Heat Notes: Leonard, Nunn, Cap Exceptions, Herro

The Heat will be without Meyers Leonard for the rest of the season following the season-ending procedure he underwent on his shoulder on Tuesday. While the veteran big man hasn’t been a regular part of Miami’s rotation since last February, his teammates will miss his presence in the locker room, according to Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

“He’s one of the best teammates I’ve had, as far as his leadership and his voice,” Tyler Herro said of Leonard. “When he steps into a room or a locker room, he’s always heard and he’s always preaching the right thing.”

“He was always encouraging guys,” Goran Dragic added. “He was the most vocal guy on our team. We’re definitely going to miss him.”

It’s possible Leonard has played his last game for the Heat, since the team is unlikely to pick up his $10.2MM team option for 2021/22.

Here’s more out of Miami:

  • After starting two games for the Heat last week, Kendrick Nunn has fallen out of the team’s rotation for the last two games. Still, even with Miami’s roster closer to full strength, that likely won’t be permanent. “He’s right there. We are finally at a point in the season where we have to make some tough decisions and that’s not an easy decision for the head coach,” Erik Spoelstra said, per Chiang and Jackson. “Guys just need to continue to stay ready and do whatever is necessary to help us get on track and play more consistently.” Nunn would meet the starter criteria and increase the value of his qualifying offer if he starts five more games this season.
  • The Heat have no shortage of salary cap exceptions available, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel, who expects the team will be approved for a $4.7MM disabled player exception following Leonard’s surgery. That DPE would supplement Miami’s $7.5MM trade exception and its $3.6MM bi-annual exception. If the club wants to use any of those exceptions, it would mean trading or releasing a player currently on the roster, since the 17-man squad is full.
  • Tyler Herro, who briefly entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols over the weekend before being cleared, explained on Tuesday that his girlfriend recorded a false positive COVID-19 test (Twitter link via Winderman). Once she recorded two negatives, Herro was cleared to rejoin the Heat without missing any games.
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