Heat Notes: Robinson, Vincent, Strus, Love, Haslem

The Heat‘s unexpectedly deep playoff run has improved the league-wide perception of several of the team’s key contributors, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

According to a scout who spoke to Jackson, Duncan Robinson‘s contract – which has three years and $57MM left after this season – now looks more tradable as opposed to being a “complete albatross.” Meanwhile, players like Gabe Vincent and Max Strus, who are headed for unrestricted free agency, are poised to cash in nicely this summer.

“I’ve gone from thinking (Vincent) is a good $3MM backup to a $10MM, $11MM player; he’s worth that in today’s NBA,” the scout said. “The guy has produced when it counts, and that’s what teams are looking for. He has risen to the occasion. … He’s never afraid of the moment. You get high effort defensively. Decent play-maker, has toughness. To me, his value correlates a lot to his scoring, but he does do other things that teams value.”

Ira Winderman explores the same subject in a story for The Sun Sentinel, noting that ESPN’s Bobby Marks believes both Vincent and Strus could get starting salaries around the full mid-level exception ($12.2MM) when they hit the market in a few weeks.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Five undrafted Heat players – Vincent, Strus, Robinson, Caleb Martin, and Haywood Highsmith – played at least 20 minutes in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. While those players appreciated Erik Spoelstra‘s recent assertion that the fixation on their undrafted status is “disrespectful,” they also don’t want to dismiss the obstacles they had to overcome to become rotation players on a Finals team, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. “You want to be labeled as an NBA player, but you don’t forget the road you took to get here, you don’t forget where you started and where you came from,” Martin said. “That’s what makes it also very special. I think that’s why our connection is so great, because near half our team went through the same stuff. I think the fact that’s the case has also helped us get to this point. So just as much as it can get old, it’s also very special.”
  • Kevin Love‘s numbers since he joined the Heat have been modest and his minutes have fluctuated, but teammate Duncan Robinson believes the veteran forward has been a difference-maker off the court for the club. “I think he totally changed the whole dynamic of our locker room,” Robinson said of Love on The Old Man and the Three podcast (hat tip to Jackson at The Miami Herald). “Just his character, his levity, what he brought in terms of just connecting people, having a sense of humor. When you have a guy who’s played in four NBA Finals, won a championship, gets pulled from a rotation in the middle of a series and his immediate reaction is uplifting the guy that’s replacing him — that alone sets the tone down the line for everybody else.”
  • While Udonis Haslem admits it would be an “amazing” ending to his own career if the Heat win a championship this spring before he retires, he said this week that he wants a title more for his teammates than for himself. “I want it for the guys that haven’t won any,” Haslem said, according to Chiang. “I want it for Jimmy Butler. I want it for those guys more so than anything.”
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