The Heat have waived forward Yante Maten, formally announcing the transaction today in a press release. Assuming Maten goes unclaimed, he’ll clear waivers on Wednesday and become an unrestricted free agent.
Maten, who went undrafted out of Georgia in 2018, joined the Heat on a two-way contract a year ago and spent most of the season playing for the Sioux Falls Skyforce. In 30 G League games (32.7 MPG), the rookie averaged 23.5 PPG and 9.7 RPG, earning a spot on the NBA team’s 15-man roster to finish the season.
Miami’s decision to release Maten doesn’t come as a huge surprise, given the structure of his deal. His $100K partial guarantee was on track to increase to $150K if he had remained under contract through Thursday. A $50K bump isn’t too significant, but it’s a big deal for the Heat, who entered the day with approximately $1MM of breathing room below their hard cap ($138.93MM) for 2019/20.
After Maten had a shaky showing in Las Vegas Summer League earlier this month, he was viewed as the most expendable of the Heat’s players on partially guaranteed contracts, as we relayed over the weekend. Releasing him before his guarantee increases allows the team to create a roster spot – and the cap flexibility – to sign another player.
Udonis Haslem is considered a candidate for that newly-opened slot, but he has yet to make a decision on whether or not to continue his playing career. If Haslem retires, Miami would obviously go in another direction.