Heat Notes: Waiters, Winslow, Dragic, Free Agents

The health of shooting guard Dion Waiters looms as one of the Heat’s biggest question marks heading into next season, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel reports. Waiters has been hampered two seasons by an ankle injury, which required season-ending surgery in January. The Heat believe Waiters will be better than ever once he heals but it’s no slam dunk he’ll even be ready for training camp. Miami president Pat Riley believes the return of Waiters, who appeared in just 30 games after signing a four-year, $52MM contract last summer, will be akin to adding a quality free agent.

“He was playing hurt for a year and a half for the most part,” Riley said. “I’m glad he had the surgery. I hope the surgery is 100 percent successful. You got a very talented 26-year-old player that still wants to make his mark and we don’t have to go out and pay somebody $25 million to get him to play.”

In other news concerning the Heat:

  • It’s more likely that Justise Winslow will get traded than Josh Richardson, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Winslow, who is still on his rookie deal, has one more guaranteed year remaining at $3.45MM. Richardson signed a four-year, $42MM extension last September. The Heat could use Winslow as a chip in a package for a top-level player or as a sweetener to dump a bad contract, with Jackson citing Tyler Johnson’s deal as an example. In contrast, Richardson would probably only be traded for an All-Star caliber player, Jackson adds.
  • The Suns’ hiring of Slovenian national team coach Igor Kokoskov as their head coach doesn’t necessarily increase the possibility of Goran Dragic being reunited with Phoenix, Winderman opines in a blog post. Acquiring a 31-year-old point guard probably wouldn’t make much sense for the rebuilding Suns, Winderman notes. However, if the Heat can regain the unprotected 2021 first-round pick they dealt to acquired Dragic, that might make it worth their while, Winderman adds.
  • What does the future hold for the Heat’s free agents? Austin Kent takes a closer look in our free agent stock watch.
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9 thoughts on “Heat Notes: Waiters, Winslow, Dragic, Free Agents

  1. tealmarlin

    Oh man, we had so much faith in Winslow. Maybe he’s just a good defensive player.

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  2. Dionis

    Winslow is going to be a beast man Miami is getting way too desperate the dude is only 21 years old.

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    • formerlyz

      It’s a really small snippet of the article. The article mostly talks about Winslow and Richardson improving for next season. The Heat dont really want to move either of those guys, or Bam

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  3. formerlyz

    I’d prefer that neither get traded, especially if you’re doing it to clear salary. I also dont feel like Tyler Johnson’s contract hurts as much as Whitesides. As I’ve said, I hope Tyler Johnson comes back. Whiteside, Waiters, KO, James Johnson, Goran Dragic are potential trade options, although I’d prefer to keep JJ and Dragic.

    Winslow is significantly improved offensively. His handle had improved before his injuries last year, and his jumpshot is much smoother, better, and more consistent. He needs to improve finishing at the rim, shooting off the dribble, and at the free throw line. I’m pretty interested to see what he looks like next year, with a fully healthy summer. He is obviously still super young. Richardson, meanwhile just needs to improve his consistency in terms of being more aggressive offensively. I’d like for him to attack the rim more often and continue to work on his handle. I think he can also be interesting to see after really his first full season.

    Injuries and missed free throws are the story of the last 2 years. Didnt get to see Heats full versatility. McGruder should have played more. Rotations were kind of weird in this playoff round. It was the Heats worst matchup, and I had been saying they needed to avoid Philly for the last 2 months…I still feel like I’d like to see more of what they could do healthy, but I would expect trades to be on the table. That being said, it’s hard to say what options really exist. I dont see anyone, besides maybe Cleveland, wanting Whiteside, and I dont see what we could get for him.

    TLDR: Have to at least improve at the free throw line next year, and hopefully stay healthy. Those 2 things have been the story of the last 2 Heat seasons. A lot of possibilities out there. Not really sure who we could target with our mid-level. Need to keep Ellington. Dont see anyone that would want Whiteside, which is why I wanted to get rid of him early last year before people found that out. Heat have movable pieces. I’d like to see this versatile roster get another chance with a healthy year, but I would be super down for something big involving a couple of our contracts in trades, if it makes sense.

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  4. I’ve said it before on this site – Winslow measured at about 6’4″ according to DraftExpress. His ceiling is PJ Tucker with a handle. Possibly a Draymond-esque role, but he’s nowhere near as long (versatile) as Green.

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    • formerlyz

      While I like PJ Tucker a lot, I dont think you’ve ever seen Winslow play, and I also dont think you understand age differences or how development of skillset is.

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        • I’ve followed the NBA fervently for twenty years now. My point is, his physical limitations compound his lack of skills. Not many NBA players become great shooters if they weren’t to begin with.

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          • formerlyz

            That isn’t true…development is a thing, and there are countless players that have added jump shots and turned it into a strength. That and we’re already seeing the development. He also has pretty good guard skills as a playmaker, which is an area where he likely will continue to expand.

            You are correct about his size. Hes been listed at 6″7 in the NBA, and they keep saying he is, but I remember at the combine, he was 6″5 1/2 with shoes on. He could have gotten taller since then, but I dont remember that being talked about as it has with other guys. Dude is really strong though, and hasnt had any significant issues guarding bigger dudes

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