Bam Adebayo

Heat Notes: Adebayo, Jovic, Robinson, Butler, Herro, Tax Concerns

The current road trip is turning into a disaster for the short-handed Heat, but Sunday’s loss at Cleveland gave coach Erik Spoelstra a chance to experiment with a new lineup combination, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. First-round pick Nikola Jovic played 17 minutes alongside Bam Adebayo, giving the team two big men who are known for their passing skills.

Although the pairing didn’t get off to a great start — Miami was outscored by four points in their time on the court together — it may be a combination that Spoelstra turns to more often in the future. Adebayo attributed the early struggles to “growing pains” and said he enjoys being partnered with Jovic.

“I feel like with two passing bigs, we can feed off each other,” Adebayo said. “As you can see, (Jovic is) showing he can get in the gaps, he can see stuff. Just working with two guys that can pass, who are versatile, I feel like it makes our offense better.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • The last thing Miami needed was another injury, but Duncan Robinson limped off the court in the fourth quarter after spraining his left ankle, Chiang states in a separate story. Robinson played 21 minutes after missing Friday’s game with a sprained right hand, but he had to leave Sunday’s contest after stepping on another player’s foot. Spoelstra said Robinson’s status for tonight’s game in Minnesota is uncertain.
  • The Heat got some good news about Jimmy Butler, who had to return to Miami over the weekend due to right knee soreness, Chiang adds. Tests on Butler’s knee showed no damage, and there’s a chance he could return Wednesday or Friday. Tyler Herro has missed the past seven games with a sprained left ankle, and Spoelstra said, “He’s not quite ready.” 
  • Miami had just seven healthy players on Friday and 10 on Sunday, but luxury tax concerns have prevented the team from filling its open roster spot, Chiang explains in another piece. The Heat are about $200K below the threshold and can’t add another player right now without becoming a taxpaying team. Even a small tax payment this season would have repeater tax ramifications going forward — the team projects to be a taxpayer in upcoming years after signing Herro to a large extension last month.

Heat Notes: Lowry, Zone Defense, Injury Report

With the Heat facing an extensive injury list for Friday’s game at Washington, Kyle Lowry told the coaching staff he was good for 48 minutes if needed, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Lowry wound up playing even more than that, logging 51 minutes and posting a triple-double in a one-point overtime loss.

Lowry’s only rest during the 53 minutes of action came with about a minute left in the third quarter. He returned a minute into the fourth quarter, but Miami was outscored by five points during that time, which proved to be critical.

“It was kind of one of those situations that you got to do what it takes to win the basketball game,” said Lowry, who posted the third-highest minutes total of his long career. “Coach trusted me a lot. He trusted me tonight. He’s always trusted me, but tonight before I walked into the building, I said: ‘48 [minutes].’ I got to 50.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • Injuries have been a problem all season, and coach Erik Spoelstra is relying on a zone defense more than usual to compensate, Chiang adds. Miami used a 2-3 zone on 63 possessions Friday night and has played a zone 21.4% of the time this season, which would easily set a modern NBA record. “You got to do what you got to do,” Lowry said. “We were the Syracuse Heat tonight.”
  • After having just seven available players Friday, the Heat may get some reinforcements for Sunday’s game at Cleveland, Chiang notes in a separate story. Bam Adebayo, who has missed the past two games with a left knee contusion, is listed as questionable, as are Dewayne Dedmon, who’s suffering from a non-COVID illness, and Gabe Vincent, who has a left knee effusion. Jimmy Butler has been ruled out for the final two games of the road trip, and Duncan Robinson is doubtful due to a sprained right hand he suffered during Friday’s shootaround. Udonis Haslem, Tyler Herro, Victor Oladipo and Omer Yurtseven all remain unavailable.
  • Following a 7-9 start, the Heat have limited options for improvement other than an unwise trade involving draft picks, states Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Some suggestions Winderman offers include more minutes for first-round pick Nikola Jovic and restoring Herro to his sixth-man role.

Jimmy Butler Out At Least Three Games With Knee Soreness

After being ruled out of Friday’s game at Washington with knee soreness, Heat star Jimmy Butler is expected to return to Miami on Saturday and miss upcoming road games at Cleveland on Sunday and at Minnesota on Monday as well, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel reports (via Twitter).

The Heat are absolutely decimated by injuries at the moment. Victor Oladipo (knee tendinosis) and Omer Yurtseven (ankle surgery) have yet to play this season; Udonis Haslem is away from the team for personal reasons; Tyler Herro (ankle) and Dewayne Dedmon (non-COVID illness) are both out Friday; Gabe Vincent was initially not on the injury report but experienced swelling in his knee after today’s shootaround and has subsequently been ruled out; Duncan Robinson caught his hand in a jersey during shootaround and will miss his first career game due to injury; and finally, Bam Adebayo is out Friday after previously being listed as questionable (All Twitter links via Winderman).

That leaves just Kyle Lowry, Max Strus, Caleb Martin, Haywood Highsmith and Nikola Jovic available out of the 14-man standard roster, plus two-way rookies Jamal Cain and Orlando Robinson for a total of seven healthy players. According to Winderman (Twitter link), the Heat plan to list Vincent as active despite being ruled out to meet the minimum requirement of eight players in uniform.

On a positive note, there’s a chance Herro could return Sunday against the Cavs, Winderman tweets. Friday will market his sixth straight absence due to a left ankle sprain.

The Heat are currently 7-8, the No. 10 seed in the East.

Injury Updates: Magic, Bulls, Celtics, Raptors, Heat, Hayward, More

The Magic will be getting some reinforcements for Friday’s game in Chicago, according to Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. Veteran guard Gary Harris has been cleared to make his regular season debut following offseason arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, Price reports. Additionally, starting center Wendell Carter Jr. will be back in the lineup after missing Wednesday’s game due to a strained right plantar fascia.

Orlando’s opponents also got some good injury-related news on Friday. As Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago writes, Bulls guard Coby White (left quad contusion) and forward Patrick Williams (right ankle sprain) both said at Friday’s shootaround that they’ll be able to play against the Magic. White has missed the last eight games as a result of his injury; Williams sprained his ankle on Wednesday, but it appears the injury won’t cost him any games.

Here are several more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • As expected, Celtics guard Malcolm Brogdon will be available on Friday vs. New Orleans after missing four games with a hamstring injury. However, the team announced that Marcus Smart (right ankle inflammation) will miss a second straight game (Twitter link).
  • The already shorthanded Raptors will be missing Gary Trent Jr. and Chris Boucher on Saturday vs. Atlanta due to non-COVID illnesses, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca. However, Eric Koreen of The Athletic tweets that Dalano Banton‘s ankle sprain isn’t as serious as initially feared and Pascal Siakam (adductor strain) has resumed on-court activity. Another update on Siakam is expected in a week or so, Koreen adds.
  • Heat star Jimmy Butler (knee soreness) has been ruled out for Friday’s game against Washington and it’s possible that Bam Adebayo (knee contusion) won’t be available either, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Adebayo is currently listed as questionable.
  • Hornets forward Gordon Hayward, who has been on the shelf since November 2 due to a left shoulder contusion, has been upgraded from doubtful to questionable for Friday’s game vs. Cleveland, according to the team (Twitter link).
  • Pacers sharpshooter Chris Duarte isn’t expected to be available during the team’s upcoming four-game home stand, but could return from his ankle sprain at some point in the subsequent seven-game road trip, tweets Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. That trip begins on November 27 and runs through December 7.
  • Sixers guard Jaden Springer, currently assigned to the Delaware Blue Coats in the G League, will miss at least one week due to a right quadriceps strain, tweets Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com.

Heat Injury Updates: Oladipo, Herro, Yurtseven, Adebayo, Dedmon

Victor Oladipo is traveling with the Heat during their four-game road trip, which starts with Wednesday’s contest at Toronto, but that was more about helping him feel involved with the team rather than an indication that a return is imminent, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. The veteran shooting guard has yet to play in the 2022/23 regular season due to left knee tendonosis, and his future availability remains murky.

Just time will tell,” Oladipo said when asked about a return timetable. “When I feel right and everybody’s on the same page, then I’ll be ready to play.”

According to Chiang, Oladipo acknowledged that the injury may have been a result of “overwork,” which head coach Erik Spoelstra previously characterized as “overcompensation.” The 30-year-old has undergone a couple of right knee surgeries in the past few years, and apparently put extra strain on his other leg while ramping up to play this season.

I think it’s more of a making-sure thing, and then taking the proper steps before going out there, instead of just going out there recklessly,” Oladipo said when asked if pain remains in his left knee. “As long as we’re all on the same page, we’re trying to make sure that I get out there as safely and as great as possible. That’s what we’re working on.”

Here a few more health-related updates on the Heat:

  • Wednesday marks the fifth straight game that Tyler Herro will miss with a left ankle sprain. Spoelstra said the starting guard is considered day-to-day and it’s “a possibility” that he could return at some point during the road trip, per Chiang.
  • Second-year center Omer Yurtseven, a restricted free agent this summer, underwent left ankle surgery Tuesday. Spoelstra commented on his status Wednesday, as Chiang relays. “He really tried to manage and fight through it,” Spoelstra. “It’s admirable that he was trying to do that. If he was like me or you and just walking around, you can get away with it. But if you’re trying to play NBA basketball games at the highest level, it’s something that you for sure have to take care of. It was successful and the prognosis looks good. I don’t have a definitive timeline. But everything that everybody has told me, after some rest and some rehab and the appropriate time to build it back up, he will be available at some point this season.”
  • According to Chiang, starting center Bam Adebayo was downgraded from questionable to out Wednesday due to a left knee contusion. Spoelstra said Adebayo is day-to-day after bruising his knee a few games ago, tweets Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.
  • On a positive note, backup center Dewayne Dedmon (left foot plantar fasciitis) is officially listed as questionable Wednesday, but Spoelstra said he’s likely to play, according to Winderman (Twitter link).

Team USA Rumors: Young, Beal, Allen, Embiid

Under former USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo, continuity was a top priority for the men’s national team. Colangelo required players to make two-year commitments to the program, maintained a pool of about 40 Team USA players, and conducted training camps in summers when there was no major international competition.

However, as Joe Vardon of The Athletic details, new managing director Grant Hill has decided to take a different approach, having concluded – along with new Team USA head coach Steve Kerr – that it’s not realistic to expect NBA superstars to commit back-to-back summers to the national program.

The plan for Team USA is to spend the next several months, into the spring, building the team that will represent the country at the World Cup in the Philippines next fall. USA Basketball will then repeat that process the following year in preparation for the 2024 Olympics in Paris, Vardon writes.

While it remains to be seen which players will ultimately suit up for Team USA at those two events, Vardon’s article includes some additional info on potential candidates. Here are some highlights:

  • Hawks star Trae Young has long wanted to play for Team USA at a World Cup or Olympics, but hasn’t gotten the chance to do so yet. He’s optimistic he’ll get that chance now that Hill – a minority owner of the Hawks – is so involved in the process. “It’s exciting, knowing someone who has more of a say,” Young told Vardon.
  • Wizards star Bradley Beal missed the last World Cup due to the birth of his son and also had to sit out of the Olympics after contracting COVID-19, but he’s interested in playing for the team going forward. “I definitely see myself playing for USA,” Beal told Vardon. “That’s always been a goal of mine, obviously to play in the Olympics, but there’s a step to get there (the World Cup). So if it’s available to me, for sure.”
  • Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen is receiving “heavy consideration” from Team USA officials, according to Vardon. Allen would be interested if he’s invited to take part, telling Vardon he would “take a lot of pride in representing us on a stage in front of the world.”
  • Confirming a previous report from Marc Stein, Vardon says Team USA is very interested in Joel Embiid, a native of Cameroon who has French and U.S. citizenship. USA Basketball hasn’t begun a formal recruitment of Embiid, but doesn’t want to see him join a French frontcourt that already features Rudy Gobert and Victor Wembanyama.
  • Jayson Tatum, Bam Adebayo, Devin Booker, Khris Middleton, and Zach LaVine are among the players who won gold with Team USA in Tokyo and would be welcomed back if they want to play in the 2023 World Cup, says Vardon.

Heat Notes: Oladipo, Strus, Haslem, Adebayo

There are health concerns regarding Victor Oladipo as the Heat prepare for their season opener, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Oladipo was held out of today’s practice due to left knee tendonosis and may not be able to play Wednesday night. The team’s official injury report will be released later this afternoon.

Miami will proceed cautiously with Oladipo, who has undergone two surgeries on his right knee in a little more than three years. Even though this condition affects his other knee, there is speculation that it may be related to his injury history.

“When you really start to ramp it up, there’s still a little bit of overcompensation and a lot of load on the other leg,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Everybody downstairs feels like this is the normal process. I know how badly he wants to be out there right now. But we’re looking at this big picture still and we don’t want to skip steps. We want to make sure his body is feeling great and so things like this don’t linger.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • After earning a starting role in late March, Max Strus will have to get used to coming off the bench again, Chiang adds. Strus spent the preseason working on his fit with the reserves. “I would imagine I would be more aggressive in the second unit because I’m not playing with Jimmy (Butler), Kyle (Lowry), Bam (Adebayo). Maybe I’ll look for my shot a little more,” Strus said. “But I am still going to play the same way I always do, get everybody else involved and find my shots throughout the offense.”
  • Strus may be the only bench player with regular minutes every night, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Roles for Dewayne Dedmon, Duncan Robinson and Haywood Highsmith could depend on matchups, and Spoelstra may go back and forth between Oladipo and Gabe Vincent in the backcourt. First-round pick Nikola Jovic will have to prove he’s ready to contribute right away.
  • Udonis Haslem has been the Heat’s inspirational leader for most of his 20-year career, but he’s getting ready to pass the torch, Chiang states in a separate story. As Haslem prepares for his final NBA season, the 42-year-old believes Adebayo is ready to take on that leadership role. “He can have it now. It’s time for him,” Haslem said. “… We’ve had these conversations about physically, vocally, emotionally. I think it’s time for him.”

Heat Notes: Herro, Martin, Adebayo, D. Smith, Garrett

The Heat unveiled their new-look starting lineup for the first time this preseason in Wednesday’s victory over the Pelicans, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Tyler Herro and Caleb Martin have joined Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo in the first unit and they were impressive in their first outing, outscoring New Orleans 60-48 in the 20 minutes they were on the court together.

Herro, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, has the starting job that he said he wanted after the end of last season. His future in Miami is secure after receiving a contract extension that could be worth $130MM over four years, and he’s ready to take on a slightly different role in the offense.

“Having Jimmy, Kyle, Bam out there with me allows me to play off the ball a little bit more,” Herro said. “It allows me to just be a spacer. If I’m open, they kick to me and I just knock it down or play out of a close-out. It’s hard to guard me when guys are closing out to me.”

Martin moved into the starting role that opened when P.J. Tucker left for Philadelphia in free agency. He’s undersized for the power forward position, but he’s athletic enough to be an asset on a team that switches frequently on defense.

“I think Caleb has been doing exceptionally well,” Butler said. “I’m talking about switching, making shots, being aggressive, being a great teammate. It’s tough to do what P.J. does, but I think Caleb does it extremely well.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • The Heat want Adebayo to assume a larger role in the offense, and his preseason numbers are pointing in that direction, Chiang tweets. Per 36 minutes, Adebayo averaged 31 points on 19.4 shots and 12.1 free throws in three games, compared to 21.1 points, 14.4 field goal attempts and 6.7 foul shots last season.
  • Signing Dru Smith to a two-way contract is likely the team’s last personnel move before the start of the season, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. However, he notes that five players held two-way deals with Miami in 2021/22, so those spots could change as the season progresses.
  • The decision to waive Marcus Garrett was related to his fractured wrist, but his role with the team was already shaky because his offense hasn’t improved, Winderman adds. Once Garrett recovers, the Heat may consider sending him to the G League or bringing him back in a two-way role.

Heat Notes: Herro, Cap Outlook, Adebayo, Yurtseven

When the Heat signed Tyler Herro to a long-term deal on Sunday, this year’s rookie scale extension deadline was still over two weeks away. But Herro told reporters, including Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald, that he was happy with the Heat’s offer and didn’t feel the need to take negotiations down to the wire to try to squeeze out a few more million.

“It was a number I couldn’t pass up,” Herro said. “It wasn’t worth going into restricted free agency. And at the end of the day, this is where I want to be. … So it made sense.”

Herro’s new contract has a base value of $120MM and can technically be worth up to $130MM, but his incentives won’t be easy to achieve. As Anil Gogna of NoTradeClause.com details (via Twitter), Herro’s various bonuses are tied to being named to an All-NBA team, winning the MVP, and/or being named Defensive Player of the Year.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • With Herro locked up for the next five seasons, the Heat will face a cap crunch going forward, according to Chiang and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. As The Herald’s duo observes, any major roster addition Miami makes in the next few years will likely have to come via trade, since the team won’t have any cap room available anytime soon, barring some major roster reshuffling. Re-signing Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, and/or Omer Yurtseven beyond 2022/23 will only push team salary further over the cap (and the tax line), Chiang and Jackson note.
  • After playing Bam Adebayo and Yurtseven together for just 18 total minutes last season, head coach Erik Spoelstra had the duo on the floor for 20 minutes in the Heat’s preseason opener on Tuesday, showing that he’s committed to determining whether the frontcourt pairing can work, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. “They’re not going to play this many minutes together (during the season), if they play together. We’ll figure that part out,” Spoelstra said. “But that takes more time than some of the space or speed lineups. That’s why we’re dedicating time to that now in the preseason and in training camp.”
  • Spoelstra intends to continue using the preseason as a time to experiment with different lineup combinations, telling reporters that he’s “open to whatever” as he gets a sense of what works and what doesn’t, per Winderman. “We view all of this as training camp until we get to that Chicago game,” Spoelstra said, referring to Miami’s first game of the regular season on October 19.

Southeast Notes: Clifford, Yurtseven, Wright, Hurricane

In his second stint as the Hornets‘ head coach, Steve Clifford says that individual agendas have to be put aside if they want to be more than just a play-in team, Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer writes.

“We have to be more selfless,” Hornets forward Kelly Oubre said. “We noticed that last year, that when we tried to go out and do things on our own it doesn’t work out as well as it would if we all did it together. So, coach talked about sacrificing some parts of our game to win and winning is the only option. Winning is what we practice and work hard for and we need to consistently do that to show that we are a serious team.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Omer Yurtseven has been putting up hundreds of 3-point shots during the offseason and he hopes that will convince Heat coach Erik Spoelstra to play him alongside Bam Adebayo at times, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “We haven’t had the discussion, but I feel like it is in the plans,” Yurtseven said. “In pickup [games], we’ve started that rhythm that we have with each other. Training camp is going to be the real proving grounds.”
  • Delon Wright joined the Wizards on a two-year, $16MM contract in free agency. Part of their recruiting pitch was the desire to improve their backcourt defense, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington“When (coach Wes Unseld Jr.) and (GM Tommy Sheppard) called me in free agency, they told me about the need for defense. The team struggled last year defensively and I feel like I’m going to help the team get better at that,” Wright said.
  • The Magic have to alter their practice plans this week due to Hurricane Ian, Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel reports. The players are concerned about the deteriorating weather conditions. “We just talked about it,” big man Franz Wagner said. “Obviously, I’m nervous because I’ve never experienced anything like this. Just trying to listen to everybody here, what they’re telling us and making sure we have everything at home. Trying to be safe.” Wednesday’s practice has already been called off, Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press tweets.