Bam Adebayo

Central Notes: Duren, Bagley III, Beverley, Dosunmu

The Pistons faced the Heat on Sunday and it gave Jalen Duren an up-close lesson on how counterpart Bam Adebayo plays. The Pistons would like to see Duren emulates Adebayo’s approach, according to Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press.

“I was watching Bam even before I was in the league,” the Pistons’ rookie center said. “One of the guys I pay attention to, being a big guy who does a lot. You can talk about the skill factor, but I look at it from the standpoint of just affecting the game in more ways than one. Some guys just affect the game scoring, some guys affect it on the defensive end, which isn’t bad. But I feel like Bam is a guy who affects it all around in just terms of his hustle, his IQ, his defensive mindset, he can score it, his ability to connect the floor. That’s what I try to be.”

Duren left Sunday’s game with a head injury after a collision with Miami’s Kevin Love, Keith Langlois of tweets.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Pistons forward Marvin Bagley III was not only back in action on Sunday, he was in the starting lineup, Langlois tweets. Bagley missed the previous three games with right ankle soreness. He scored 14 points.
  • Guard Patrick Beverley is averaging 6.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists since signing with the Bulls as a free agent. His impact has been far greater than his numbers, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago writes. “I just love his presence, his competitiveness,” coach Billy Donovan said. “The way he comes in on a back-to-back telling guys, ‘We got to be ready to play.’ I love his message and disposition and the way he is every day. He has a great motor, great enthusiasm, loves the game and loves competing. I love being around him.”
  • Ayo Dosunmu needs to get his confidence back on the offensive end, Donovan told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. With Beverley cutting into his playing time, Dosunmu has averaged just 5.1 points and 1.5 assists in 17.6 minutes per game this month. Dosunmu’s three-point percentage has dropped from 37.6 percent during his rookie campaign to 31.5 percent this season. “Ayo has always been really competitive defensively,” Donovan said. “His defense has gotten better from a year ago, but clearly his offense, he’s trying to figure some of those things out. I just think he has to go through it. He’s got to find himself out to the other side.’’

Heat Notes: Martin, Zeller, Love, Haslem

Caleb Martin provided 21 points in 28 minutes off the bench in the Heat‘s victory over Atlanta on Monday. Martin has been a solid contributor all season and his teammates appreciate his hard work, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

“Caleb has been probably the bright spot on our team,” center Bam Adebayo said. “Through the ups and downs, he’s always been consistent. And he’s one of those guys that you can always rely on. He’s going to play hard. He’s going to try to make the right plays.”

Martin is in the first year of a three-year, $20.4MM contract that includes a player option in 2024/25.

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  • Cody Zeller has played seven games since joining the Heat as the backup center last month. Zeller, who was out of the league until Miami picked him up, feels comfortable playing limited minutes, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. “I’m still feeling a little rusty with some of my reads and stuff. But overall, I’ve been pretty pleased with where I’m at. I’m still only playing 15 minutes per game. It’s shorter minutes, so I should be able to play even harder. So yeah, it’s been good so far.”
  • Kevin Love missed Monday’s game with a rib contusion but X-rays were negative, Chiang tweets. It’s not considered to be a long-term issue. Love is averaging 7.5 points and 7.3 rebounds in six starts since signing with the club.
  • The team has planned a variety of tributes for forward Udonis Haslem, who is retiring after the season. Haslem told Chiang he hopes the Heat can make another playoff run but he won’t have any regrets, regardless of how the season plays out. “I’m done,” Haslem said. “I’m done no matter what happens. I gave my contribution. I think at this stage, there needs to be another voice for these guys. It’s time for somebody to step up and be the voice.”

Heat Notes: Love, Zeller, Tax, Adebayo

As expected, veteran center Cody Zeller received a minimum salary when he signed a rest-of-season contract with the Heat on Monday, tweets Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Miami’s other Monday addition, however, received a deal worth more than the minimum.

When the Heat signed forward Kevin Love, they gave him what was left of their bi-annual exception, according to Chiang (Twitter link). The team hadn’t used any of its $4.1MM bi-annual exception so far in 2022/23, but the exception’s value has been declining daily since January 10, so it had dropped to about $3.1MM by the time Love signed.

That $3.1MM more than makes up for the money Love gave up in his buyout agreement with the Cavaliers, which was $1.5MM, per Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link).

Interestingly, the Heat also had about $3MM left on their mid-level exception, but chose to preserve that exception and use the bi-annual instead. That means they won’t be able to use the BAE in 2023/24, since it can only be used once every other season. However, Miami projects to be a taxpayer next year, and the BAE isn’t available to teams over the tax apron, which is likely why the team was comfortable using it now.

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  • Although they expect to be in the tax next season, the Heat made it a priority to avoid the tax this year to avoid starting the clock on the repeater penalties, according to Chiang, who notes that team salary is about $1.2MM below the tax line following the additions of Love and Zeller.
  • An NBA scout who spoke to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel doesn’t expect Love or Zeller to be a difference-maker for the Heat, but likes the veteran depth they’ll provide the team. “Neither guy might be any good. Or both of them might be good,” the scout said. “I think they were smart moves on their part. On paper, they plug up areas of need.”
  • In another story for The Miami Herald, Chiang explores Bam Adebayo‘s growth as a team leader, noting that Udonis Haslem has said the All-Star big man’s vocal leadership is “getting more and more organic, and he’s getting comfortable doing it.” Haslem has long been the veteran voice in the Heat’s locker room, but wants to ultimately pass that torch to a franchise cornerstone like Adebayo. “The more he does that, the less I have to do and that’s the goal,” Haslem said. “To get him into that leadership role and to be able to lead with his words, but also by example and even lift the level of play of everybody around you, which he has the ability to do. That’s just a powerful thing.”

Doncic, Irving To Start For Team LeBron

Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving are not only Mavericks teammates, they’re also starting together for Team LeBron at the All-Star Game Sunday in Salt Lake City.

LeBron James selected his former Cleveland teammate Irving and Doncic, the league’s leading scorer, during the first captain’s draft conducted on the same night as the All-Star Game. Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid will start up front for Team LeBron. The reserves for LeBron’s team include Anthony Edwards, Jaylen Brown, Paul George, Tyrese Haliburton, Julius Randle, De’Aaron Fox and Jaren Jackson Jr.

Donovan Mitchell and one of the players he was traded for, Lauri Markkanen, will start for Team Giannis. Ja Morant and Jayson Tatum round out the starting lineup. Damian Lillard, Jrue Holiday, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, DeMar DeRozan, Pascal Siakam, Bam Adebayo and Domantas Sabonis will be the reserves for Team Giannis.

Heat Notes: Love, Adebayo, Westbrook, Yurtseven, O. Robinson

Heat players are excited about the prospect of adding Kevin Love to their current roster, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Miami is considered to be the frontrunner to sign the veteran big man once he clears waivers, with a source telling Chiang that Love is intrigued by the possibility of regular playing time and the chance to team up with veteran stars Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler.

Adebayo and Tyler Herro both received questions about Love on Saturday during All-Star Weekend media sessions. In addition to the talent upgrade, they pointed out that Love would bring plenty of postseason experience.

“Anytime we can get somebody the caliber of Kevin Love, he’s played in so many big games, so many big playoff runs and he’s experienced,” Herro said. “He’s been there before. Getting a guy like that, we’ve seen what we can do if we add veteran players like that midway through the season. Usually that leads to good runs and long playoff runs for us as a team.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Adebayo is in the second season of a five-year extension, and team president Pat Riley hopes to keep in him Miami long after that contract expires, Chiang notes in a separate story. Riley sees the 25-year-old center as a franchise cornerstone and a candidate to spend his entire career with the Heat. “It’s been a blessing to have him,” Riley said. “I go back to (Alonzo Mourning) and ‘Zo was a franchise face and then Dwyane (Wade) along with Udonis (Haslem), and now I look at Bam the same way because of longevity. I see Bam here, I hope, for his whole career.”
  • Miami is considered a potential destination for Russell Westbrook if he pursues a buyout with the Jazz, but the feedback Heat officials have gotten while investigating Westbrook has been “mixed” at best, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Jackson hears that the team expects Kyle Lowry to be productive once he returns from his knee issues, so adding a big man is a greater priority than finding a point guard.
  • The Heat are facing a decision between Omer Yurtseven and Orlando Robinson, not only for backup center minutes for the rest of the season, but probably in offseason contract talks as well, per Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Yurtseven, who is still awaiting his season debut after undergoing ankle surgery in November, has an expiring contract and can be made a restricted free agent with a $2.2MM qualifying offer. Robinson can only be active for four more games on his two-way contract and would have to be converted to a standard deal to play beyond that.

2023 NBA All-Star Reserves Announced

The league has announced its 2023 All-Star reserves during a pregame broadcast on TNT, as voted on by NBA head coaches. As usual, the list of 14 selections featured some interesting surprises.

For the Eastern Conference, coaches voted in Sixers center Joel Embiid (the reigning Player of the Month in the East), Heat center Bam Adebayo, Bulls wing DeMar DeRozan, Celtics wing Jaylen Brown, Bucks guard Jrue Holiday, Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton, and Knicks forward Julius Randle.

Holiday, who is making his second overall All-star appearance this year, last earned an All-Star nod a decade ago while playing for Philadelphia.

Randle will receive a $1.2MM salary bonus as a result of being named an All-Star this season, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link). Marks adds (via Twitter) that Holiday will get a $324K bonus. And as long as he appears in at least 65 contests this year, Brown will earn a $1.55MM bonus after having qualified for the All-Star game, Marks tweets.

Among the most notable omissions in the East were a handful of point guards: the Knicks’ Jalen Brunson, the Hawks’ Trae Young, the Cavaliers’ Darius Garland, and the Sixers’ James Harden. Miami swingman Jimmy Butler also missed out. Young, Harden and Butler all made the cut last season.

In the Western Conference, Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant, Kings center Domantas Sabonis, Thunder point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Clippers forward Paul George, Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard, Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen, and Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr. were selected as reserves.

Being named to the All-Star team again this year will earn Sabonis a $1.3MM bonus, per Marks (Twitter link).

Lakers center Anthony Davis, Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox, Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards, Suns guard Devin Booker, and Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon were among the Western Conference snubs.

Gilgeous-Alexander, Markkanen and Jackson are the lone first-time All-Stars among these 14 picks.

All-Star weekend tips off on February 17 in Salt Lake City. Los Angeles power forward LeBron James and Milwaukee power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, the captains of their respective conferences, will draft their teams ahead of the 2023 All-Star Game on Sunday, February 19.

Heat Notes: Dedmon, Robinson, Herro, Adebayo

With Orlando Robinson sidelined due to a fractured thumb and Omer Yurtseven not yet ready to return from ankle surgery, the Heat will have to figure out how they’ll handle their backup center minutes for the seven games before the All-Star break, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

Inserting Dewayne Dedmon into Robinson’s role would perhaps be the simplest option, but the veteran big man hasn’t seen any action since being suspended for a game without pay last month, and Jackson hears from a source that the Heat is looking to trade him. If they move Dedmon before next Thursday’s deadline, the Heat could perhaps get another center back in that deal — otherwise, the team could turn to veteran Udonis Haslem for a few games before the All-Star break.

For his part, Dedmon said he hasn’t heard from the club whether he’ll be reinserted into the rotation or whether he’ll be traded, and is just taking things day-by-day for now.

“It’s the business of basketball,” Dedmon said, per Jackson. “Just like you show up to work, I show up to work every day. Whatever the team decides to do in the future, or whatever may happen, you roll with the punches. I’m going to be professional about what I have to do do with my approach to every game and make sure I’m prepared if my team needs me.”

Robinson, meanwhile, told reporters on Thursday that he’s hoping his recovery timeline following his thumb fracture doesn’t have to be measured in weeks, suggesting he’s hoping for a speedy return (Twitter link via Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel).

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • While the Heat will almost certainly stay out of luxury tax territory this season, next season’s payroll will likely blow past the tax line if the team intends to retain free agents like Max Strus, Victor Oladipo, and Gabe Vincent, Jackson writes in another story for The Miami Herald. Jackson would be surprised if ownership signed off on a huge tax bill for the current version of the team and suspects that something will have to give, which could affect how the front office approaches next week’s trade deadline. Moving off Kyle Lowry or Duncan Robinson now or in the summer would put the Heat in a better financial position, Jackson observes.
  • Heat guard Tyler Herro said this week that he never sought clarity from the Heat on whether the team included him in any trade offers for Donovan Mitchell during the 2022 offseason, according to Jackson. “I was curious; I didn’t ask,” Herro said. “I’m sure I was.”
  • Within the same Miami Herald story, head coach Erik Spoelstra expressed confidence that both Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler will be among the seven players voted by coaches as Eastern Conference All-Star reserves. “I think they’ll both make it,” Spoelstra said. “The coaches vote on that, and I think they’re recognized, both those guys, how much they impact winning.” The All-Star reserves will be revealed on TNT on Thursday night.
  • Addressing the possibility of trying to recruit players to Miami in the future, Adebayo said he has mixed feeling about the issue — he would be willing to to it for the “greater good” of the team, but would feel uncomfortable asking Heat management to bring in a friend for the sake of it, per Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. “It would be if it results in winning, and not, ‘Oh, we just want to be on a team just so we can play together,'” Adebayo said.

Heat Notes: Adebayo, Highsmith, Strus, Butler

Bam Adebayo is a long shot to start the All-Star Game, but the Heat center is confident that he belongs there, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Adebayo was outside the top 10 among Eastern Conference frontcourt players in the latest round of fan voting, which accounts for 50% of the final total. Coaches will choose the seven reserves in each conference, with the selections being announced February 2.

Adebayo has a strong case for All-Star consideration, averaging career highs with 21.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game while anchoring Miami’s defense. He dismisses the results from the fans, but believes the coaches understand how good he is.

“I’m going to be (upset) about if they tell me somebody else has played better than me this year considering I’m leading the NBA in paint points and I’m one of the reasons why we’re winning,” Adebayo said. “So for me, it’s just that fan voting is fan voting. I’ll let that be. But when it comes to coaches voting, that’s when I feel like I deserve to be in it.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Haywood Highsmith earned extended minutes with his performance in Tuesday’s win over the Celtics, Chiang states in a separate story. The third-year small forward has excelled with Jimmy Butler battling injuries, and he put up 15 points and 10 rebounds off the bench against Boston. “H played so well, I just couldn’t take him out of the game,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Those are the kind of things that you want from a head coaching standpoint. Make us play you because you’re playing so hard and you’re making so many things happen.”
  • The Heat weren’t expecting to use Max Strus as a starter this season, but injuries have forced him into that role, Chiang adds. Strus has started 25 of the 47 games he has played, including Tuesday night when Butler was a late scratch. “You could look at it either positively or negatively,” Spoelstra said. “That’s why I tell him, ‘Isn’t this what you’ve always wanted? To come in there and play a big role whether you’re coming off the bench or starting. What else could you want?’ I think that’s great to be able to plug and play in a lot of different roles.”
  • The lower back tightness that prevented Butler from playing against the Celtics occurred during pre-game warmups, tweets Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel.

Heat Notes: Trade Targets, Crowder, Collins, Lowry, Oladipo

The Heat are very active on the trade market, Sean Deveney of reports. An obvious area to upgrade would be power forward, with the Hawks’ John Collins a potential target. However, there’s concern within the organization that Collins may not be a great fit alongside Bam Adebayo due to his perimeter shooting issues.

The Suns rejected an offer of Duncan Robinson for Jae Crowder, but Caleb Martin could be substituted for Robinson with center Dewayne Dedmon tossed in to make the salaries work and keep Miami under the luxury tax, Deveney adds.

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  • There are plenty of other potential trade options for a power forward but the Heat may have to include an asset or two they don’t want to give up, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes. They’d certainly be willing to move Robinson’s contract and Dedmon. They may also have to add Martin or Nikola Jovic into the package, as well one or two protected first-round picks, to get an impact player at that spot.
  • While a Kyle Lowry trade can’t be ruled out, the Heat aren’t actively looking to move him, Jackson adds in the same story.
  • After hovering around the .500 mark most of the season, the Heat are a season-best four games over .500. Better health has been a factor and Udonis Haslem believes the team can go on a run, he told Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. “We’ve been right there. So many games coming down to the last shot even with a decimated roster,” the veteran big man said. “So sometimes you got to look within the lesson. The lesson is, I think, once we get healthy, we’re building some good habits and we’ll be able to put something together here. You look at how Boston started their first half of the season last year and it was similar. So if we get healthy, I think we’re still capable of putting something together here.”
  • Considering his past injury issues, Victor Oladipo is surprised he’s logged 30-plus minutes in eight of his last 10 games, he told Chiang. “A little bit, I can’t lie,” Oladipo said of playing extended minutes this season. “But sitting back and really reflecting, you see how much work I put in and how much I invest in my body. So it’s no surprise that I’m still feeling good, and I’m going to continue to keep feeling better as the year goes on.” Oladipo only played 25 minutes in a lopsided win over New Orleans on Wednesday.

Southeast Notes: Robinson, Dedmon, Lowry, Clifford, Krejci

Two-way player Orlando Robinson may have passed Dewayne Dedmon on the depth chart as the Heat‘s backup center. Robinson finished Sunday’s one-point loss to Brooklyn with six points, nine rebounds and two assists in 20 minutes, while Dedmon didn’t play due to coach’s decision for the first time this season. The Heat outscored the Nets by 24 points with Robinson on the court, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald notes.

“I thought he just gave us great minutes,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Even when we had to take (Bam Adebayo) out in the fourth quarter, that could have been an emotional downer, like a real buzz kill. But O had been playing really well and when I turned to him, everybody else was like: ‘Yeah, let’s do this.’ He’s earned the minutes and I think the way he was really sprinting to the rim on some of the pick-and-rolls and creating a little bit of confusion, really helped us generate some clean looks.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Heat guard Kyle Lowry has been downgraded to out for Tuesday’s game against the Thunder, Chiang tweets. The Heat have a number of injury concerns. Rotation players Caleb Martin (left quadriceps strain) and Duncan Robinson (finger surgery) have also been ruled out, while Tyler Herro (left Achilles soreness) and Adebayo (right wrist contusion) are questionable.
  • Steve Clifford returned for a second stint as the Hornets’ head coach to take them to the next level. The way the season has played out, he now has the task of developing the young players during a rough season. Clifford spoke of trying to strike that balance in a Q&A with Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer in a subscriber-required story. “We need to win and develop these young guys. And definitely this is really a different roster than what we thought it would be, particularly when I first got here,” Clifford said. “But at the end of the day being adaptable as a coach is a big deal, and you want to be the right coach for the team that you are coaching.”
  • Vit Krejci had his contract for this season guaranteed by the Hawks over the weekend when he remained on the roster. Krejci is grateful the front office decided to keep him around, as he told Lauren Williams of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Yeah, it’s a good feeling,” Krejci said. “You know, I worked really hard to be in this position. And I’m glad that the team trusts me and the coaches and the staff, everybody trusts me. So, I’m really happy for that.” Krejci has appeared in 17 games this season.