Bam Adebayo

Heat Notes: Butler, Adebayo, Nunn, Paul

The Heat won Jimmy Butler over in their free agent meeting by emphasizing a commitment to conditioning, toughness and winning, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Team president Pat Riley made a “strong impression” during the four-hour presentation on June 30 and was focused on getting a definitive answer before it was over. Butler had more meetings scheduled, but canceled them and committed to Miami.

Butler was being sought by other teams in better position to contend right away, such as the Clippers, Lakers and Rockets, or he could have stayed with the Sixers, but he liked the idea of being the first star for the Heat to build around. He also remembered the words of former Bulls teammate Dwyane Wade.

“He would always say, ‘It would be a place for you,” Butler recalled. “The type of guy you are, the mentality you have, the Heat culture, it just fits.’ We laugh about it now, but looking back it’s like: Damn, he kind of called how it could happen and how this would be a place that just fits me to a T.”

Here’s more from South Florida:

  • Bam Adebayo tells Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel that he expects a different atmosphere this season with Wade and Josh Richardson both gone and Butler now serving as the team leader. “Instead of J-Rich and the goofiness, it’s kind of Jimmy Butler,” the 22-year-old Adebayo said. “So it’s kind of more serious. He’s older than us.”
  • Kendrick Nunn‘s outstanding Summer League performance may not translate into more playing time once the season starts, Winderman observes in a separate piece. Nunn averaged 21.0 PPG in four games and ranked third in assists in Las Vegas at 6.3 per night. However, Winderman notes that his breakthrough wasn’t as dramatic as Derrick Jones Jr.‘s last summer, and Jones didn’t have a significant role during the regular season while the roster was at full strength. Winderman forecasts more playing time for first-round pick Tyler Herro.
  • Bradley Beal‘s situation in Washington could affect the Heat’s willingness to trade for Chris Paul, Winderman suggests in another story. Beal will become a free agent in 2021 if he turns down a three-year, $111MM extension offer that the Wizards can make starting Friday. Miami wouldn’t have enough cap space to pursue Beal if it takes on Paul’s sizable contract. A source tells Winderman that the Heat would demand multiple first-round picks to accept Paul.

Latest On Westbrook Trade Talks Between Heat, Thunder

The Thunder have asked the Heat for more than one of Miami’s most promising young players in their trade discussions for Russell Westbrook, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

According to Jackson, Oklahoma City is seeking the inclusion of 2019 lottery pick Tyler Herro in a Westbrook deal, but the Heat have been “very resistant” to the idea of trading away the former Kentucky sharpshooter. The 13th overall pick, who is averaging 19.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 2.8 APG in six Summer League games, has exceeded Miami’s expectations so far, a source tells Jackson.

After signing Herro on Wednesday, the Heat can’t include him in a trade for 30 days, but that isn’t expected to be an impediment if the two sides ultimately reach an agreement that includes him.

Jackson also hears that the Thunder have sought at least two players from the trio of Herro, Bam Adebayo, and Justise Winslow. That idea doesn’t appeal to the Heat, who are also high on Adebayo and opposed to dealing him.

As a result of the Thunder’s demands, the Westbrook trade discussions between the two teams are at a stalemate for the time being, despite the fact that Miami would love to add the star point guard, says Jackson.

While Herro’s status may not be a roadblock, there are a number of other obstacles that the two teams must overcome. The Thunder don’t want to take on additional salary, since they’d prefer to dip under the tax line rather than increase their projected bill. However, the Heat almost literally can’t take on any more salary, since they’re less than $1MM away from their $138.9MM hard cap.

Additionally, having already traded away their 2021 and 2023 first-round picks – which the Thunder now hold – the Heat don’t have first-rounders available to include in a Westbrook offer, which is why OKC is seeking multiple young players in a package instead, Jackson notes.

Miami could theoretically remove the lottery protections on the ’23 pick, which would subsequently allow the team to trade its 2025 or 2026 first-rounder as well. However, those are all fairly distant selections, and Oklahoma City may prioritize players and picks that can help the team within the next few years.

Even if the two teams could directly match salaries and the Thunder are fine with not acquiring draft picks, it’s not clear if they’ll see eye-to-eye on Westbrook’s value. Due to the $171MM owed to the former MVP over the next four years, Miami would prefer to just send out players whose contracts would help expedite a deal, many of whom likely don’t have a long-term future with the Heat, says Jackson.

On the other hand, the Thunder believe they deserve more compensation for a player with Westbrook’s track record — he won his MVP award just two years ago, rarely misses time due to injuries, and has averaged a triple-double in each of the last three seasons.

If no other serious suitors emerge for Westbrook, the Heat might “dig in further” when it comes to hanging onto their top young prospects, says Jackson.

Eastern Notes: Wizards, Heat, Celtics

The Wizards are still looking to make moves with their $8.6MM trade exception and in free agency, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post tweets. Washington has already agreed to a sign-and-trade to ship out Tomas Satoransky to the Bulls, agreed to a two-year deal with Ish Smith and come to terms with center Thomas Bryant on a three-year deal.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Heat are still seeking to ship out contracts to ease their cap burden and reduce the need to stretch Ryan Anderson‘s contract, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets. Miami is hopeful of reducing or eliminating its luxury tax penalty for next summer, Jackson adds. The Heat are trying to hold onto Bam Adebayo, Justise Winslow and Derrick Jones Jr. but are open to moving other veterans, Jackson adds in another tweet. The Heat have been extremely active in recent days, most notably piecing together a sign-and-trade for Jimmy Butler and reaching an agreement to trade Hassan Whiteside to the Trail Blazers.
  • The Celtics have reached agreements with free agents Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter but they’re far from done, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. The Celtics are still looking at a number of free agents and potential sign-and-trades that could free up money to get another impact player, Bulpett continues. Interior defense is the biggest area of need, he adds.

Heat Notes: Draft, Ellington, Langford

Should the Heat enter the sweepstakes for the No. 4 overall pick? Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel believes it depends on the cost.

The scribe isn’t a fan of the team sending away Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, or Bam Adebayo in a deal, though if a trade was structured around one of their player-friendly contracts, such as Dion Waiters or James Johnson, an additional player and the No. 13, moving up would make more sense.

Here’s more from Miami:

  • The Heat could use Wayne Ellington back, but luxury tax concerns may put him out of the team’s price range, Winderman notes in the same piece. Miami began last season with great depth in the backcourt but that’s no longer the case after the team sent Ellington, Rodney McGruder, and Tyler Johnson away and watched Dwyane Wade retire.
  • Romeo Langford (Indiana) met with the Heat today, Evan Daniels of 247 Sports tweets. Langford’s busy day also includes a meeting with the Pelicans. He has previously visited Cleveland, Atlanta, and Minnesota.
  • The Heat also worked out Sekou Doumbouya (France), according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (Twitter link). Doumbouya is expected to go in the lottery.

Pat Riley Speaks On State Of Heat

James Johnson and Dion Waiters would be entering free agency if things had gone differently for the Heat in the summer of 2017, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

At a press conference today, team president Pat Riley said he would have signed both players for two seasons instead of four if Miami had been able to land free agent targets Kevin Durant or Gordon Hayward. Once Durant picked the Warriors and Hayward signed with the Celtics, Riley agreed to longer contracts with both Johnson and Waiters.

“On July 1, I didn’t want to be left with nobody,” he said. “After five days of Gordon having to make a decision, I didn’t want to lose some players we had. I do know James had a deal [elsewhere if Miami didn’t sign him]. It was my decision. I didn’t want to lose all three of them.”

That decision left the Heat with two more expensive contracts that could help push the team $35MM above the cap next season, assuming Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic both opt in.

“We weren’t thinking of room after we lost Kevin Durant and Hayward,” Riley said. “We were thinking we had that 30-11 team come back [Miami’s record in the second half of the 2016/17 season]. We thought the contracts we gave were long-term contracts. That’s on me. You can put that all on me. We didn’t land Hayward and I didn’t want [to lose] the other two guys.”

Riley covered a wealth of topics during today’s session with the media. Here are a few, courtesy of Jackson and Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald:

  • Even if the Lakers were to make an offer, Riley won’t consider going to L.A. to take over for Magic Johnson. “There’s no doubt that I have a history with that team,” he said. “I have a lot of friends inside the organization. … But I’m not going to be a part of that.”
  • Riley wants coach Erik Spoelstra to find ways to get Whiteside and Bam Adebayo on the court at the same time. Despite being Miami’s highest-paid player, Whiteside averaged just 17 minutes per night over the final 19 games.
  • Riley said Waiters was slowed all season after ankle surgery and was “playing this year on 1 1/2 ankles.” He added that conditioning will be vital for Waiters next season. “I talked to him yesterday,” Riley said. “He knows. He has five months. If he gets his conditioning to world class condition, he can get back [to where he was for 25 excellent games two years ago]. I’m confident he will do it. His career is on the line.”
  • No matter what happens, tanking won’t be part of the Heat’s plans, Riley insists, noting how hard it is to fall into the bottom five in the league.
  • Riley encourages Udonis Haslem to take some time to decide whether he wants to return next season. Haslem has barely played over the past three years, but the Heat are willing to give him a roster spot for the veteran leadership he provides.
  • Duncan Robinson and Yante Maten, who were both signed through 2020/21 in the closing days of the season, may have a future with the team. “I give Duncan and Yante As,” Riley said. “They dominated the [G-League] the way you want them to dominate. That was the best team in the league for a while. We think both of them can develop and you don’t know how far they can go.”
  • Unless they get lucky in the lottery, the Heat will have the 13th pick in the draft, but Riley is optimistic they can find a contributor there. “I am not going to name names, but I’ve seen 30 players that are very good players,” he said. “At 13, I do think we would get something equivalent to who we have on our team right now, Bam, Justise [Winslow], Josh [Richardson] and Derrick Jones Jr.
  • Riley called Dwyane Wade‘s final season “pure love” as the Heat said goodbye to their all-time leading scorer.

Heat Notes: Bosh, Adebayo, Waiters, Johnson, Wade

The Heat are set to retire Chris Bosh‘s jersey on Tuesday during halftime of their match-up against the Magic, celebrating Bosh’s career in Miami and closing the book on a positive note.

Bosh, whose six seasons with the Heat included two NBA championships and four Finals appearances, was forced to end his career early after being diagnosed with blood clots in 2015 and 2016. He wanted to return to the team following the diagnosis, but the chance of greater injury — or worse — was too much to risk for both the Heat and the rest of the league.

Micky [Arison] and Pat [Riley] — and this is one thing I have to get straight with people all the time — we never not talked,” Bosh said, as relayed by Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. “We communicated through this whole ordeal. And my message was always the same, ‘I want to play the game. I want to explore more options to be able to play.'”

Bosh eventually accepted the reality that his playing days were over, recently confirming his retirement from the NBA. In addition to winning two titles, Bosh was an 11-time All-Star, a dominant force capable of scoring from inside and out. His ability to stretch the floor at the center position helped turn the game into what it is today, with more and more teams testing five-shooter lineups each season.

“You can’t live two lives,” Bosh admitted. “I’m going to parent-teacher conferences with my kids, and there’s these different things to get done throughout the day — and I’m trying to get a workout in. The longer I went without playing games, or having a contract or anything, the more difficult it got, the more fire I lost.”

There’s more today out of Miami:

  • In a separate article for the Sun Sentinel, Ira Winderman ponders whether the expectations for Bam Adebayo should increase. Adebayo has started the last 14 games in place of Hassan Whiteside, who has seen inconsistent playing time off the bench. Miami went 10-4 during that stretch.
  • Dion Waiters and James Johnson are exploding back onto the scene just in time for the Heat, Winderman opines. Johnson (sports hernia) and Waiters (ankle surgery) have mostly been away from the Heat over the last calendar year, but both contributed to the team’s win in Washington on Saturday night. “I feel explosive these last four games, to be honest,” Johnson said. Both players are working to regain their stamina and consistency as the team makes a final push to contend for the playoffs.
  • Add Scott Brooks, Jeff Green and Tomas Satoransky to the long list of NBA figures who believe Dwyane Wade shouldn’t retire after the season. “The NBA needs to just fine the Miami Heat for allowing him to retire,” Brooks said, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “They should not allow him to retire. He’s too good to retire. I hope he changes his mind.” Wade has heard this frequently since announcing his decision to retire, but is adamant that he won’t reverse course. His final regular-season game is scheduled for Wednesday, April 10 against the Nets at Barclays Center.

Pat Riley Talks 2020, Playoff Race, Draft Picks

Assuming Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic exercise their player options for next season, the Heat won’t be in position to open up cap room this summer. The club would have over $129MM in guaranteed money on its books for 2019/20 in that scenario, well above the projected $109MM cap.

However, with the contracts for Whiteside and Dragic set to expire in 2020, Heat president Pat Riley believes his team can be a major player during free agency that offseason. Riley said as much in an interview with Heat reporter Jason Jackson (video link), as Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel relays.

“In 2020, we’ll have a lot of room,” Riley said. “We’ll also have the possibility to have enough room to go after two max contracts, and we’re going to do that. So we’re planning that 2020 will be the room year.”

The NBA’s latest salary cap projection calls for a $118MM cap for 2020/21. Currently, the Heat project to have about $71.6MM on their books for that season if James Johnson and Kelly Olynyk pick up ’20/21 player options. So Riley’s suggestion that the team will have two max slots may hinge on one or both of those players opting out.

While Riley and the Heat are eyeing that 2020 offseason as their next opportunity to make a major splash in free agency, it sounds like he’s not ruling out the possibility of pursuing upgrades this coming summer, when the club will have a mid-level exception available.

“We’re chasing a playoff spot and we’re young, and then we’re going to be chasing some players that could come in,” Riley said, per Winderman. “If we could get one or two players to come in with this group, this young group, then I think the sky’s the limit for this team in the next couple of years.”

Here’s more from Riley on the Heat, via Winderman:

  • If they continue to slump, the Heat – who currently rank 10th in our reverse standings – would be in position to snag a pretty favorable draft pick. However, Riley wants to see the squad continue pushing for one of the final playoff spots in the East. “It’s absolutely essential that they grow with experience, but not only experience with the playing time, but they get to the playoffs,” Riley said. “… I don’t care if you’re fighting for spot number eight or seven or five or three or the top spot or you’re fighting for a championship. You’ve got to be chasing something that’s positive.”
  • While Riley sounds far more interested in earning the No. 8 seed than in landing a top-10 pick in the draft, he dismissed the idea that he doesn’t value draft picks: “People think I don’t believe in draft picks. They’re so wrong. … Draft picks are very important to us.”
  • Riley suggests that Justise Winslow, Bam Adebayo, and Josh Richardson are the key members of the Heat’s young core going forward. However, the club president also mentioned Derrick Jones Jr., and noted that players like Dion Waiters (25), Olynyk (27), and Whiteside (28) are still fairly young.

Lowe’s Latest: Rockets, Prince, Blazers, Heat

The Rockets and Cavaliers had discussions about sending Brandon Knight to Cleveland along with a first-round pick in exchange for Alec Burks. However, Zach Lowe of ESPN.com hears that those talks have ceased. Houston has also spoken with the Grizzlies about potential Knight deals.

Cleveland is selling Burks, Rodney Hood, and any other “indispensable asset” prior to the deadline, Lowe writes. The team is willing to take back future salary in exchange for picks.

Houston is expected to scour the market for deals leading up to the deadline with an eye on attaching a future first-rounder to Knight and Marquese Chriss. The Rockets would likely push for lottery protections on any picks that would convey past James Harden‘s prime.

Lowe’s latest piece contains trade nuggets from several teams in the league and we’ve already passed along news from the Grizzlies’ Mike Conley and Marc Gasol sweepstakes as well as the Magic’s pre-deadline plan. Here are the rest of the newsworthy notes from the ESPN piece:

  • The Hawks have made Taurean Prince available in trade talks, sources tell Lowe. Atlanta hasn’t received a ton of traction on Prince deals because of its asking price. The organization wants a young prospect and a pick in exchange for the small forward.
  • The Blazers have put their first-rounder on the table in trade talks, sources tell Lowe. Portland has reached out about Otto Porter Jr.‘s availability, though Wizards owner Ted Leonsis previously announced that the team would not be trading Porter before the deadline.
  • Porter has drawn interest from several teams. In addition to the Blazers, the Mavericks and Jazz have kept an eye on the situation. Dallas was interested in swapping Harrison Barnes for Porter prior to the Kristaps Porzingis trade.
  • Miami appears to be willing to move anyone but Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson and Bam Adebayo for cap relief. Lowe expects the Heat to try to get at least a second-round pick for Wayne Ellington.
  • Lowe confirms a previous report that JaMychal Green, Justin Holiday, and Garrett Temple are all available. Holiday, who was acquired from the Bulls earlier this year, cost the Grizzlies two second-round picks.
  • The Kings have approximately $11MM in cap space available and they want to use it to pick up an asset. Lowe writes that it could be a draft pick or a player who will help them win this season.
  • Sacramento is willing to engage in trade talks about Willie Cauley-Stein, who will be a restricted free agent this summer. The Kings may simply let the center walk should he receive too high of an offer this offseason.
  • The Bulls are expected to listen to offers for anyone but Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter. Lowe doesn’t expect Chicago to deal either Kris Dunn or Zach LaVine though, as the team’s asking price is anticipated to be too high.
  • The Nuggets own a pair of trade exceptions and have slightly less than $7MM in breathing room under the tax. They are open to taking on a salary dump if another team calls and has to shed a player in that price range.

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Morris, Whiteside, Parker

The Hawks have provided some detail regarding some of the injuries that have been plaguing their roster to begin the 2018/19 season.

Swingman Justin Anderson, who was traded to the Hawks from the Sixers back in July, is still rehabilitating from a pre-trade surgery to address recurring tibial stress syndrome in his left leg. There is still no timetable for his return.

Big man John Collins, who may expect to have a breakout sophomore campaign in 2018/19, is also still rehabilitating from mild inflammation and soreness in his left ankle. He is still out, but his return is clearer. His rehab will be reviewed in eleven days with an update from the Hawks to follow.

Fellow big man Dewayne Dedmon is returning after participating in his first full live practice with the team yesterday. He was re-assessed today and is playing for the Hawks in their game against Dallas this evening.

Finally, Hawks swingman Daniel Hamilton has returned to modified practice following rehab for a tear in his right rotator cuff. There is no timetable for his return to game action.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

Latest On Jimmy Butler

It has been another busy day of Jimmy Butler rumors, with the latest whispers suggesting that Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor wants to make a deal soon, and that the Cavaliers are among the teams with interest in the All-Star swingman.

We have a few more Butler-related items to pass along to finish off the weekend, so let’s dive in and round up the latest….

  • Pat Riley and the Heat have been “as aggressive as any team” so far in pursuing a Butler trade, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), who adds that Timberwolves ownership would still like to find a deal by early this week.
  • Noting that the Heat have long been fans of Butler, Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald confirm that the club is “aggressively” pursuing a trade for the 29-year-old. While Miami would likely be willing to give up Justise Winslow in a Butler deal, it’s not clear if the team would open to including Josh Richardson or Bam Adebayo, per the Herald report. As Jackson tweets, the Heat also wouldn’t be going after Butler unless they believed they could lock him up long-term.
  • The Timberwolves have told at least one interested team that they can get a good player back in a Butler deal, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. Wolfson also hears that the Raptors are interested in Butler.
  • Despite the Timberwolves‘ lack of leverage, they should be able to do pretty well in a trade, given the number of teams that view Butler as their potential difference-maker, opines Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune (via Twitter).