Bam Adebayo

Florida Notes: Chalmers, Knight, Bam, Lowry, Magic

Veteran point guard Mario Chalmers, fresh off a 10-day hardship exception contract with the Heat, has joined the club’s NBAGL affiliate club, the Sioux Fall Skyforce, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter link). Chalmers will be able to sign his next NBA contract with any team. Winderman adds that veteran point guard Brandon Knight, who enjoyed a more active 10-day hardship exception stint while with the Mavericks, has also rejoined the Skyforce.

Chalmers, 35, did not appear in an actual game during his Heat return stint. He has not played in an NBA contest since appearing in 66 games during the 2017/18 season while on the Grizzlies. The 6’2″ vet served as the starting point guard for Miami’s two most recent championship teams, during the 2011/12 and 2012/13 seasons. In three games with Dallas, Knight, who went to high school in Fort Lauderdale, averaged 10.0 PPG on 45% field goal shooting, along with 2.7 APG and 2.3 RPG.

There’s more out of the Sunshine State:

  • Sixth Man of the Year candidate Tyler Herro could get fairly pricey should the Heat want to offer him a contract extension when he becomes eligible this summer, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Jackson examines the impact a lucrative Herro deal would have on the club’s long-term payroll, and what it could mean for the team’s future tax payments. The 6’5″ reserve shooting guard, 22, is enjoying his best season as a pro during his third year with Miami, averaging a career-best 20.6 PPG and 4.1 APG, along with 4.9 RPG and 0.6 SPG. He boasts shooting splits of .428/.388/.870.
  • Heat center Bam Adebayo‘s teammates are excited for the big man to possibly make his return this week, writes Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. The 6’9″ big man, an All-Star in 2020, continues to recuperate from a thumb injury and is on track to play on Monday vs. Toronto. He has played in just 18 games this year, having last suited up on November 29. Chiang adds that veteran starting point guard Kyle Lowry, who has played at a borderline All-Star level with his new team, is ready to face off against his last NBA club, the Raptors, for the first time since departing in a sign-and-trade deal this summer. Lowry, 35, was a six-time All-Star with Toronto.
  • Healthy young Magic players were encouraged by the recent bench presence of several injured teammates, who traveled with the club during a recent 1-2 three-game road stint, writes Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel. “Once we get everybody healthy, we’re going to build something special over here,” second-year point guard Cole Anthony noted, a somewhat optimistic projection for the team with the worst record in the NBA (8-36). Pricey power forward Jonathan Isaac, who has been out with a torn ACL since August 2020, traveled with the team for the first time since his injury. The 24-year-old recently took part in a team shootaround, along with injured guards Markelle Fultz, Michael Carter-Williams and E’Twaun Moore, but has yet to take contact. Rookie guard Jalen Suggs, the fifth pick in the 2021 draft, was available for two games during the road swing, his first contests with the club since being sidelined by a thumb fracture on November 29.

Bam Adebayo Aiming To Return On Monday

Bam Adebayo, who hasn’t played for the Heat since November 29, is eyeing Monday’s game vs. Toronto for his return, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Adebayo underwent surgery on December 6 to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb. When the Heat announced the procedure a day later, they said Adebayo was expected to miss about four-to-six weeks. Monday will represent the six-week mark since the 24-year-old went under the knife.

Adebayo was having another strong season for Miami before sustaining his thumb injury, matching career highs with 18.7 PPG and 10.2 RPG through 18 games (32.9 MPG). However, the Heat have held up well without Adebayo in the lineup, despite losing more players for days or weeks at a time due to injuries or COVID-19.

Omer Yurtseven has emerged as a legitimate contributor in Adebayo’s absence, having started Miami’s last eight games at center. Before Adebayo went down, Yurtseven hadn’t played more than eight minutes in an NBA game. As a starter, he has put up 12.1 PPG, 14.6 RPG, and 3.0 APG. He has also grabbed double-digit rebounds in 12 consecutive games.

It’s probably safe to assume Yurtseven will return to the bench once Adebayo is ready to go, but his emergence – along with Dewayne Dedmon‘s solid play in his 11 games as the starting center – is great news for the Heat, who can be more confident in their frontcourt depth going forward.

Bam Adebayo Undergoes Thumb Surgery, Expected To Miss 4-6 Weeks

DECEMBER 7: Adebayo underwent surgery on Monday to repair the torn UCL in his right thumb and is expected to miss four-to-six weeks, the Heat confirmed today (via Twitter).

DECEMBER 1: Heat big man Bam Adebayo has sustained a torn UCL in his right thumb, according to a press release from the team. Adebayo will undergo surgery on the injury this weekend and has been ruled out indefinitely.

The Heat will have a better sense of Adebayo’s potential recovery timeline once the procedure is complete. The expectation for now is that he’ll be sidelined for approximately six weeks, tweets Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski suggests (via Twitter) that a four-to-six week recovery is possible, but Jeff Stotts of In Street Clothes notes (via Twitter) that no player has come back in less than five weeks from an in-season torn UCL repair.

Adebayo, 24, is the anchor of Miami’s defense and one of the team’s go-to scorers. In 18 games (32.9 MPG) so far this season, he has averaged 18.7 PPG, 10.2 RPG, and 3.2 APG with a .519 FG%.

The Heat have had bad injury luck against Denver so far this season. Forward Markieff Morris hasn’t played since the November 8 meeting between the two teams, having suffered whiplash when he was hit from behind by Nikola Jokic. Adebayo tore the UCL in his thumb during the Heat’s rematch vs. the Nuggets on Monday.

Morris and Dewayne Dedmon, who is currently day-to-day with a knee injury, would see an uptick in minutes during Adebayo’s absence if they’re available. P.J. Tucker could also take on an increased role, a backup big man like Udonis Haslem or Omer Yurtseven could start playing regular minutes.

Injury Notes: Adebayo, Jalen Green, Warren, McConnell, Towns, Porzingis

Heat star Bam Adebayo says he’s always been a positive person, but after learning of the thumb injury that will sideline him for roughly six weeks, he understandably had a tough day on Wednesday, Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald relays.

I’m not the type of person that will put out negative energy. So I always think positive. But today was a downer,” Adebayo said after watching Wednesday’s lopsided loss to the Cavaliers. “But for these six weeks, I can’t change nothing about it. That’s my only option.”

Coach Erik Spoelstra says there’s no way to replace what Adebayo does for Miami and the team needs to weather the storm until it gets healthier.

We need a little bit of time just to assess everything and formulate a new plan, a new direction,” Spoelstra said. “… Collectively as a group, we’ll make the necessary adjustments. When you lose an All-Star player, it’s never easy. But this is the league.

When I look around the league, I see a lot of teams dealing with injuries and guys out and guys coming back. There’s a lot of that going on right now and we just have to weather the storm and recalibrate and figure out a new plan, new direction, which our guys are very capable of doing.

Here are some more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • Rockets coach Stephen Silas says rookie Jalen Green isn’t close to returning from his strained hamstring, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “Nothing really new,” Silas said on Friday. “He is still injured. He is progressing in a good manner but slowly. We’re just going to continue to evaluate week-by-week. But he’s not going to play any time soon.”
  • Pacers guard T.J. McConnell, who was previously said to be out “a while,” is wearing a cast and is now expected to be out for “weeks, not days” according to coach Rick Carlisle, the team announced (via Twitter). The Pacers also tweeted that T.J. Warren will not be playing in December, per Carlisle. He will have more scans on his foot at the end of month or in early January. Warren has yet to play a game this season after playing in just four games last season.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns missed Friday’s game for the Timberwolves with a tailbone contusion, the team announced (Twitter link). Towns had a hard fall late Wednesday night. He did warm up for the game, which is a good sign that it should be a short-term injury.
  • Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis was also sidelined for Friday’s game, per a team public relations announcement (via Twitter). He has a knee contusion. It’s unclear how long he might be out.

Southeast Notes: Ball, Hachimura, Okongwu, Adebayo

Hornets coach James Borrego meets individually with LaMelo Ball at least twice a week to go over details that will aid the point guard’s development, Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer writes. They are especially focused on reducing turnovers and fouls.

“It’s really about decision-making,” Borrego said. “That’s really it. ‘What are you seeing here? What are your reads here? What are you thinking on this play offensively, defensively?’ Some of it is accountability, some of it is simply, ‘You are in the right position, you are not in the right position.’ I show him positives, I show him areas of growth. It’s not all areas of concern for me.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Wizards forward Rui Hachimura is expected to begin training with the Capital City Go-Go in the G League next week, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington reports. Hachimura hasn’t played this season due to personal reasons and the Wizards are hopeful he’ll soon return to their rotation. The focus right now is mainly about getting his conditioning up to speed.
  • Hawks second-year forward Onyeka Okongwu has ramped up his activity as he seeks to return from shoulder surgery, he told Sarah Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  The 2020 lottery pick is hopeful he can get back in action sometime next month. “I feel stronger. Legs feel stronger, I’m getting my upper-body muscles back, and everything’s going well right now,” he said. “You could say that I’m definitely on track; my goal is still to come back in December, but I’m not going to rush or anything.”
  • Heat center Bam Adebayo admits the team was worn out by the time the playoffs came around last season, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Miami was swept by the Bucks in the opening round. “We are more solution-based and trying to figure out how to get it done rather than, ‘Here is our excuses to why we can’t get it done,’” Adebayo said. “But after the season, looking back at it, you was like, ‘Nah, we were broken.’”

Injury Notes: Nuggets, Gay, Claxton, Adebayo

Nuggets guard Austin Rivers says forward Michael Porter Jr. was playing through back pain the entire season before being sidelined due to the issue, according to Mike Singer of The Denver Post.

He’s 23 years old,” Rivers said following Monday night’s loss to Dallas. “He’s just gotta take care of himself and get himself right physically and that way mentally he can come to the court playing the way that we know he can play. He’s playing hurt this whole season. It’s hard to do that. Hopefully he comes back soon because he’s a huge part of our team.”

Singer notes that the back problems could explain Porter Jr.’s slow start to the season. The Nuggets have been vague on updating MPJ’s status after saying he’ll be out for the “foreseeable future.”

Here are some more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • In a separate article, Singer writes that Nuggets guard Monte Morris has been playing through a nagging leg injury this season, but Morris says it’s finally starting to improve. “Today was the first time I was able to do (player development) probably since the second Memphis game (on Nov. 3), so I haven’t even been able to do that,” Morris said. “I’ve been getting treatment and just playing in games. I’m starting to feel better. Been able to play without pain and stuff like that.” Singer also notes that Will Barton, who’s been dealing with back soreness, has been improving, but is listed is doubtful for Thursday’s game, while Zeke Nnaji is out with a sprained ankle.
  • Rudy Gay could make his season debut Thursday for the Jazz. The team listed him as probable on its injury report tonight (Twitter link). Gay has been recovering from offseason heel surgery.
  • It doesn’t sound like Nicolas Claxton will be returning to the Nets‘ lineup anytime soon, tweets Brian Lewis of the New York Post. According to Lewis, coach Steve Nash said that, “Nic (Claxton) has a ways to go. He’s really got to work on his conditioning.” Claxton had been dealing with a non-COVID illness.
  • Heat star Bam Adebayo is getting a night off for injury maintenance on a bruised knee, tweets Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Per Chiang, coach Erik Spoelstra says that it will be “really beneficial” for Bam to get rest and treatment in order to reduce swelling in the knee.

Heat Notes: Herro, Okpala, Adebayo, Spoelstra, Olympics

Heat guard Tyler Herro is off to an electric start to the preseason, increasing the hype around the 21-year-old entering his third NBA campaign, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes.

Herro has scored 26, 24 and 26 points in his first three games, respectively, shooting 28-of-50 from the field (56%). Miami will depend on his scoring off the bench as it looks to compete for a title this season.

“He has really improved all across the board,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “His skill level is extremely high. He has really worked at it. This is a league that’s becoming a league of skill and he’s developing into one of the most skilled players in this league. You can see he gets where he needs to get. He can get to different levels on the floor. So, it’s a very good start for him.”

There’s more out of Miami today:

  • The clock is ticking on forward KZ Okpala, who’s also entering his third season with the organization, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. The Heat traded three second-round picks to acquire Okpala on the night of the 2019 NBA Draft, but the 22-year-old has played just 42 games in the last two seasons. Okpala is expected to play behind Max Strus and Markieff Morris as a third-string player to start the season.
  • The team’s game against San Antonio on Friday served as a reunion for Bam Adebayo, Erik Spoelstra and Gregg Popovich, Chiang writes in a different piece for the Miami Herald. Adebayo played for Popovich last summer on Team USA, while Spoelstra served as head coach of the select team. “It was an amazing basketball and life experience,” Spoelstra said. “I’ve admired Pop, like everybody in this business, for years. To be able to see him behind the scenes in that setting was like a Master’s class in coaching and also human being relations. It’s amazing how he makes everybody feel like they have a role, that they matter and he has a great way of making the entire room feel inclusive.”
  • Ira Winderman examines whether Tyler Herro has already cemented his role this season in his latest mailbag for the Sun Sentinel. In addition to using Herro as a sixth man, Miami has also given him some minutes at point guard when Kyle Lowry sits during the preseason.

Heat Notes: Lowry, Power Forwards, Martin, Camp Questions

New Heat starting point guard Kyle Lowry is looking forward to building an on-court relationship with incumbent stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

Lowry, a six-time All-Star and 2019 title winner with the Raptors, inked a three-year, $85MM contract with Miami in a sign-and-trade deal this summer. Butler and Lowry have been friends since winning a Gold medal together for Team USA in the 2016 Olympics. Lowry is the godfather to Butler’s daughter.

“Having that common interest in the love of the game and how hard we work and how much we want to win, that was the first thing of us being on the same page,” Lowry explained of the origins of his relationship with the All-NBA swingman.

Lowry also expressed excitement about what Adebayo brings to the floor. “Bam can handle the ball,” Lowry raved. “He can make plays, super athletic. He’s high energy. He’s competitive.” Lowry expects that his own facilitating abilities will benefit the big man. The 35-year-old hopes that he can help Adebayo “be in better spots” and get “easier looks, layups and dunks.”

There’s more out of South Beach:

  • Questions remain about how much three-point shooting the Heat will be able to get out of their power forward corps, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. The team’s two new power forward additions, recent champions P.J. Tucker and Markieff Morris, have seen their long-range output dip recently. Tucker, 36, is a career 35.9% shooter, but his shooting fell to 32.2% from deep during the Bucks’ 2021 playoff run. Morris connected on 38.6% of his 3.9 triples per game with the Pistons and Lakers during the 2019/20 season, but saw that number fall to 31.1% in 2020/21. KZ Okpala and re-signed big man Dewayne Dedmon could also see time at the power forward position alongside starting Adebayo in Miami’s frontcourt, though both have been unreliable from long range. Dedmon had two seasons with the Hawks, in 2017/18 and 2018/19, in which he averaged 35.5% or better on a decent volume of three point attempts, but has not connected on more than 21% of his threes in a single season since. Seven-footer Omer Yurtseven, meanwhile, is a solid three-point shooter, but Jackson wonders if the Heat will trust him enough to give him meaningful minutes in their rotation.
  • With training camp just around the corner, new two-way player Caleb Martin will do his darnedest to prove his mettle as a candidate for legitimate Heat roster minutes, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel“At the end of the day, regardless if I’m on a two-way or if I was on an Exhibit 10, it doesn’t matter,” Martin said. “I’m just coming into training camp to try to play the best basketball I can and contribute any way I can and impact enough in a way to where I earn minutes.”
  • The Heat are figuring out rotational questions for the fringes of their roster ahead of training camp, says Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Winderman notes that, in the absence of Kendrick Nunn (now with the Lakers) and Goran Dragic (traded to the Raptors as part of the Lowry deal), Gabe Vincent looks like he will begin the season as the Heat’s prime backup point guard. 6’5″ backup shooting guard Tyler Herro could see an uptick in ball handling duties. The rotational fate of forward Okpala, on the last season of a three-year deal, could be figured out in the club’s preseason. Winderman anticipates that Micah Potter, Javonte Smart, Dru Smith and D.J. Stewart will have plenty to prove in the preseason, though they will most likely spend the majority of the 2021/22 season with the Heat’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce. Each player will hope to intrigue the Heat enough in training camp to encourage a call-up to Miami during the season.

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.”