Heat Notes: Richardson, Newman, Okafor, Babbitt

The Heat had calls from teams wanting to trade for Josh Richardson this summer, but Miami isn’t looking to move him, according to Manny Navarro and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. The organization wants Richardson to take a larger role on offense, with team president Pat Riley telling him that he should be able to average 18 points per game.

Richardson put up a career-best 12.9 PPG last season while shooting .375% from 3-point range. The authors say Richardson has been concentrating on shooting off the dribble and creating his own shot during offseason workouts.

Teams may have been trying to take advantage of the Heat’s desire to shed salary, but Richardson has an affordable deal that will pay him nearly $42MM over the next four seasons, including an $11.6MM player option in 2021/22. If he is able to increase his scoring numbers, Richardson’s contract might look like a bargain.

Navarro and Jackson pass along some more Heat info in the same piece:

  • Miami wasn’t swayed by Malik Newman‘s experience with the Lakers when the team opted to sign him this week. The 21-year-old guard inked a two-way contract with L.A. at the beginning of July, but spent less than three weeks with the team before being waived. A source said the Heat were “intrigued” with Newman because of his outside shooting prowess and his performance with Kansas in the NCAA Tournament. At 6’3″, Newman will have to learn to play point guard to succeed in the NBA, the source added. His contract is believed to be a training camp deal.
  • Even though the Heat have roster openings, they never considered trying to sign free agent center Jahlil Okafor. The No. 3 pick in the 2015 draft agreed to a partially guaranteed deal with the Pelicans today after disappointing performances with the Sixers and Nets. Miami only has 12 players with guaranteed contracts, along with a two-way deal for Duncan Robinson, but the team believes it has enough centers with Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo backing up Hassan Whiteside.
  • Veteran forward Luke Babbitt, who finished last season in Miami after a February trade from the Hawks, continues to examine offers in Europe. Babbitt, 29, is hoping to find a place where he can get more playing time after barely being used by the Heat. He appeared in 13 games after the deal, averaging 11.2 minutes per night, and played just three total minutes in the postseason.

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