Dion Waiters

Southeast Notes: McDaniels, Waiters, Wagner, Fultz

Rookie forward Jalen McDaniels‘ contract with the Hornets is a non-guaranteed one-year contract with an Exhibit 10 provision, John Hollinger of The Athletic reports. McDaniels, a second-round selection, didn’t come to an agreement with Charlotte until Thursday.

While McDaniels could make the opening-night roster, it’s quite possible he’ll be waived and end up in the G League via the Exhibit 10, according to Hollinger. If so, the Hornets will lose their NBA rights to him and another team could sign him at any time, though no one besides Charlotte can sign McDaniels to a two-way contract this season.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • It’s still undecided whether Dion Waiters will start or come off the bench for the Heat this season, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets. Waiters is still working his way back into top shape, Jackson adds. Waiters, whose contract runs through the 2020/21 season, was limited to 44 games last season after recovering from ankle surgery and faces a logjam at the wing positions.
  • Second-year big man Moritz Wagner sees Washington as an ideal place to establish himself, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. Acquired from the Lakers this summer, Wagner is in the mix for playing time in the Wizards‘ frontcourt after playing sparingly in Los Angeles as a rookie. “They are trying to develop something new and establish a winning culture,” he said. “Everyone here is part of that, it’s brand new. As a young player, that’s what you want.”
  • Magic guard Markelle Fultz appears to be playing with confidence and letting his combination of size, athleticism, and instincts help establish himself in the league, according to Dan Devine of The Ringer, who provides a detailed examination of Fultz’s preseason performances.

Heat Notes: Macon, Mulder, Butler, Bonuses

Point guard Daryl Macon appears to be the favorite to get the 20th invitation to the Heat‘s training camp, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Macon played for Miami’s Summer League team last year after going undrafted, but turned down the Heat’s offer of an Exhibit 10 contract to sign a two-way deal with the Mavericks. He got into eight games with Dallas, but spent most of the season with the Texas Legends in the G League.

The Mavs waived him in July, and he has spent the past two weeks doing on-court work with the Heat, a source tells Jackson. If Macon does join the team for camp, he will be part of a six-way competition for the two-way contract slots, along with big men Kyle Alexander and Chris Silva, swingman Davon Reed, combo guard Jeremiah Martin and shooting guard Mychal Mulder. Those who aren’t signed will likely be ticketed for the organization’s G League team in Sioux Falls. Jackson notes that because of hard cap restrictions, the Heat can’t sign any of those six players to standard contracts.

There’s more from Miami, all courtesy of Jackson:

  • Bam Adebayo had advance knowledge that the Heat were going to sign Mulder, his former teammate at Kentucky. Mulder is an intriguing physical prospect because although he stands just 6’4″, his hands are larger than Adebayo’s and he has a 44-inch vertical leap. He averaged 13.7 PPG and shot 41.3% on 3-pointers in the G League last season with Windy City. “That’s one of my guys. I kind of knew before he knew,” Adebayo said. “I gave him like a heads up, just so he wouldn’t be surprised or he didn’t expect something.”
  • Appearing on Zach Lowe’s ESPN podcast, J.J. Redick raved about his experiences with former Sixers teammate Jimmy Butler, whom the Heat acquired in a four-team deal as the centerpiece of their offseason. “I love Jimmy and would play with Jimmy again,” Redick said. “I don’t know how much longer I’m going to play basketball, but if there was ever an opportunity to link up with him again, I’d be happy to jump on board with that. He is, I think, in the upper tier of two-way players and really in the upper tier of offensive players, period. … The narrative about Jimmy being a bad guy, I just don’t buy it. It’s not true.”
  • Jackson also passes along a note from ESPN’s Bobby Marks about contract incentives that could raise Miami’s tax bill. Dion Waiters would get a $1.2MM bonus for playing at least 70 games, while Kelly Olynyk has a $400K incentive for reaching the playoffs and another $1.4MM if he plays 1,700 minutes. If all those marks are reached, the Heat’s bill will rise from $3.8MM to $8.3MM.

Southeast Notes: Winslow, Chalmers, Isaac, Wall

The Heat will need to use Justise Winslow at either point guard or power forward to optimize their other main wing options, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel opines in his latest mailbag. Putting Winslow at the ‘one’ or ‘four’ would allow coach Erik Spoelstra to play rookie Tyler Herro and Dion Waiters more often with the team’s top player, Jimmy Butler. If Winslow ends up playing regularly at small forward, Spoelstra would have to choose between Herro and Waiters as a mainstay in the rotation, Winderman adds.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • A reunion between the Heat and point guard Mario Chalmers is unlikely at this point, Winderman writes in another mailbag post. Chalmers, 33, is aiming for an NBA comeback after playing in Italy last season. However, even if the Heat are interested, they’d have to release Kendrick Nunn in order to create a roster spot for Chalmers since the team is hard-capped, Winderman notes.
  • Entering his third season, Magic forward Jonathan Isaac is brimming with optimism over his team’s future after it reached the playoffs last season. Isaac likes the team’s continuity after it re-signed key free agents Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross, as he told John Denton of the team’s website. “We’re all hyped up for the season,’” he said. “And I’m sure as guys get together and start playing again, we’ll have more of those talks about, ‘Hey, we can go even farther than we did last (season).'”
  • The Wizards are closely monitoring John Wall‘s rehab process as he works his way back from a ruptured Achilles, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington reports. They are even providing owner Ted Leonsis with daily progress reports. “I used to start my day reading the Washington Post. Now I start my day reading [and watching] my daily John Wall exercise video,” Leonsis told Hughes.

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Waiters, Heat, Leonsis

The Wizards are eyeing their own version of load management with a new commitment to sports science this season, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post writes.

Washington hired the likes of Dr. Daniel Medina and Mark Simpson in preparation, Buckner notes, with the team also creating the Monumental Basketball Athlete Care and Performance department to help monitor the workloads of each active player on the year.

“I think we did a good job in the past,” GM Tommy Sheppard said of managing players’ minutes. “I just think there are opportunities to add to that and certainly that’s what Danny’s expertise and Mark’s expertise will blend very well. It’s really trying to individualize a lot more.”

The Wizards have worked hard to protect superstar Bradley Beal in recent seasons, with the 26-year-old not missing a single game over the past two years. Beal led the league in minutes per game with 36.9 last season, however, leaving Sheppard and others to take all factors into consideration.

“The fact that he was able to perform at the level that he did, I think proves that [he was healthy]. Now, can we bring his minutes down? Sure. But is it the right thing to do? Is that the best thing for Bradley? Is it the best thing for the Wizards?” Sheppard said. “What I think is exciting about the staff we have assembled and the people that we’re blending in, that’s for everybody, the collective, to come up with. That’s where we are right now. We haven’t made any conclusions yet.” 

There’s more from the Southeast Division tonight:

  • The Heat could greatly benefit from having the old Dion Waiters back to form this season, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. Waiters, who averaged 15.8 points in 46 games with Miami during the 2016/17 season, received a career-low 25.9 minutes in his 44 contests last season. He’s mostly dealt with injuries in recent years, causing him to miss over half of his games in a Heat uniform.
  • In a separate article for the Sun Sentinel, Ira Winderman ponders whether the Heat will continue scanning the market for a leading man after acquiring Jimmy Butler in a sign-and-trade with Philadelphia this offseason. Miami has long been linked to Bradley Beal, though the Wizards have maintained he’s off limits in trade conversations.
  • Wizards owner Ted Leonsis called a number of people for advice before organizing the team’s new basketball operations department, Candace Buckner details for the Washington Post. Leonsis spoke with the likes of Gregg Popovich, Adam Silver, Barack Obama and 75 others involved in business and professional sports, Buckner notes.

Eastern Notes: Harris, Satoransky, Leonsis, Heat

Nets shooting guard Joe Harris could double his salary in free agency next summer, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic. Harris will make $7.67MM during the upcoming season and Scotto notes that veteran shooting guards received well above that figure in free agency this summer. Danny Green signed a two-year, $30MM deal with the Lakers while J.J. Redick got a two-year, $26.5MM contract with the Pelicans.

Harris might get even more, as Scotto points out that several other comparable shooting guards are making between $17.2MM and $20MM this season. The Nets hold Harris’ Bird Rights, giving them the inside track on signing him.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Tomas Satoransky‘s price tag became too much to bear for the Wizards in restricted free agency, as Fred Katz of The Athletic details. The Bulls offered him a three-year, $30MM contract and Washington felt that was too much for a player who’d be a backup once John Wall returned from his Achilles injury. A sign-and-trade was worked out that brought back a 2020 second-round pick and other considerations to Washington. Satoransky wasn’t disappointed. “I always felt like, for me, it was always harder than for others,” he said of his experience in Washington. “I had to always keep proving (myself) to people. And I always felt like, ‘Man, I’ve done enough to have that.’ So, I felt this needs a new start.”
  • Wizards managing partner Ted Leonsis will be more visible with a new front office structure in place, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “Our owners are going to be more involved,” Leonsis said. “You constantly have to gauge back and forth: is it good to be involved, or is it not good to be involved? Every agent, every player that I’ve talked to said the more they see Raul Fernandez and Laurene Powell-Jobs and me, the more connected they feel to what our vision and what our ultimate plan is.”
  • Any package that the Heat would send out in a potential Bradley Beal and Wall deal with the Wizards would need to include James Johnson, Dion Waiters, Justise Winslow and Kelly Olynyk for salary-matching purposes, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald details. Trading for Beal alone would probably require the Heat to give up their three best assets, Bam Adebayo, Winslow and Tyler Herro, but they wouldn’t realistically be able to attach a draft pick until next June, Jackson adds.

Heat Notes: Paul, Beal, Expiring Contracts, Waiters

The Heat and Thunder never came close to making a deal involving Chris Paul, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

Miami was pursuing Russell Westbrook before Oklahoma City agreed to trade him to Houston last week. The focus shifted to a possible deal that would bring Paul to the Heat, but they don’t have the same level of enthusiasm about acquiring him that they did for Westbrook. (Twitter link). A report today indicates that Oklahoma City is pessimistic about its chances of moving Paul and may keep him on the roster for the entire season.

The Heat were only willing to take on the three years and $124MM left on Paul’s contract if OKC met certain demands, including the return of Miami’s draft picks for 2021 and 2023, Jackson adds. The Heat are reluctant to absorb that much salary because it would restrict their flexibility for the summer of 2021.

There’s more from South Florida:

  • Miami’s next chance to add a star could come if Bradley Beal turns down an extension offer from the Wizards, according to Jackson (Twitter link). He suggests the Heat will be among the teams contacting Washington about Beal if they don’t reach an agreement. Beal will become eligible for the extension, which would pay him $111MM over three seasons, on July 26. Jackson notes that the Wizards have turned aside all trade offers involving Beal so far, but he will become a free agent in 2021 without the extension.
  • Some of the Heat’s expiring contracts don’t look so bad after this summer’s spending and may prove to be valuable trade assets, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Kelly Olynyk and James Johnson both have 2020/21 player options, but Winderman states that Olynyk might opt out of his $13.2MM salary in view of this year’s market. Johnson is more likely to opt in for $16MM because of his age. Goran Dragic and Meyers Leonard have expiring deals with no options and are expected to be trade chips.
  • Frustrated by jokes over his body last season, Dion Waiters showed off his leaner, stronger physique in an Instragram post Monday, as relayed in an ESPN story. Waiters admits to being in a “dark place mentally & physically” during the past season as he tried to shake off the effects of an ankle injury.

Heat, Westbrook Have Mutual Interest In Trade

The Heat have expressed interest in negotiating a trade for Russell Westbrook, who views the possibility of playing in Miami as appealing, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

A report earlier on Monday indicated that the Thunder are receptive to trade inquiries for Westbrook in the aftermath of the blockbuster deal sending Paul George to the Clippers.

The Heat made a bold move in free agency by gaining a commitment from Jimmy Butler and engineering a sign-and-trade for the swingman. A Westbrook/Butler pairing could make Miami an instant contender in the wide open Eastern Conference, though contractually it would have long-term implications.

Westbrook, 30, has four years and $171MM remaining on his contract, including a $47MM player option in the final year. Moving Westbrook’s contract for future salary-cap relief might be the best Oklahoma City can do at this point.

Miami has already traded away its 2021 and 2023 first-rounders – which the Thunder own – and numerous second-rounders.

Westbrook will make $38.5MM next season but Miami has a handful of players making between $19.2MM and $12MM — Goran Dragic, James Johnson, Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters and Kelly Olynyk — for salary-matching purposes.

Miami also has to make sure it doesn’t add more salary to its current cap. The Heat are just $986K below the threshold of the $138.9MM luxury tax apron, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Thus, Miami cannot take back more or equal salaries in a potential Westbrook trade because that would hamstring its ability to fill out the roster (Twitter link).

Westbrook and agent Thad Foucher met with Thunder general manager Sam Presti over the weekend and both sides came away eager to find a resolution, according to Wojnarowski. Westbrook doesn’t want to be part of rebuild and that’s where OKC finds itself after George’s trade request to join forces with Kawhi Leonard.

Heat Notes: Riley, Whiteside, Dragic, Haslem

Heat president Pat Riley spoke about the state of the Heat recently, and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald passes along some of the more relevant take-aways from Riley’s comments.

Despite Justice Winslow‘s success running the point while Goran Dragic was injured last season, Riley expects Dragic to be the team’s starting point guard for the 2019/20 season. Riley also expects both Dion Waiters and James Johnson to come back strong from injuries and play a significant role.

Regarding first-round pick Tyler Herro, Riley said that the 19-year-old guard “has proven in his short time at Kentucky that he’s not only a great shooter, but he’s a competitor, he’s tough, and he can defend. We’re very excited to have him.”

Riley declined to comment on the 32nd overall pick KZ Okpala, as his rights are still owned by the Pacers. He likewise declined to speak about Bol Bol, as his rights are being traded to the Nuggets.

There’s more out of Miami this afternoon from Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel:

  • Cap-strapped after both Hassan Whiteside  and Dragic opted into their player options for the 2019/20 season, the Heat are in somewhat of a holding pattern until they are able to clear those two off their books in the summer of 2020. For now, Pat Riley seems keen on encouraging Heat fans to root their young team on towards a playoff berth next season (link).
  • The Heat are likely to carry 14 players on their roster during the 2019/20 season in order to avoid the luxury tax, but will Udonis Haslem be that 14th-man (link)? It’s a possibility, and Haslem has said that his family with play a primary role in his retirement decision.
  • The conundrum the Heat face with Whiteside next season is that while he may have the chance to stay healthy and rediscover his game, how does that help Miami if they’re not a championship contender (link)? Whiteside’s contract ends after the 2019/20 season, and if the Heat are serious about developing their young core, Whiteside doesn’t really have a place on the roster past this season, so letting him stuff the stat sheet on a mediocre team for one season really does the Heat no good.

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.

Heat Notes: Team Needs, No. 13, Waiters

The Heat should be interested in acquiring wing players with length, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. The team’s current starting small forward, Josh Richardson, is listed at 6’6″ and in today’s NBA, that’s considered short for the position.

“The switch-ability is key,”an Eastern Conference scout tells Winderman. “That is critical, especially for the three-four. People, when they think about that, he’s going to guard threes, but can he guard fours?

“Players at the three…they tend to merge either way, either closer to fours or as wings. People do not talk about pure threes anymore.”

Here’s more from Miami:

  • In a separate piece, Winderman wonders if Oregon’s Bol Bol is worth the gamble for Miami. The Heat own the No. 13 overall pick in the upcoming draft.
  • The Heat could use the No. 13 overall pick to offload some payroll from the roster, Winderman hears (in an additional piece). Dion Waiters, who has been speculated as a trade target of the Warriors, and James Johnson stand as two possible candidates to be moved.
  • Conditioning was an issue for Waiters this past season, Winderman notes. Coach Eric Spoelstra touched on it at the end of the season. “When he gets in optimal shape, he’s going to also be able to get to the basket when he needs to,” Spoelstra said. “He was still able to do that at times, not consistently enough during the course of a game and through contact and through fatigue.”