Southeast Notes: Olynyk, George, Wizards, Hawks

Kelly Olynyk‘s $13.1MM player option decision could potentially limit the Heat‘s available cap space or assist the club in the trade market, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes.

Olynyk, who played meaningful minutes off the bench this season, could choose to exercise the option and return to Miami for a fourth straight season or test free agency. Miami is known for being active in trade discussions, however, and could shop Olynyk if he opts in. Last year’s sign-and-trade for All-Star Jimmy Butler nearly included the veteran forward.

“I mean, on that night I thought I was going to Dallas. I thought it was over,” he said. “Not over, but I thought it was done, that it was a done deal. Like when I heard, people were calling me, I thought it was done.

“And then it unraveled or got revoked. I’m not sure how it went down, but I stayed in Miami.”

The Heat wound up sending Hassan Whiteside to Portland, Josh Richardson to Philadelphia and a first-round pick to the Clippers, bringing over Butler, Meyers Leonard and cash considerations in return. Olynyk was once again a key cog in the team’s rotation this season, averaging 8.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 19.4 minutes while shooting 41% from deep.

“You never know, the grass could be greener, or there could be no grass over there,” Olynyk said, acknowledging his name could still appear in future trade rumors. “So you really have no clue. And that’s in everything in life, not just basketball, not just sports.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division today:

  • Winderman examines in a separate story whether the Heat should pursue Paul George if the Clippers make him available in trade talks. Los Angeles had an underwhelming end to their 2019/20 season by losing to Denver in the second round, with George averaging 20.2 points per game on 40% shooting in the playoffs. The Heat’s interest in landing a third star is well-documented, as Bucks All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo (potential free agent in 2021) currently sits atop the team’s future wish list.
  • Fred Katz of The Athletic evaluates multiple trade proposals for the Wizards. Washington is set to have a healthy John Wall, Bradley Beal, Thomas Bryant and others next season, sporting a diverse mix of veterans and young players.
  • Chris Kirschner of The Athletic examines hypothetical trade scenarios for the Hawks, a team seeking wing depth around the likes of Trae Young, John Collins and Clint Capela. Atlanta finished with the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference at 20-47 last season.
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