Bam Adebayo

Heat Notes: Oladipo, Okpala, Vaccinations, Yurtseven

Victor Oladipo, who recently signed a one-year, minimum-salary contract to stay with the Heat, could be the key that unlocks Miami’s future, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

As Winderman details, because the Heat hold Oladipo’s Bird Rights, they can’t trade him this season without his consent, but they also can re-sign him next year without requiring cap space. Given the lack of star power on the 2022 free agency market, if Olapido is able to recover from his quad injury, that could be a bet that pays off in a big way, as his defense, slashing, and shooting ability fits perfectly alongside stars Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry and Bam Adebayo.

Oladipo returning to form would also lessen the burden on offense-only players like Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro, Winderman writes, while insulating them to form a smothering defensive unit even with their presence.

We have more news from the Heat:

  • In a separate article, Winderman addresses the idea of a KZ Okpala extension, saying it’s “not even close to a factor,” while also rejecting the idea of giving Okpala extended time in the G League. Because Okpala is on the last year of his contract, Winderman writes, the Heat could easily be giving him those development reps for the benefit of another team.
  • Winderman also addresses the question of whether Summer League breakout star Omer Yurtseven could be a better prospect – and end up a better pro – than the recently-traded Precious Achiuwa. He writes that while Yurtseven has the potential, it’s unlikely he finds the playing time, as the Heat have Adebayo, Dewayne Dedmon, P.J. Tucker and even Markieff Morris blocking his way, whereas Achiuwa will be part of a more limited rotation with the Raptors.
  • The Heat have announced that all employees must have their first vaccination dose by September 1, aside from those with qualifying religious or medical exceptions, tweets Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. “Employees who are not fully vaccinated, or have not submitted a formal request for an accommodation that has been granted or is still in the evaluation process by the next phase of our return to work will be deemed to have resigned,” the Heat said in their statement (Twitter link via Chiang).

Olympic Notes: Exhibition Game, Beal, Harris, Wood, Adebayo

There have been discussions about canceling Team USA’s exhibition game with Australia on Friday due to the U.S. team’s COVID issues, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Olgun Uluc tweet. Bradley Beal has been ruled out of the Olympics and Jerami Grant has also been placed under health and safety protocols. Australia defeated Team USA earlier in the week.

We have more on Team USA:

  • Coach Gregg Popovich is crestfallen for Beal, Joe Vardon of The Athletic writes. “I’m dying for him. We all are,” Popovich said. “Since he’s a little kid this has been a dream of his, he was playing great, he was having fun, being a big part of us coming together chemistry-wise and as a family. So for him and his family, his immediate family, it’s devastating. We just feel horrible about it.”
  • USA Basketball is checking into Tobias Harris‘ availability, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The Sixers forward is currently out of the country but is expected to return Saturday evening. Rockets big man Christian Wood is also being considered as Beal’s replacement.
  • Heat center Bam Adebayo contributed 12 points, five assists, and five rebounds in the team’s victory over Argentina on Tuesday. Adebayo’s versatility could be a major component for the squad, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. “The one thing about it is we don’t want everybody on the court thinking too much,” Adebayo said. “So I feel like with me and (Draymond Green), we have a responsibility to do all the little stuff — the screening, getting people open, making the extra pass. And obviously go score when there’s an opportunity.”

Heat Rumors: Oladipo, Herro, Yurtseven, Hardaway, Adebayo

An ESPN report in May suggested that Victor Oladipo could resume full-contact basketball activities as soon as November following his quad tendon surgery. However, the Heat aren’t counting on him being ready for NBA games at that point, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Jackson says Oladipo’s camp is hopeful he’ll be able to return to action at some point between mid-December and early February.

It’s uncertain whether the Heat will make much of an effort to re-sign Oladipo, per Jackson, who notes that any deal between the two sides would likely be a “low-money” one.

Given that Oladipo may not be ready until the halfway point of the season, it’s even possible he’ll sit out the year and focus on getting healthy if he and his representatives don’t like the offers they get, Jackson writes. In that scenario, the plan would be for the two-time All-Star to get back to 100% and then return to free agency in July 2022.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Despite some whispers that the Heat haven’t been thrilled with Tyler Herro‘s off-court social life and his work ethic, a team official told Jackson there’s no concern with the 21-year-old in that regard. “He’s a hard worker,” Jackson’s source said, adding that there are no attitude issues with Herro either.
  • Some people within the Heat’s front office are extremely high on late-season signee Omer Yurtseven and believe he could develop into a skilled big man, according to Jackson. In a separate story, Jackson outlines how Yurtseven’s agent Keith Glass originally approached the Heat about his client because of the team’s strong track record for developing young players.
  • Tim Hardaway Jr., who will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, is intrigued by the Heat, reports Greg Sylvander of Five Reasons Sports. However, the timing of free agency and cap/contract details are viewed by the Mavericks wing and his camp as obstacles that could impede the two sides from seriously exploring a deal.
  • Asked if he’ll be looking to sell his U.S. teammates on the Heat during the Tokyo Olympics, big man Bam Adebayo smiled and replied, “I might. Or they might ask me. It’s my job to be honest” (link via Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel).

Durant, Harden, Adebayo Expected To Play For USA’s Olympic Team

Team USA’s roster for the upcoming Summer Olympics is taking shape, with a new trio of star players set to play in Tokyo, according to reports.

Nets forward Kevin Durant is expected to commit to represent Team USA at the Tokyo games, according to Shams Charania and Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). Durant’s teammate James Harden will join him, according to Charania, who says (via Twitter) the All-Star guard has committed to play. The third member of Brooklyn’s Big Three, Kyrie Irving, is expected to sit out the Olympics while he rehabs an ankle injury.

Team USA has added a frontcourt player as well, as Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports (via Twitter) that Heat big man Bam Adebayo has committed to join the roster. Adebayo trained with USA Basketball leading up to the 2019 World Cup, but didn’t make the team. He’s unlikely to be cut this time around.

Durant, Harden, and Adebayo join a star-studded group that also features Bradley Beal, Damian Lillard, Jayson Tatum, and Draymond Green. Devin Booker is expected to participate too, though if the Suns make the NBA Finals and play a long series in July, it’s possible his plans could change. The Finals could run as late as July 22 if they go seven games, while the Olympics are scheduled to get underway on July 23.

With or without Booker, there are still at least four spots on the 12-man roster up for grabs, and Team USA figures to bring more than 12 players to its pre-Olympic camp as insurance for injuries or withdrawals.

NBA Announces 2020/2021 All-NBA Teams

The NBA has officially announced the All-NBA First, Second, and Third Teams for the 2020/21 season, with Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way as the lone unanimous selection for the First Team.

Antetokounmpo and Nuggets‘ MVP Nikola Jokic were the two top vote-getters, combining for 998 out of a possible 1,000 points, with Warriors guard Stephen Curry following shortly behind. Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic rounding out the top five.

The full All-NBA teams are listed below, with their vote totals in parentheses. Players received five points for a First Team vote, three points for a Second Team vote, and one point for a Third Team vote, so Giannis scored a perfect 500 — First Team nods from all 100 voters.

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

Among the players who just missed the cut were Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (69), Wizards guard Russell Westbrook (44), Nets guard James Harden (41), Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (37) and Heat center Bam Adebayo (32). A total of 12 other players received votes. The full results can be found here.

Today’s announcement has major financial implications across the league. Tatum, who received more votes than Kyrie Irving but still fell 20 votes short of a final forward spot, will lose out on a projected $32.6MM on his rookie scale extension, as his next deal will start at 25% of the cap instead of the 30% he would have received if he’d been named to an All-NBA team. Likewise, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, Kings guard De’Aaron Fox and Adebayo will all receive starting salaries worth 25% of the cap on their respective extensions as a result of missing out on All-NBA honors.

Doncic, having been named to his second consecutive All-NBA First Team, will be eligible for a 30% extension that would be worth a projected $201MM+ and is almost certain to be offered this summer. Doncic has previously made clear his intentions to sign the extension when offered. It will go into effect for the 2022/23 season.

Embiid is now eligible for a super-max contract extension, which would run for four years, starting in 2023/24, and would be worth a projected $191MM, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. It’s unclear whether the Sixers will immediately put this extension on the table this offseason.

Bradley Beal‘s deal will not change with his first career All-NBA selection, as he is already eligible for a 35% contract extension on his next deal. Jokic, having been named MVP previously this week, also sees no change in his possible future super-max extension, which will be worth approximately $241MM.

Hoops Rumors readers accurately picked 12 of this season’s 15 All-NBA players in our poll. Devin Booker, Adebayo, and Tatum were your picks who didn’t make the official list.

Southeast Notes: Hunter, Young, Dragic, Thornwell, Adebayo

Hawks‘ second-year forward De’Andre Hunter underwent surgery today for a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee, according to a team press release. He is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for the start of preseason.

Hunter had a breakout start to his second year in the NBA, but his season was derailed by knee injuries after just 18 games and several attempts at an early return went poorly. He looked to be rounding back into shape during the Hawks’ first-round series against the Knicks, but started experiencing swelling that caused him to miss the first two games of the team’s series against the Sixers before the injury was announced.

We have more from around the Southeast Division:

  • Hawks guard Trae Young is being listed as probable for Game Five due to right shoulder soreness, tweets Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Young said that he injured the shoulder in Game Three but kept it to himself due to a desire to play in Game Four, according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN. “I wasn’t gonna tell nobody anyways other than the training staff,” he said, which may explain why head coach Nate McMillan claimed to have not known about the injury prior to tip-off. Young finished the game with 25 points and 18 assists, tied for second-most in Hawks history, as he helped lead the team to a comeback victory to tie the series at two games apiece.
  • Heat guard Goran Dragiccoming off a magical Finals run, had a disappointing season by his own standards, much of which was due to a string of injuries that prevented him from getting any real rhythm. The Slovenian guard opened up about his struggles with injuries, as Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. “I think I opened the season pretty well. I played well,” Dragic said. “Then just nagging injuries, a couple of injuries, COVID protocols, players in and out of the lineup. Sometimes you’re starting, sometimes not. It’s tough to catch a rhythm like that when you play two or three games and then you’re out for nine.” He’s hoping that this offseason will give him time to get his body right and be ready for next season. Dragic has a $19.4MM team option this summer, which the Heat will have to make a decision on.
  • Sindarius Thornwell may not have had a huge impact on the Magic in his seven games with the team, but he proved himself a capable defender and physical player, writes Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel. But Orlando is going into the offseason with a roster filled with promising guards, and Thornwell is likely the odd man out. Parry writes that Thornwell could parlay his play with the Magic into a deal with another team.
  • Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald examines whether it could be worth it for the Heat to explore trading Bam Adebayo in a package for a star such as Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal, and what the ramifications of such a move could look like.

NBA All-Defensive Teams Announced

The NBA has officially announced the voting results for its two 2020/21 All-Defensive teams.

Jazz center Rudy Gobert, the Defensive Player of the Year for the third time in four seasons, and Sixers guard Ben Simmons were unanimous selections for the All-Defensive First Team. Both players made the First Team lists of all 100 tallied ballots, for a perfect total of 200 points. Votes are given to 100 media members.

This marks Gobert’s fifth straight appearance on the All-Defensive First Team, and the second consecutive All-Defensive First Team honor for Simmons.

Warriors forward Draymond Green garnered 176 points (including 80 First Team votes). Green was named Defensive Player of the Year in the 2016/17 season. This year’s nod is his fourth First Team honor, and his sixth total All-Defensive team.

Two Bucks players rounded out the All-Defensive First Team this season. Guard Jrue Holiday netted 157 points (65 First Team) and All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, the 2020 Defensive Player of the Year, earned 135 total points (43 First Team). Antetokounmpo has just made his third straight All-Defensive First Team, and his fourth All-Defensive team overall. This is Holiday’s second All-Defensive First Team appearance and his third overall All-Defensive team.

[RELATED: Rudy Gobert Named Defensive Player Of The Year]

Two All-Defensive First-Teamers have unlocked contract bonuses associated with the honor. Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets that Gobert will receive a $500K bonus for the inclusion this season. Marks adds (Twitter link) that Holiday will pocket a cool $100K for making All-Defensive First Team. Holiday has other contract incentives associated with his team’s further postseason advancement.

The All-Defensive Second Team honorees are led by Heat stars Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler, who each netted 111 points (37 First Team votes) apiece. Adebayo makes his second All-Defensive Second Team with the nod today. This is Butler’s fifth such honor.

Simmons’s Sixers teammates Joel Embiid and Matisse Thybulle also make the cut. It is the third All-Defensive team nod for Embiid and the first appearance for Thybulle. Clippers All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard, a former two-time Defensive Player of the Year, rounds out the All-Defensive Second Team this season.

Here are the full voting results for the All-Defensive First and Second Teams, with each player’s point total noted in parentheses:

First Team:

Second Team:

Suns guard/forward Mikal Bridges, Hawks center Clint Capela, and Pacers forward/center Myles Turner were among the highest vote-getters who missed the cut for the Second Team. You can find the full voting results right here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rudy Gobert Named Defensive Player Of The Year

Jazz center Rudy Gobert has been selected as the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. This is the third DPOY honor for Gobert, who also won the award in 2018 and 2019.

During his eight NBA seasons, Gobert has established himself as one of the league’s best shot blockers. He averaged a career-best 2.7 rejections per game this season and ranked first in a number of defensive analytics stats, including defensive real plus-minus and defensive RAPTOR, by a wide margin.

“It takes team effort, mental toughness, hard work and dedication,” Gobert told Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link). “Every day you have to come in with a mindset to make your team better on that end.”

Gobert received 84 first-place votes, along with 14 for second place and two for third place for an overall total of 464 points, the NBA announced in its official press release.

The SixersBen Simmons was second with 15/67/11 and 287 points, followed by the WarriorsDraymond Green with 0/13/37 and 76 points. The other first-place vote went to Bam Adebayo of the Heat, who came in fourth.

Eight other players received at least one DPOY vote, including Giannis Antetokounmpo, Clint Capela, Joel Embiid, and Jrue Holiday. Perhaps the most unexpected vote belonged to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who was placed third on one ballot.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Heat Notes: Herro, Adebayo, Draft Picks, Okpala

After averaging 16.0 PPG and making 37.5% of his three-point attempts during last year’s playoff run as a rookie, Heat guard Tyler Herro didn’t take a major step forward statistically in 2020/21. The 21-year-old recorded 15.1 PPG with a .360 3PT% during the regular season and struggled in the postseason (9.3 PPG, .316 FG%).

However, president of basketball operations Pat Riley said multiple times during his end-of-season presser on Thursday that Herro is still a “core player for the Heat, expressing confidence that the second-year guard will continue to make positive strides going forward, as Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes.

“What happened to him going down the stretch, I actually thought he got better as a player,” Riley said. “If you think about his first year or his first 35 or 40 games, he really was strictly a catch-and-shoot type of player coming off of screens and catching and shooting. The only way that he was ever going to become a complete offensive player is he had to improve his ball-handling with both his right hand and his left hand, and he did. He’s an exceptional ball-handler. Now he can create space and get into gaps and raise on jumpers from almost anywhere.”

Given the Heat’s lack of moveable future draft picks, Herro would be the team’s most appealing trade chip if the front office tried to take a big swing for another impact player this offseason. But Riley’s comments on Thursday suggest Herro remains very much a part of Miami’s “core.”

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Riley said on Thursday that during last fall’s extension talks with Bam Adebayo, the Heat broached the subject of putting off the big man’s new contract until this year in order to maximize the team’s 2021 cap room. However, Adebayo preferred to sign his extension immediately and the Heat were fine with that, as Jackson relays.
  • Riley hasn’t had any discussions with the Thunder about removing the protections on the 2023 first-round pick Miami owes Oklahoma City, according to Jackson. Making that pick unprotected would allow the Heat to trade their 2025 and 2027 first-round picks, if they so choose, giving them more flexibility in trade talks. However, the Thunder likely won’t do the Heat a favor without receiving compensation — in a similar situation last offseason, the Bucks had to send the Cavaliers a 2025 second-round pick in order to remove the protections on the 2022 first-rounder Milwaukee owed to Cleveland. That allowed the Bucks to free up other future first-rounders for the Jrue Holiday trade.
  • This summer will be a critical one for KZ Okpala, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Okapala was the 32nd overall pick in the 2019 draft, but has yet to develop into a reliable rotation player for Miami and will be entering the final season of his three-year contract. “It’s a blessing that I do have a full offseason with Summer League and all that,” Okpala said. “So I accept my blessing, and I’m going to take advantage of it.”

And-Ones: Jrue, Vegas, Pangos, Payton, Big Markets

Bucks guard Jrue Holiday is the recipient of the Joe Dumars Trophy, having been named the winner of the 2020/21 NBA Sportsmanship Award, the league announced today in a press release.

The award, which aims to honor the player who “best represents the ideals of sportsmanship on the court,” is voted on by current NBA players. Each team nominates one of its players, a panel of league executives pares the list down to six finalists (one from each division), and the players vote on those six finalists.

Holiday, who earned 130 of 343 first-place votes, beat out runner-up Kemba Walker (74 first-place votes) for the award. Bam Adebayo, Harrison Barnes, Derrick White, and Josh Okogie were the other finalists.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • While it’s unclear when the NBA might seriously pursue expansion, Las Vegas has frequently been cited as a city the league would consider, and a Yahoo News report suggests one potential ownership group may be in place in Vegas. As Kurt Helin of NBC Sports relays, billionaire Jay Bloom heads a series of investors who reportedly have the funds and the connections necessary to be the frontrunners to own a Vegas NBA franchise if the opportunity arises.
  • Kevin Pangos, one of the top point guards in the EuroLeague, is drawing plenty of interest from European teams but may wait until NBA free agency to make a decision, says Aris Barkas of Eurohoops. There’s no indication that Pangos has an NBA offer awaiting him, but the former Gonzaga standout wants to consider all his options before making a decision.
  • Hall-of-Fame guard Gary Payton, who has spoken in the past about wanting to coach in the NBA, tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that he has agreed to a multiyear contract to coach Lincoln University in his hometown of Oakland, California.
  • In the wake of teams like the Celtics, the Knicks, and especially the Lakers being eliminated from the postseason, Ethan Strauss of The Athletic explores just how dependent the NBA is on its marquee, big-market franchises, and what the league can do to reduce that dependence.