Both Johnson and Waiters saw their careers take off this season after years of bouncing around and each were instrumental in the Heat’s impressive push for an Eastern Conference playoff berth.
That said, while the pair seem to be a good fit with the Heat, the franchise will look to maintain flexibility by committing only to short-term deals. Eventually, Winderman writes, the club could explore signing them to a longer term deal when their Heat Bird Rights take effect.
Waiters averaged 15.8 points in 46 games for the Heat this season while Johnson added 12.8 points, 5.0 rebounds per game while providing a sense of toughness that fit the traditional Miami mold.
There’s more from the Southeast Division:
- Although it’s easy to second guess decision in the NBA, Hawks owner Tony Ressler is careful not to when it comes to his own club’s contracts, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. “The NBA is all about second-guessing,” Ressler said. “[…] Listen at the end of the day I’m going to argue that if you look at our payroll this year, I think we did OK. We had a $98 million payroll. We won 43 games. We are in the middle of the playoffs. We are really competitive.“
- Don’t expect Dion Waiters or James Johnson to give the Heat a discount during free agency, the Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman writes in a separate mailbag. Money, he says, always talks loudest when it comes to free agency.
- In the postseason of his fourth campaign, Dennis Schroder is showing off just how dominant he can be. According to Hawks teammate Kent Bazemore, the 23-year-old’s playing style is eerily similar to that of Wizards guard (and current playoff opponent) John Wall‘s, Keely Diven of CSN Mid-Atlantic writes. “[He] is un-guarable regardless of if he’s making shots or not. He is one of the quickest guys in the league. He can get by anyone. He is a great finisher around the rim. He is growing, a young guard. He has a bright future ahead of him. Glad he’s my point guard. I would hate to guard that guy for 35 minutes.“