson, Rodney McGruder and Justise Winslow will also be competing for wing minutes.
There’s more from the Southeast Division:
- Suns guard Elfrid Payton has a reunion in Orlando Saturday night, seeing his former Magic teammates for the first time since being traded last month, relays Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Payton got a warm greeting from the crowd before the game and from the Orlando players afterward. “A lot of people asked me, ‘Do I still talk to any of those guys?’ We’re still talking all the time,” Payton said. “They support me a lot, want me to do well, and the feeling is mutual. I’ve been through the trenches with those guys, been through a lot of things and a lot of ups and downs. Seeing them go through ups and downs — those types of things build relationships that last forever.”
- A lingering ankle injury wiped out much of his rookie season, but Magic forward Jonathan Isaac has done enough to keep the Magic excited about his future, notes James Blancarte of Basketball Insiders. “His defense is out of this world. I mean it’s really something else,” coach Frank Vogel said. “Just watch him play and everybody’s getting a taste of it right now. They haven’t seen him a whole lot but he’s an elite defender right now at 20 years old and the sky’s the limit for what he can be on that end of the floor.”
- The Hawks will reap the benefits of their decision to rebuild, starting with this year’s draft, writes Bobby Marks of ESPN. Atlanta currently projects to have four picks in the top 35 and sits in third place in our latest Reverse Standings. The team could have up to $30MM in cap space available and will be in the market for a third point guard and a combo forward.