Andre Iguodala

Southeast Notes: Iguodala, Beal, Magic, Hornets

Andre Iguodala turned 36 years old in January, but that didn’t stop him and the Heat from agreeing to a contract extension when he was dealt to Miami at the February trade deadline. Speaking to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, Iguodala said that the new deal, which provides a $15MM guarantee for 2020/21 and a $15MM team option for ’21/22, was something both sides pushed for at the time of the trade.

“Both sides knew the window we have — my window and the team’s window,” the Heat forward said. “We all know about when teams want cap space. It’s hard to get acclimated with a group of guys in two months. The locker room is a special place. I wanted to be somewhere where I could grow with the guys, a lot of the young talent that I have a good impression of, help them grow, especially Bam (Adebayo), Kendrick Nunn, Tyler (Herro) and Duncan (Robinson). I didn’t want it to be a two-, three-month thing.”

As Jackson points out, the Heat hadn’t expected to be a major player on the 2020 free agent market, so adding $15MM for Iguodala to next season’s books shouldn’t hurt the team. And in the 2021 offseason, the $15MM team option can be turned down with no penalty if the club needs to create cap room.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • General manager Tommy Sheppard said this week that the Wizards will be “very protective” of star guard Bradley Beal during the NBA’s restart, but there’s no indication Beal won’t play as the team pushes for the final playoff spot in the East, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.
  • Magic head coach Steve Clifford still isn’t committing one way or the other on whether Jonathan Isaac and Al-Farouq Aminu will be available this summer, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link). Asked today about the two injured forwards, Clifford replied, “They’re both in here working every day. … I just think it’s really early to try to make an intelligent decision on anything like that.”
  • Joe Wolf, who has been the head coach of the Hornets‘ G League affiliate for the last two seasons, won’t have his contract with the Greensboro Swarm extended, the club announced today in a press release.

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Kulboka, Magic, Gordon, Heat

Lithuanian forward Arnoldas Kulboka is remaining with Spanish club Bilbao Basket for next season after receiving interest from Zalgiris Kaunas in his home country, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The 22-year-old was selected by the Hornets with the No. 55 overall pick in the 2018 draft, but has yet to sign an NBA contract.

According to Donatas Urbonas (Twitter link), Kulboka’s agent Tadas Bulotas said that if not for the coronavirus pandemic, his client was planning to join the Hornets this year. As leagues take different approaches to COVID-19, the NBA offseason will no longer necessarily line up with the offseason for European leagues, complicating decisions for players looking to make the jump one way or the other.

Kulboka could potentially revisit the possibility of joining the Hornets in 2021.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • NBA scouts believe Magic forward Aaron Gordon is best suited to play power forward and also feel as if he tries to do more than he should in Orlando, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic. “I think the thing for him is he just has to realize that he has to accept that he is going to be a high-level role player — a borderline All-Star if he plays his role really well,” one scout told The Athletic. “I think in his mind there are times when he sees himself in the same vein as some of the superstars, and I think sometimes that can get in his way.”
  • In a separate mailbag article for The Athletic, Robbins examines the Magic‘s free agency outlook and discusses whether it would make sense for the team to experiment with playing Nikola Vucevic and Mohamed Bamba alongside one another.
  • After spending most of the NBA’s hiatus in California, Heat forward Andre Iguodala has returned to South Florida, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. In Miami, Iguodala will be able to take advantage of the team’s reopened practice facility for individual workouts. Jimmy Butler and Solomon Hill are now the club’s only players not in town, Winderman notes.

Heat Notes: Butler, Haslem, Iguodala, Facilities

After rumors of discontent and/or tension with teammates followed Jimmy Butler from Chicago to Minnesota to Philadelphia, we’ve heard nothing but rave reviews this season about his fit in Miami. During a weekend appearance on Instagram Live with Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe, Butler confirmed that he’s “hella happy” with the Heat, as Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald relay.

“Without a doubt. There ain’t a better place to be for me. Miami is it,” Butler said. “We got the right young guys, we got the right vets. (The young guys) get it. They get it and they’re thirsty to get back to hooping. I think I built bonds with a lot of my teammates on all my former teams. But this organization is special.”

According to The Herald duo, Butler also suggested that he likely won’t be part of USA Basketball’s 12-man roster for the Tokyo Olympics, which have been rescheduled for 2021. The star swingman won a gold medal with Team USA in Rio De Janeiro in 2016, but indicated he’s prioritizing the NBA over international competitions at this point in his career.

“I told (Carmelo Anthony) that if he plays (in the Olympics), I play,” Butler joked. “‘Melo said that he’s not playing.”

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Appearing this week on NBA TV (video link), Heat veteran Udonis Haslem admitted that the unusual circumstances of the NBA’s suspended season may influence his decision on whether to retire this offseason or return for another year. “One thing that I’ve always wanted is to be able to do is leave this game on my own terms,” Haslem said, per Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “Another thing that I’ve always wanted is to be able to have the opportunity to create a pathway for the next generation, as far as passing on the Heat culture. And the third thing that I wanted to do was to be able to leave this game with an opportunity to make a good playoff run. All three of those things have been taken out of my control right now. So we’ll just have to see.”
  • The NBA plans to allow teams to reopen their facilities for workouts as early as Friday, but the Heat don’t intend to start that process until Monday at the earliest, a source tells Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The team also plans to call back Butler and Andre Iguodala soon, according to Winderman, who notes that the two veterans – both in California – are the only two players currently away from South Florida.
  • As Winderman observes in another Sun-Sentinel article, if the NBA ultimately decides to shift its annual calendar and start the regular season in December on a permanent basis, it could open the door for the Heat to once again host the All-Star Game. The usual February dates have been problematic for the city, since the Miami International Boat Show and Coconut Grove Arts Festival generally take place on the same weekend. The All-Star Game hasn’t taken place in Miami since 1990 and has never been played at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Pat Riley: Heat Are “Close” To Being Title Contenders

Heat president Pat Riley is delighted with the progress his team made this season and believes the organization is “close” to being at a championship level again, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Riley made the comments in a video released today, saying he hopes the league will find a way to salvage the playoffs so he can see the results of moves the team made at the trade deadline.

“I think we were (41-24) or something along those lines and headed to home-court advantage in the playoffs. It was a great year,” Riley said. “I’m really disappointed that we haven’t seen the finish, especially after we made the trade when we brought in Andre Iguodala, Solomon Hill and Jae Crowder. I thought that was going to give us a little bit of an edge going into the playoffs.”

Riley pinpointed the addition of Jimmy Butler in a sign-and-trade last summer for creating a lot of optimism for the new season. Another boost came from unexpected production by rookie guards Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn, along with second-year forward Duncan Robinson.

“I’m so happy that we turned a lot of things around and we found the right players,” Riley said, “the right mix of pick-and-roll players, guys that can post up and really found a couple of guys that can shoot the ball — really shoot the ball — so we’re happy for that and we’re really optimistic about moving forward into the future with these players.”

Riley touched on a few more topics during the video:

  • The Heat are running through scenarios for free agency, but everything is “up in the air” because of uncertainty over whether the season will resume. Miami has several important decisions to make, with new acquisitions Crowder and Hill both headed for free agency, along with Goran Dragic, Meyers Leonard, Derrick Jones Jr. and Udonis Haslem. In addition, Kelly Olynyk has a $13.2MM player option. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald suggests Riley’s comments are a sign that he will try to keep the team together instead of renouncing the free agents and operating under the salary cap (Twitter link).
  • There’s strong support around the league for finding a way to complete the season, Riley added. He said all 30 teams have been participating in conference calls with the commissioner’s office and players union to discuss strategies. “I think that’s a very important thing for all of the franchises, complete the season even if it moves on later,” Riley said. “I think we’re all right behind Adam Silver and him waiting until he launches us back into action.”
  • Riley was “stunned” when he learned that the season was being suspended in the wake of a positive coronavirus test by Jazz center Rudy Gobert, but ultimately believes it was the right decision. “We heard that a player from the Utah Jazz had tested positive,” Riley said. “But I didn’t think it was going to last that long or turn out to be what it is today for not only the Heat, but for everybody to have to shut it down. Shut the country down, shut the world down and try to fight this thing. So it was pretty innocent that night only from the standpoint that, ‘OK, we can take care of this and then we’ll be back.’ But I think Adam Silver made an incredible move, and that just sort of cascaded into a lot of other decisions by other teams and other sports and industries.”

Heat Notes: Iguodala, Winslow, Robinson

Andre Iguodala hasn’t been with the Heat too long. He was traded to Miami back in February, but during his short time with the team, he has already figured out why the organization has such a good reputation.

“It’s the Heat culture, which is a different type of culture in terms of the connection you have, with not just your teammates but the coaching staff,” Iguodala said (via Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel). “I see why they’ve been so consistent.”

Here’s more from Miami:

  • In the same piece, Iguodala said the team was still figuring out how to play alongside each other when the NBA suspended the season. The former Finals MVP suited up in 14 games for Miami.
  • Grading the Justise Winslow-Iguodala trade will come down to how Winslow performs in Memphis, Winderman opines in his latest mailbag. Winslow has yet to suit up for the Grizzlies.
  • Duncan Robinson was in the midst of a career year before the NBA’s hiatus, as Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. Robinson’s 243 made threes rank third in the league behind James Harden and Buddy Hield.
  • In case you missed it, on Wednesday we passed along word that the Bulls haven’t sought permission to interview Heat executive Shane Battier.

Southeast Notes: Heat, Young, Beal, Hornets

New veteran Heat forwards Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder continue to settle into their new environs, as David Furones of the South Florida Sun Sentinel notes. Iguodala has enjoyed the Heat’s team practice methodology.

“It’s really game-ready type practices,” Iguodala said of working out with the Heat. “I think it’s really going to show in the games once I really get acclimated with everything… It’s really a winning environment and you can see it right away.”

Crowder, too, appreciates the tenor of the Heat’s conduct. “Just the championship mindset,” Crowder relayed about what impressed him during his initial time in Miami. “You always think about the guys playing for it all and I think, being on the outside looking in, that’s what I see.”

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • All-Star Hawks point guard Trae Young has practically doubled his free-throw output from his rookie season, as Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution relays. Young concedes that this is in due in part to growing respect from league referees now that he is no longer a rookie. But it can also be attributed to conscious adjustments in approach from Young. He is now second in the NBA in made free throws per game at 8.0, behind just James Harden‘s 10.5 made free throws per night.
  • Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal has been struggling with inefficient long-rage shooting this season, per the Washington Post’s Candace Buckner. During the worst three-point shooting season of his career to date, Beal has converted fewer than 20% of his long-range tries in 10 games this season. He is connecting on just 31.6% of his three-point attempts overall.
  • Although the Hornets will have $28MM available in salary cap room this summer, general manager Mitch Kupchak intends to spread that money around across a few young free agent candidates, instead of pursuing a single star, per The Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell. “I don’t anticipate us being one of those teams that is in the running for those big free agents,” Kupchak said. The team may trade for a young player or sign a role player still in his prime, like Nets shooting ace Joe Harris.

Heat Notes: Hill, Injuries, Iguodala, Jones, Adebayo

When the Heat made their seven-player deadline trade with Memphis and Minnesota last week, it was clear the team acquired Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder with an eye toward working them into the rotation. However, Solomon Hill‘s outlook was murkier. The veteran forward, who is in the final season of a four-year contract, looked like a potential buyout candidate, but he says he hasn’t approached the club about that possibility and doesn’t intend to, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

“That hasn’t come across in discussions; I definitely want to be here,” Hill said. “This is an amazing place and winning culture. When you talk about winning, this is the definition of winning. To be in an organization like this and guys like this, this is a chance not only to try to force my way into some minutes but learn as much as I can.”

Hill has been active for the Heat’s last three games but hasn’t yet played a single minute for the team. Still, that doesn’t mean he’s not in head coach Erik Spoelstra‘s plans going forward, as Jackson relays.

“We really like him,” Spoelstra said. “I don’t want these last (three) games to be an indication of what his role will be. I’m not going to figure out that role for the foreseeable future. That’s not fair right now for the team. He’s a detailed defender, has size and quickness to guard multiple positions. He really has improved his shooting. Someone who fits with our style of play. He’s on my mind. He’s the next guy in line. He needs to stay ready.”

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Within that same Herald article, Jackson suggested that Tyler Herro (ankle) seems closer to a return than Meyers Leonard (ankle), and noted that Andre Iguodala agreed to his new contract extension without even talking to Spoelstra or Heat president Pat Riley. “I pretty much knew, had a good feel for the team,” Iguodala said. “Playing against them in the playoffs, playing against them in the Eastern Conference and kind of seeing the scope of their organization, you pretty much know what it is.”
  • Besides opening up cap room for the coming summer and improving their 2021 flexibility, the Heat’s trade last week also created a clearer path to locking up Derrick Jones Jr. beyond this season, as Jackson explains in a separate Miami Herald story.
  • ESPN’s Zach Lowe takes a fascinating, in-depth look at Bam Adebayo‘s road to the NBA and to his first All-Star nod. Lowe shares some entertaining stories about Adebayo’s first workouts for NBA teams, the impression he made on Miami leading up to the 2017 draft, and how his hunch that he’d be selected by the Hornets fell by the wayside when Charlotte traded for Dwight Howard two days before the draft.

Southwest Notes: Winslow, Grizzlies, Mavs, Gordon

The Grizzlies faced some criticism for last week’s trade with Miami and Minnesota, which saw them trade away veteran forwards Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder, and Solomon Hill for Justise Winslow, Gorgui Dieng, and Dion Waiters.

The price for acquiring Winslow was taking on a pair of pricey multiyear contracts that – along with a Dillon Brooks extension – eliminated Memphis’ projected cap room for the summer of 2020. However, executive VP of basketball operations Zach Kleiman said today that the team feels Winslow is worth that price, as Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian relays.

Kleiman referred to Winslow as a player who will be a “very strong fit” both on and off the court for the Grizzlies, praising the forward’s work ethic, basketball IQ, and defensive tenacity.

“There were several options that were on the table at the end of the day,” Kleiman said. “… We’re well aware that we leveraged our cap space (for 2020), pulling ourselves out of the free agent market. There’s an opportunity cost to doing so. None of that is lost on us. But to be able to add one player that we believe in as a key piece to fit what we’re building, that was Plan A. That was the deal that we were hoping to get.”

Of course, Winslow’s health is the question mark that looms over the deal, but Kleiman said today that Memphis fully expects the former lottery pick to return to the court this season and is confident his back injury won’t be a long-term issue, per Herrington.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • By insisting on finding a trade for Andre Iguodala instead of simply buying him out, the Grizzlies aimed to send a message to the rest of the NBA that they shouldn’t just be viewed as a “feeder system for the league’s glamour destinations,” writes Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.
  • Despite a little drama leading up to the trade deadline, both Iguodala and the Grizzlies said they were on the same page when it came to having the swingman stay away from the team. Iguodala told Sam Amick of The Athletic that the Grizzlies actually approached him about the idea. “We were in communication with Andre’s camp,” Kleiman said today, per Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian. “The communications were fine and we were on the same page throughout.”
  • David Aldridge of The Athletic shares some Mavericks-related trade deadline leftovers, reporting that the team inquired on Alex Len before the Hawks sent him to Sacramento. Aldridge also says there was “scuttlebutt in the air” that Delon Wright and/or Justin Jackson were available.
  • Rockets guard Eric Gordon is expected to be sidelined with a left shin contusion until after the All-Star break, head coach Mike D’Antoni said today (Twitter link via Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston).

Heat Notes: Iguodala, Williams, Winslow, Olynyk

As Andre Iguodala remained in limbo for months in Memphis, rumors swirled about where he’d eventually land. When he spoke to Iguodala following his trade to Miami, Sam Amick of The Athletic pointed out that teams like the Lakers, Clippers, and Rockets were mentioned more often than the Heat as possible destinations. However, the veteran forward told Amick he was impressed by what he’d seen from the Heat this season.

“I watched them on TV a few times, and they’d been doing so well that they’re on everybody’s radar,” Iguodala said. “Like, ‘Man, these boys can play.’ They’re disciplined, they’re playing the right way, the DNA that’s in the organization, and how they drive the DNA and all the players who come through their system, from seasoned guys to young guys to undrafted guys and all the picks. They’re doing a good job with developing their players.”

A report leading up to the trade deadline suggested that Iguodala may decide to sit out the rest of the season if he wasn’t sent to one of his preferred landing spots, and it wasn’t clear that Miami was on that list. The 36-year-old didn’t confirm one way or the other whether he had to be talked into joining the Heat, but did say that a conversation with team president Pat Riley made him enthusiastic about the move.

“It’s just really getting you excited to play basketball, and getting you excited about what you’re going to do and what you’re bringing to the table,” Iguodala told Amick. “And when someone tells you that this is what you do, and this is what we’ve seen you do historically, and this is what we want you to do for us, it’s like, ‘Man, I can’t wait to do that.’ So that’s always good.”

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • What can Iguodala bring to the Heat? Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald passes along thoughts from Riley, Erik Spoelstra, Kelly Olynyk, Udonis Haslem, and Jimmy Butler on that subject.
  • The Heat were among several teams to inquire on forward Marvin Williams when he was bought out by Charlotte on Friday, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Although Miami missed out on Williams, the team still could be active on the buyout market. Riley said on Friday that the team wouldn’t mind adding a frontcourt player to help with rim protection, if possible.
  • One Heat official told Jackson that Justise Winslow had hoped to have a more prominent role and be one of the faces of the franchise in Miami. Winslow may have more of an opportunity to get that kind of role in Memphis, once he gets healthy.
  • After trading Dion Waiters and James Johnson last week, the Heat can get up to about $27MM in cap room this summer. That number would increase even further if Olynyk declines his $13.2MM player option, as Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. Olynyk hasn’t made that decision yet, suggesting he’ll have to weigh a handful of factors this spring. “I think it’s an accumulation of everything,” he said. “I mean, obviously you want to play. You want to win. You want to get paid. So, yeah, it’s like an accumulation of everything.”

Andre Iguodala Still Elite In Riley’s Mind

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.”