Two sources tell Jackson that the latest ban was the last straw regarding Waiters’ future in Miami. Management had been open to putting him back on the court if there were no further incidents, but his latest violation of team rules has ended that possibility.
Another source tells Jackson that Waiters is opposed to accepting a buyout that would cost him any of the $12.1MM he is making this year or the $12.7MM he is owed next season. The only thing that might change his mind is if he believes another team is interested in signing him, helping him recoup whatever money he parts with in a buyout. He has already lost $1.4MM because of the suspensions, which total 17 games.
The Heat are willing to offer a buyout, and Jackson was told that every option is “on the table” for resolving the situation. A team source admits that management has explored options for voiding Waiters’ contract, but there are concerns about a potential legal battle with the players union.
Jackson notes that the most likely scenario is for the Heat to continue paying Waiters while keeping him away from the team, an arrangement that he would have to approve. That enables Miami to use his salary as filler if a trade opportunity arises between now and February of next season. So far, no teams have expressed any interest in dealing for Waiters.
Ethan Skolnick of Five Reasons Sports reported this morning that Waiters’ latest suspension was triggered by an Instagram post that showed him on a boat when the team was led to believe he was sick. A source tells Skolnick that the suspension was imposed because of the cumulative effect of Waiters’ actions and team president Pat Riley’s emphasis on maintaining Heat “Culture.”
A source explained to Jackson that the post was one of many factors in the decision to suspend Waiters again.
Skolnick confirms that the team hasn’t made any progress in finding a taker for Waiters, with one source telling him, “There’s been no interest. None. Zip.” The Heat have been reluctant so far to include another asset such as a young player or a draft pick to make a deal happen.