Bam Adebayo

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Adebayo, Gordon

The Hornets are in a precarious position financially considering that franchise owner Michael Jordan has said that he’s unwilling to dip into the luxury tax for anything less than a deep playoff contender. Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer wonders if that could lead to a drastic cap-clearing move.

Charlotte is a shade below the tax line this season, but is already on the hook for about $118MM in 2018/19. That total, Bonnell notes, is for just 11 players. Unlike in years past, the salary cap and luxury tax threshold aren’t expected to rise considerably, so the fact that the Hornets would need to supplement their roster with extra bodies – including a lottery pick on the fixed rookie scale – could put them in a dangerous position.

The Hornets have six players slated to make $12MM or more next season, including Nicolas Batum and his $24MM price tag. While the team has time to find a solution, such conditions could potentially warrant a draconian quick fix, like dealing Jeremy Lamb and his $7.5MM deal for a future second-round pick.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • First-year big man Bam Adebayo has committed to studying game tape and his improvement on the defensive end reflects that, Shandel Richardson of The Sun Sentinel writes. “Bam, for such a young player, is becoming a technician with his discipline and technique and studying players,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He’ll definitely be able to build on that.”
  • It has been a disappointing season for Hornets guard Nicolas Batum and while health has played a significant role in that, there’s no denying that his lofty contract is more palatable when he’s bringing more to the table. As Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes, with head coach Steve Clifford back on the sidelines and a clear commitment to getting the ball in his hands early, the swingman has raised his game.
  • The Magic have had to adjust to life without Aaron Gordon lately. John Denton of the team’s official website writes that the forward has been troubled by a lingering hip flexor injury, forcing the rest of the team to adapt on offense.

Southeast Notes: Dedmon, Fournier, Walton, Adebayo

Hawks center Dewayne Dedmon returned to the active roster on Monday evening against the Clippers, Jeff Siegel of reports. Dedmon missed 19 games with a left tibia stress reaction, which was expected to sideline him 3-6 weeks. Atlanta has been the league’s third-worst defensive club since the Dedmon injury in late November, Siegel notes. Dedmon, who played for the Spurs last season, signed a two-year, $12.3MM deal with the Hawks in July. He holds a player option for next season.

In other news involving the Southeast Division:

  • Magic swingman Evan Fournier shot just 27.5% from the field during the team’s first three games in January and it’s clear he misses injured center Nikola Vucevic, as John Denton of the team’s website explains. Vucevic is Fournier’s best friend on the team and the Euros feed off each other. Vucevic suffered a broken bone in his left hand just before Christmas and is out 6-8 weeks. “Definitely, we have great chemistry and there’s no secret to that,” Fournier told Denton. “No more two-man game with him out.”
  • Heat rookie guard Derrick Walton Jr. has only 14 days of NBA service remaining on his two-way contract, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel notes. That was a factor in the team’s decision to send the University of Michigan product to the G League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce on Sunday despite injuries to two wing players. He has appeared in 12 games with the Heat. If he returns to the Heat and reaches the 45-day limit, he must either spend the rest of the season in the G League, be offered a standard contract or be released.
  • Rookie Bam Adebayo is likely to drop out of the Heat’s rotation due to a logjam in the frontcourt, Winderman opines in his weekly mailbag. Adebayo’s energy is admirable but he’s prone to defensive mistakes, Winderman explains. For a team fighting for a playoff spot, the club is best served by dividing the minutes at power forward and center among veterans Hassan Whiteside, Kelly Olynyk and James Johnson, Winderman adds.

Southeast Notes: Whiteside, Payton, Gordon

Heat center Hassan Whiteside returned from injury this week after missing 13 games with a bone bruise in his left knee. In his absence, the Heat modified their offense a bit to involve their big men in more dribble handoffs and other ball-handling activities, showcasing the skill of players like Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo. And as Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel reports, Whiteside will be called upon to continue this change.

“You’re going to get assists when you handle the ball more,” he said. “It’s just part of the game. (Coach is) putting it into the big’s hands more (and) I love it, man. I can’t wait to get my hands into that. It’s not as much pick-and-roll as much as it was. It’s more handoffs, bigs flashing to the elbows, that sort of stuff.”

And while Whiteside is eager to see how he fits into the new offense, Winderman figures that the adjustment will be gradual as Whiteside’s playing time increases. As head coach Eric Spoelstra explained, “The rhythm, the timing, the cohesiveness, you can’t take it for granted. You actually have to spend time working at it and getting back into the swing of things. It’s one thing to watch it. It’s different when you drill five on five.”

There’s more today from the Southeast Division:

  • Magic guard Elfrid Payton may be playing some of the best basketball of his career, and it’s on the heels of head coach Frank Vogel asking Payton for more production and aggressiveness in the wake of a rash of injuries to the Magic roster, reports John Denton of Payton has averaged 19.2 points, 7.5 assists and 5.3 rebounds a game on 59.5 percent shooting since he was approached by Vogel.
  • As we discussed yesterday, Magic rookie Jonathan Isaac is out indefinitely while he recovers from injury. In another piece for, Denton explains how Isaac is being patient and waiting for his ankle to completely heal. Said Isaac, “Just take my time, day-by-day. It’s tough (being out). It takes time and trying to come back when it’s not completely there (physically) is tough, so I just have to be patient and take it day-by-day.’’
  • In yet another story for, Denton also profiles how Aaron Gordon is beginning to embrace pressure packed moments. Gordon, only 22, has already made two game-winning three pointers for the Magic this season.

Heat Rumors: Waiters, Johnson, Adebayo

Heat shooting guard Dion Waiters may have offseason surgery to correct his lingering left ankle issues, according to an Associated Press report. Waiters missed the final 13 games of last season due to an ankle sprain and the injury never fully healed, the AP story continues. He’s missed the last two games after re-injuring the ankle and there’s no timetable for his return. “It’s something I don’t like to talk about because there’s nothing we really can do right now but try to take care of it, get it stronger, things like that,” Waiters told the assembled media. “I don’t want to be in this predicament where it’s a little tweak, you’ve got to miss a decent amount just off a little tweak.” However, Waiters does not want to have surgery during the season, the report adds.

In other developments regarding the Heat:

  • Tyler Johnson has provided a spark with both Waiters and starting point guard Goran Dragic sidelined by injuries, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel notes. The combo guard has scored 17 or more points in three games since being moved into the starting lineup. “When Tyler’s at his best version of himself, you just see a bundle of energy and toughness and winning plays,” coach Erik Spoelstra told Winderman and other media members. “It doesn’t matter necessarily how many points he scored. … His confidence is growing every single game, and you can see it. You can see it before your eyes. You can see it happening.”
  • Hassan Whiteside has returned after missing 13 games with a knee injury but rookie Bam Adebayo deserves to stay in the rotation, Winderman opines in a mailbag post. The Heat must acknowledge that Whiteside, Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk are three of their best players and Spoelstra should be able to figure out a way to utilize all of those big men, Winderman adds.
  • The club is in a much better position than last season, as Winderman points out that the Heat entered the Christmas break a year ago 11 games below .500. “I still think there’s some really good things going on with our team, despite the injuries, despite some of the adversity we’re going through,” Spoelstra said. “I like the direction we’re going.”

Heat Notes: Adebayo, Injuries, Dragic

The Heat have been impressed with how quickly rookie big man Bam Adebayo is able to learn and improve, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes.

He’s a computer,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said, “So every single game he’s putting it, every experience, into that computer and he’s learning at such a rapid pace.”

The rookie out of Kentucky has been a solid replacement for injured star Hassan Whiteside, who has missed the last 13 games with a knee injury. During that span, Adebayo has posted 9.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest in just under 25 minutes of action.

Of course Adebayo’s ability to learn on the fly is just one of the many appealing characteristics of the 14th-overall draft pick, the 20-year-old’s athleticism is still a sight to behold.

There’s more from the Heat this evening:

  • The 16-15 Heat are confident that they can build a winner without a traditional star, Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports writes. “That’s our belief,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I like living in a world where there are only possibilities, not absolutes. In any fields, there can be a thinking that, ‘This is the only way to get it done.’ There are a lot of ways to get to the top. However unrealistic it may seem to people on the outside, those are the kind of challenges that we like.
  • The Heat have been besieged by injuries so far this season and will need to get a handle on them if they hope to truly reach their peak, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel opines. The team is above .500 but a laundry list of injured players continues to haunt them.
  • Although he returned from a three-game absence on Saturday, Goran Dragic‘s elbow injury continues to plague him, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. “I talked to the doc and the pain is there. It is what it is,” Dragic said. “It’s not the first time I’m playing through the pain. I’m going to try to be there for my teammates and try to do what I can and that’s it, end of story — try to do treatments and be professional.


Heat Notes: Waiters, Whiteside, Adebayo

The Heat haven’t publicly expressed an interest in bringing Dion Waiters off the bench but that hasn’t deterred the 26-year-old from advocating for his role as a starter anyway. Tom D’Angelo of the Palm Beach Post writes that Waiters views himself as a starter in the NBA.

I’m a starter in this league, man, that’s who I am. We’re going to nip that in the bud right now. I’m not coming off no bench,” the guard said.

Waiters argues that he’s never enjoyed a reserve role and only reluctantly accepted it during previous stops in his career. Over the course of his six-year-career, Waiters has started nearly half of his games in the NBA.

There’s more out of Miami this morning:

  • The Heat are in a holding pattern with Hassan Whiteside‘s knee injury, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel reports. “There is no time table, let’s make no assumptions about that,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He’s doing a lot better. He’s been working out two, sometimes three times a day.”
  • A lingering tendon injury in his shooting elbow continues to plague Dion Waiters. As a result, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes, he’ll experiment with a shooting sleeve for the first time in his career.
  • The Heat like what they see in Bam Adebayo but aren’t about to hastily ship Hassan Whiteside out of town to facilitate his long-term development. Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel discusses the two big men in a question-and-answer feature with readers.

Heat Notes: Waiters, Adebayo, Winslow, Roster, Deadline

Dion Waiters has shown improvements to his game but Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra wants to see his guard take further steps to improve his all-around game, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel writes.

“I really like the progress he’s making,” Spoelstra said of Waiters. “I know his shooting numbers aren’t showing it right now, not necessarily his turnovers. I think those will come down. I think his shooting percentage will come up because he’s starting to understand different reads, different coverages, the responsibility of having to make plays for our basketball team.”

Waiters, 25, is enjoying another solid season in Miami after he enjoyed a breakout campaign last season. Waiters signed a four-year, $52MM deal to remain with the Heat. While the improvements are noticeable, Spoelstra added that Waiters needs to maintain his focus throughout each game and not lose focus.

“Now, the other side of that is helping him improve all the other 45 minutes of the game offensively, which he is coming a long way,” Spoelstra said.

Below you can read more news out of the Miami Heat organization:

  • In his Ask Ira column, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel addressed the Heat’s decision to start both Bam Adebayo and Justise Winslow. While neither man is a scoring threat, Spoelstra prefers to replace injured players with “someone who least impacts the overall rotation.” Thus, it allows the Heat to start with one lineup and gradually mix in other players throughout the game.
  • In another installment of Ask Ira, Winderman breaks down the Heat roster and examines why it has been difficult for the team to achieve consistency.
  • December 15 will be the first day teams can trade players who were signed during this past offseason. While the Heat have not made a December trade in their 30+ years of existence, Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel breaks down the likelihood of Miami swinging a deal and which players could be on the trading block.

Heat Notes: Whiteside, McGruder, Adebayo, Winslow

Heat center Hassan Whiteside returned to action tonight after missing five games with a bone bruise on his left knee. Although Whiteside’s absence has been part of the reason for a disappointing 2-4 start, there are other factors, explains Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

Those include a defense that has slipped from fifth in points allowed last season to 23rd so far this year and 3-point shooting that ranks 27th in the league. Miami is also reeling from the loss of Rodney McGruder, who will miss three to six months after undergoing surgery for a left tibia stress fracture. “He’s always in the right spot, he’s always getting those 50/50 balls, even if it’s 70 against 30,” Goran Dragic said of the second-year shooting guard. “We don’t know how but he’s going to get that ball. Those are game changers.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • The Heat held a team meeting Sunday to let players discuss the reasons for the slow start, Jackson writes in the same story. Tyler Johnson said coach Erik Spoelstra opened the meeting, followed by the team captains, then other players. “Sometimes I forget what got me here is undeniable energy and hunger,” Johnson said. “Nobody can keep me from being able to do my job. Whoever is matched up in front of me, I didn’t care who they were, if they were an all-star. That Rodney McGruder type attitude. We definitely do need to get back to that.”
  • After posting his first double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds against the Timberwolves, rookie Bam Adebayo credited his time at Kentucky for helping him get ready for the NBA, Jackson adds. Adebayo said Wildcats coach John Calipari teaches players to put the organization above their own goals. “If you sacrifice for the better of the team, that means you care about the team more than yourself,” Adebayo said. “Kentucky is a blueprint for the NBA.”
  • Justise Winslow has relied on speed more than bulk while making the move to power forward, relays Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The third-year player, who was limited to 18 games last season by wrist and shoulder problems, has dropped 10 pounds and embraced his new duties. “I think he’s quick, he’s faster, he’s able to get to the ball quicker,” Spoelstra said. “So much of having 12 rebounds in a game is quickness to the ball. And he’s got a knack to the ball, but now he can really get to it quickly.”

Heat Notes: Winslow, Olynyk, Adebayo, Wade

For a team that brought back nearly all its key players over the offseason, the Heat head into training camp with a lot of unanswered questions. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald examines position battles and several other topics in his latest column:

  • The starting small forward position will be wide open when camp begins Tuesday, with Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson and Rodney McGruder all having a shot at it. The Heat exercised their fourth-year option on Winslow this week as the former first-rounder tries to battle back from a shoulder injury that limited him to 18 games last season. Miami was only 3-12 when he started last year and he wasn’t part of the team’s surge after the All-Star break. Richardson, who received a four-year extension this week, came into the league as a guard, but played 80% of his minutes last season at forward.
  • James Johnson is the favorite to start at power forward, but free agent addition Kelly Olynyk will be an intriguing addition because of his outside shooting. Olynyk shoots .368 from 3-point range for his career, compared to .296 for Johnson, although he raised that number to 34% last season. Olynyk, who was used mainly in a reserve role in Boston, will see plenty of minutes in Miami whether he starts or not.
  • Johnson, Olynyk and Hassan Whiteside will take up most of the center/power forward opportunities, leaving little for first-round pick Bam Adebayo, whom the Heat believe has a bright future. Winslow may also be utilized as a stretch four in small-ball lineups, so Adebayo will need a strong showing in camp to earn playing time.
  • Okaro White and Jordan Mickey are likely to make the roster, with A.J. Hammons holding a slight edge for the 15th spot. However, the Heat have concerns about Hammons’ work ethic and he will be challenged by shooting guard Matt Williams. Former Michigan point guard Derrick Walton has been impressive over the summer, but he has a two-way contract and can’t spend more than 45 days in the NBA.
  • The front office isn’t unanimous in wanting Dwyane Wade back if he agrees to a buyout with the Bulls. There are concerns about his defense at age 35, and the Heat already have five guards who can make a case for playing time.

Heat Notes: Adebayo, Jersey Sponsor, Dragic

Don’t expect the Heat to shy away from utilizing Bam Adebayo in Year 1, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes.  Adebayo has already established himself as a defensive force and has even surprised team execs with his offensive range.

He can defend fours [power forwards] and fives [centers] at this point. For a man that has a great body, he has good feet and that’s so crucial defending the ball,” Miami’s vice president of player personnel Chet Kammerer said.

It’s within reason, Jackson writes, that Adebayo could step up as the primary backup to Heat center Hassan Whiteside.

Jackson also relays a story that Adebayo surprised the team during his pre-draft interview when he suggested that he had three-point range. The squad, per Kammerer, later gave him a chance to prove it and were impressed with the results.

There’s more from Miami:

  • The Heat have agreed to a jersey sponsorship deal with Ultimate Software, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel writes. Ultimate Software is the “official human resources/payroll provider” of the franchise.
  • The Heat will approach the luxury tax mark in 2018/19, even with Chris Bosh‘s contract coming off of the books, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. Jackson breaks down the options Miami had heading into the summer and why they chose the path that they did.
  • Slovenia’s success at EuroBasket 2017 has further validated the trade that brought Goran Dragic to the Heat, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel writes, at least in the eyes of team president Pat Riley. “I’m proud that we have him. And he’s right now the player that I think Erik Spoelstra relies on as much as some of the other guys or maybe even more so in how he wants to play,” Riley said.