Andy Elisburg

Pat Riley On Trade Rumors: “We’re Not Actively Pursuing Anything”

Heat president Pat Riley spoke today in front of fans and media personnel, answering questions about the team’s reported pursuit of Jimmy Butler, his decision to address the players, and where the team currently stands from a competitive viewpoint. Riley made his comments at an event created to help renovate the homes of two veterans, with the longtime Heat executive being joined by Glen Rice, Alonzo Mourning, and others.

“I’m not looking, I’m listening and [general manager Andy Elisburg] and I are … we’ve been doing this all the time,” Riley said, according to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. “We’re not actively pursuing anything, we’re listening. But you have to be part of what’s going on in the conversation in the NBA, and there’s a lot of hypotheticals from that standpoint.”

Riley also added that he “never called anybody with an offer, but there’s always conversations — probably more Andy than myself because he loves to talk. So he has a brethren out there, and his brethren are great. He’s got 29, 30 GMs that they all like to talk, and so they need to talk to one another. You listen, and I think that’s how things happen is you just sort of listen.”

The Heat nearly reached agreement on a Butler trade with the Timberwolves last month, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, but the deal fell apart shortly before completion. With rumors swirling and players’ names surfacing in reports, Riley made the decision to pull the plug for the time being. He made his plans known to Heat players and assured them they would remain with the team.

“I think it was important. It was about time,” Riley said when asked why he addressed the team. “I let it go for about two weeks, but it was all over the board and when things get out publicly like that, I think your players and names start to hit, you’ve got to talk to them. I always talk to the agents first, but I thought at that time it was best just to sort of, ‘Let’s get the season started. We’re not going to do anything. We shut the thing down, and this is where we are with it.’”

The Heat have started the 2018/19 season with a 5-5 record, and could revisit the Butler talks down the road. For the time being, however, it certainly appears the team isn’t pursuing a trade for Butler or any other player.

Latest On Chris Bosh

Heat forward Chris Bosh missed his 41st consecutive game over the weekend, triggering an insurance policy that now covers more than half of his salary, reports Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel.

Bosh has been sidelined since the 2016 All-Star Break with blood clot concerns. He had hoped to rejoin the team in training camp, but a failed physical left his career in limbo.

Under Bosh’s contract, the Heat paid $9.5MM of his nearly $24MM salary for this season up front. The organization will continue to issue paychecks, but it can recoup the money from the insurance company. Cap experts Bobby Marks of The Vertical and Albert Nahmad of the HeatHoops blog have determined that Miami can get back about $41MM of the $76MM left on Bosh’s contract through insurance.

“It doesn’t take over,” explained GM Andy Elisburg. “You’re allowed to then file for insurance. You’re still responsible for paying the salary. It isn’t something that’s the assumption of the salary. But you now have the opportunity to make an insurance claim, and it’s a per-game basis.”

The Heat are expected to eventually petition the league for a medical exclusion, which they are eligible to do on February 9th, the one-year anniversary of Bosh’s last game. That would wipe the final two seasons of Bosh’s contract — totaling more than $52MM — off the team’s cap.

Bosh, who is currently vacationing in Southeast Asia, is hoping to catch on with another team once his situation with the Heat is resolved. He continues to occupy a roster spot and is being listed as inactive for each game.

Heat Pick Up Option On Justise Winslow

OCTOBER 17, 8:37am: The move is official, as Bobby Marks of The Vertical tweets. Winslow becomes the first player to have his 2017/18 team option formally exercised, though plenty will follow in the next two weeks.

OCTOBER 16, 6:44pm: The Heat will pick up the third-year rookie-scale option on Justise Winslow, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The long-expected move will guarantee Winslow a $2.7MM salary for 2017/18.

Miami has an October 31st deadline to pick up the option, but GM Andy Elisburg confirmed that the decision has already been made. The Heat just have to prepare an official “exercise letter” and send it to Winslow’s agent.

Winslow made an impression with a strong rookie year after dropping to No. 10 in the 2015 draft. He quickly earned a spot in the Heat’s rotation and averaged 6.4 points and 5.2 rebounds in 78 games. With the departure of Luol Deng in free agency, Winslow will move into a starting role. He is the only Miami player to start the team’s first five preseason games.

Winslow said he expected to have his option picked up and he is learning all he can about how the NBA handles contracts.

“This is a business,” he said. “You’ve got to know every aspect of it. Of course, I felt 99 percent sure that they would pick it up, but it’s something that you’ve still got to be aware of. If not for yourself, you’ve got to tell other rookies coming down the line. Because this is a brotherhood. You want to look out for everybody.”

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is happy with Winslow’s progress so far and sees much brighter things in his future.

“He does what he’s always done, and that’s make winning plays,” Spoelstra said. “He is one of those unique players.”

Miami now has five players with guaranteed contracts for 2017/18, including Chris Bosh, whose salary could be removed from the team’s cap if he is not medically cleared to return after repeated issues with blood clots. The others are Hassan Whiteside, Tyler Johnson and Goran Dragic.

Latest On Kevin Durant

9:59pm: The Heat are still alive in the race for Durant, according to a tweet from InsideHoops.com. A source says the theory that Durant is deciding between the Thunder and Warriors is untrue.

8:43pm: Durant was impressed by the Celtics’ presentation on Saturday and is still “seriously considering” signing with Boston, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.

7:55pm: Durant is not expected to make an announcement before Monday, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today. The final decision will come down to the Thunder and Warriors, according to Royce Young of ESPN.com (Twitter link). A source close to the Warriors told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that Golden State pitched “culture, dynasty, style of play” to Durant, but the source wouldn’t be surprised if he stays in Oklahoma City (Twitter link).

3:25pm: Durant spoke over the phone with Warriors executive Jerry West yesterday, Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News tweets. A source told Kawakami that Durant likes the Warriors, but is unsure about leaving the Thunder (Twitter link). Nevertheless, Durant is strongly considering the Warriors and his decision will be released on the Players’ Tribune, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders tweets.

9:05am: Kevin Durant plans to make a decision tonight or Monday, but that’s the only certainty as he prepares to meet his fifth and final suitor, writes Chris Broussard of ESPN.com. Heat representatives will get the last chance to woo Durant this afternoon, following the Celtics and Spurs, who met with him Saturday, and the Warriors and Clippers, who had meetings Friday. The Thunder have requested a final session with Durant, but he and his representatives have not decided whether to grant that.

Officials from the four teams that have talked with Durant so far haven’t been able to determine whether he is leaning toward any of them, Broussard reports. He speculates that the Clippers may have taken themselves out of the running Saturday night by using a big chunk of their cap space on the three-year, $35MM deal they gave to Austin Rivers.

The Celtics may have improved their bargaining position with Saturday’s commitment by Al Horford, according to Broussard. Durant’s agent, Rich Kleiman, had been trying to convince Horford to join Durant in Oklahoma City, and there may be incentive now to team them up in Boston. However, a source told Broussard that while the Horford addition may enter into Durant’s decision, it won’t be a major factor.

Miami will send owner Micky Arison, chief exective officer Nick Arison, team president Pat Riley, coach Erik Spoelstra, GM Andy Elisburg and executive Alonzo Mourning into today’s session with Durant, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Meeting Durant so close to his deadline puts the Heat in a difficult position, tweets Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel, who says Riley’s main goal may be to dissuade Durant from choosing the Celtics.

Jackson says the Heat consider themselves an underdog for Durant, but they have several strategies to take on his $26.5MM first-year salary if he does choose Miami. The easiest would be to trade Goran Dragic and Josh McRoberts without taking salary back, start Hassan Whiteside‘s contract at $20MM rather than $22MM and try to convince Dwyane Wade to accept the approximately $16MM still left.

Durant reportedly flew to Boston on Friday to visit the city, then made a return flight with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, according to a report from CSNNE. The Celtics were happy with the active role that Brady played in the Durant presentation, writes Rob Bradford of WEEI. Brady joined the Celtics’ contingent along with co-owner Steve Pagliuca, president Danny Ainge and players Marcus Smart and Kelly Olynyk.

Andy Elisburg Promoted To Heat GM

The Heat have reshuffled their front office and coaching personnel. On the heel of news announcing the move of Juwan Howard from player to assistant coach, now the Heat are declaring a new general manager to assist team President Pat Riley

Here is what the Heat said in their press release:

The Miami Heat announced today several front office promotions, including Andy Elisburg to Senior Vice President, Basketball Operations/General Manager, Adam Simon to Assistant General Manager/General Manager Sioux Falls Skyforce, Dan Craig to Assistant Coach/Player Development, Chad Kammerer to Director of NBA Scouting/Advance Scout, Keith Askins to Director of College and Pro Scouting and the hiring of Juwan Howard to Assistant Coach/Player Development.

Elisburg, a Heat original employee of 25 years, will serve as Senior Vice President, Basketball Operations/General Manager. His duties will include assisting CEO Nick Arison and President Pat Riley in the management of all aspects of the Heat's basketball organization including salary cap administration, talent acquisition, league compliance and the day-to-day business of basketball operations.

[…]

Additionally, the HEAT also named Rich Fernando to Executive Assistant to the Coaches, Eric Glass to Video Coordinator and Tim Hardaway to Scout/Community & Corporate Liaison.

Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, sent a tweet of the promotion earlier today where he noted that Pat Riley will remain the lead personnel executive despite the promotion. Winderman pointed out in his piece for the Sun-Sentinel that Elisburg's promotion makes him the first person to hold the title of Heat general manager since Randy Pfund in September of 2008.

ESPN basketball scribe Brian Windhorst adds in a tweet that Elisburg is known for his salary cap strategies. With the CBA luxury tax strictures already costing the Heat the 3-point shooting of Mike Miller – who was amnestied earlier this summer – Elisburg should be instrumental in keeping the Heat competing for more championships within the strict luxury tax parameters of the CBA.

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