Heat president Pat Riley isn’t worried about Andre Iguodala‘s age or the fact the veteran forward hasn’t played this season, as he told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald and other reporters. In fact, Riley took a different spin on Iguodala sitting out while waiting for the Grizzlies to trade him to a contender. Miami acquired Iguodala from Memphis in a deadline deal.
“He’s an elite defender, an elite team defender; an elite assist-to-turnover percentage. You don’t lose that in seven months,” Riley said. “Probably a blessing in disguise he didn’t play in seven months. He’s in shape. He’s definitely going to have to get his basketball legs under him. As long as he’s healthy he can play.”
Riley also touched on a number of other subjects:
- He was unwilling to give Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari a guaranteed 2021/22 contract extension, which prevented a trade for the OKC forward. That supports an ESPN report earlier today. Miami wanted to protect its projected cap space for the summer of 2021, when several high-level players are expected to hit the free agent market. “I wanted everything. But I wasn’t going to … compromise a two-year plan,” Riley said, adding “I like Gallo. I think he would have fit in really well. “
- Trading Justise Winslow to Memphis in a three-team deal that also included Minnesota was the hard part for Riley. Winslow has been injured most of the season. “I know he’s missed 150 games during 4 ½ years with us,” Riley said. “We’re going to miss him. The Memphis Grizzlies got a great young player.”
- No decision has been made on whether to offer Derrick Jones Jr. a contract this offseason. Jones becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. “I like the fact he’s improved his three-point shooting,” Riley said. “Like the fact he’s become a better, more consistent defender. When that time comes we have a decision to make.”
- The Heat will scour the buyout market for a rim protector, per Riley: “We will keep our eyes out. We are happy part of this transaction gives us the possibility of a buyout player later on.”