Dion Waiters

Heat Rumors: Hammons, Liggins, Olynyk, Waiters

Rodney McGruder‘s injury could force the Heat to address the imbalanced roster, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald details. McGruder is out 3-6 months with a stress fracture in his leg, swinging the door open for Miami to keep or add another wing player, Jackson continues. The bottom of the roster is filled with power forwards and centers — Bam Adebayo, Udonis Haslem, Jordan Mickey and A.J. Hammons — and the Heat may have to waive Hammons and his guaranteed two-year contract to fortify the wing positions. Miami could keep either DeAndre Liggins or Matt Williams Jr. from its training-camp roster to fill the void, Jackson adds.

In other developments concerning the Heat:

  • Kelly Olynyk has made a strong case to be the starting power forward, even though James Johnson came into camp as the favorite to win the job, Jackson reports in another story. Olynyk has meshed well with center Hassan Whiteside in preseason action, which is making the decision tougher for coach Erik Spoelstra, Jackson continues. “Their skill sets really complement each other,” Spoelstra told Jackson and other media members. “Kelly does a lot of things very similar to JJ in his own personality, in his own way. We think it fits. We think it works whether he comes off the bench or not, I like the dynamic.”
  • Dion Waiters had to wait out the Gordon Hayward free agent saga before the Heat committed to him with a four-year, $52MM contract, Sports Illustrated’s Rohan Nadkarni notes during an in-depth feature on Waiters. A confident Waiters opted out of his deal this summer and the gamble ultimately paid off when Miami lost the Hayward sweepstakes and instead spent a chunk of their free-agent money on Waiters. “He likes to say he bet on himself, but he also bet on the organization,” Spoelstra told Nadkarni. “We bet on him as well. We’re not only about reclamation projects. We wanted to develop a relationship that would last longer than a year.”

Southeast Notes: Waiters, Hawks, Meeks

When Dion Waiters hurt himself last March he had the option to pursue a surgical treatment that would have sidelined him for eight to 10 months, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel writes. The Heat guard, and at that point pending free agent, opted against going under the knife to repair his ankle and instead has been strengthening it and undergoing treatment.

Winderman stresses that Waiters only brought up the injury when asked at the Heat’s media day on Wednesday but admitted that some days are better than others.

I’ll get four or five treatments every day,” Waiters, who re-signed with the Heat this summer, said. “Some days you’re going to feel great, some days it might be just one of them days. You have to push through it and be smart about the whole situation.

In 46 games with the Heat last season, Waiters averaged 15.8 points per game. This year his contract will pay an additional $1.1MM if the guard stays on the court for 70 games, one of several incentives built into contracts that Miami extended this offseason.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • On the verge of what could be his first full season since 2014/15, Wizards guard Jodie Meeks is eager to show that he can still contribute to an NBA team. “Just because I want to show that I’m healthy,” Meeks told Candace Buckner of the Washington Post. “I’m not old and washed up or whatever you want to call it.
  • A hamstring injury will sideline Hornets forward Treveon Graham, the team’s PR department tweets. Graham is one of five players on non-guaranteed deals hoping to make the team’s opening day roster.
  • The Hawks will receive $100K for taking DeAndre Liggins‘ deal off of the Clippers’ hands, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. We wrote about the September 25 deal here.

Southeast Notes: Incentives, Gortat, Kidd-Gilchrist

The Heat found a creative way to pad the contracts of their offseason signees, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel writes, by loading the deals with impressive bonuses and incentives. Dion Waiters, for example, can net over $1M in addition to his traditional $11M deal by simply appearing in 70 or more games this season.

While Waiters only appeared in 46 contests last year, thereby making this an “unlikely” incentive, he played in 70-plus in each of the four seasons prior to 2016/17. Other sorts of bonuses offered include one that would reward Kelly Olynyk should the Heat make the playoffs and another that would sweeten James Johnson‘s deal provided he meets certain body-fat measurement requirements.

Such contractual maneuvers aren’t new for the franchise, Winderman writes, noting that the Heat employed similar tactics, tying routine weigh-ins to retired point guard Tim Hardaway‘s deals.

Incentives are officially classified as “unlikely” if the condition was not met in the previous season. Unlikely incentives do not count toward a team’s salary cap at the time of the signing but they do at the end of the season if the conditions are met. This allowed the Heat flexibility to successfully juggle their returning free agents.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Wizards decided this offseason to stick with their plan of gradually developing their young core, Shaun Powell of NBA.com writes. While they may have been able to skip the line in the East by going out and acquiring an additional star, the Wizards’ patience could pay off in the long run.
  • A healthy Ian Mahinmi will eat into Marcin Gortat‘s role with the Wizards, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic writes. At the end of last season, Gortat expressed doubt about his future in Washington, though he said last month that he’s fully committed to the franchise.
  • Without being asked, head coach Steve Clifford has reiterated that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will start at small forward for the Hornets, Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer writes. Concern over the 23-year-old’s offense has some wondering if he may be better suited for a reserve role.

Cap/Salary Notes: Heat, Clippers, Sixers, Chalmers

When the Heat agreed to deals with Dion Waiters, Kelly Olynyk, and James Johnson earlier this month, the reported terms of those agreements looked a little too high for the club to fit within its available cap room. At the time, it appeared the reported salary figures on those deals – $52MM for Waiters, $50MM for Olynyk, and $60MM for Johnson – could be inflated by possible incentives, while the base values ended up being a little smaller.

In the case of Waiters and Olynyk, that’s indeed the case. As Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders details, the overall base value of Waiters’ four-year deal is approximately $47.3MM, while Olynyk’s is worth about $45.6MM overall. Pincus doesn’t yet have details on the unlikely incentives included in each contract, but if the terms reported initially are to be believed, it appears each player will have the opportunity to earn more than $1MM in incentives in each year of his new contract with the Heat.

Here are a few more cap, salary, and cash details courtesy of Pincus:

  • The Clippers sent $1.3MM to the Hawks as part of the three-way deal that landed Jamal Crawford in Atlanta, tweets Pincus. Meanwhile, the Clippers also paid $3.2MM to the Sixers to land the second-round pick that became Jawun Evans (Twitter link). That leaves the Clippers with just $600K available to send out in trades for the rest of the 2017/18 league year.
  • The Sixers can no longer receive cash in trades during the current league year, which runs through June 30, 2018. In addition to receiving $3.2MM from the Clippers, they were sent $1.9MM by the Bucks in exchange for the No. 46 pick (Sterling Brown), per Pincus (Twitter link). The limit for cash received in trades this season is $5.1MM.
  • Mario Chalmers is back in the NBA, but his contract suggests he doesn’t necessarily have job security quite yet. According to Pincus (Twitter link), only $25K of Chalmers’ minimum salary deal with the Grizzlies is currently guaranteed.
  • The Knicks sent $400K to the Kings as part of their “trade” that allowed them to hire Scott Perry away from Sacramento, tweets Pincus. Pincus adds (via Twitter) that the Kings and Knicks are now ineligible to trade with one another through the 2017/18 season. We saw that same restriction occur with the Clippers and Celtics a few years ago after L.A. sent Boston compensation to land Doc Rivers.

Southeast Notes: Waiters, Wade, Meeks, Magic

Dion Waiters is for all intents and purposes the man who replaced Dwyane Wade as the Heat‘s shooting guard in Miami. After inking a four-year, $52MM pact recently, he will be the franchise’s immediate fixture in the lineup and the community. Yet, if Waiters has his way, Wade will eventually join him back home in Miami, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes.

Waiters, 25, came into his own with the Heat in 46 games last season, averaging 15.8 PPG and 4.3 APG while playing over 30 minutes per game. As Waiters tells Jackson, he’s admired Wade from afar and made his desire to learn from the longtime Heat legend this offseason.

“We’ve got the same initials, our games are similar,” Waiters said. “Difference is, he’s got them three rings. He’s a Finals MVP. Top three best shooting guards all time. I’m chasing that. He’s one of my favorite players, one of the players I idolized my game after. When he’s playing against me, I’m checking things he’s doing.”

Wade, 35,  has an option for $24MM for 2017/18 but the Bulls are not interesting in pursuing a buyout at this time. If Wade does end up on the open market, a reunion with the Heat seems like a possibility and one that Waiters — whose social media has hinted at his desire to play with Wade —  would be rooting for.

Here are additional notes surrounding the Southeast Division:

  • When picking a destination this offseason, Jodie Meeks knew playing alongside John Wall and under head coach Scott Brooks was an appealing scenario, CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Chase Hughes writes. The Wizards won 49 games last season and with a productive, young core in the nation’s capital, Meeks will have a chance to be part of a winning team next season.
  • Magic president Jeff Weltman told media in a recent Q and A that his team is still looking for shooting upgrades, per Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel (via Twitter).

Heat Sign Dion Waiters To Four-Year Deal

July 7, 7:32pm: The Heat have officially re-signed Waiters, the team announced over Twitter.

Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel notes that the Waiters deal had to be announced prior to the Johnson confirmation, at which point a potential Wayne Ellington guarantee could follow.

July 6, 7:01pm: The Heat and Waiters are in agreement on the previously reported four-year, $52MM deal, per several reports. According to Scotto, the deal won’t include any options.Dion Waiters vertical

Scotto also reports that the Lakers made a one-year, $17MM offer to Waiters. L.A. has been reluctant to commit any second-year guaranteed money to free agents.

4:48pm: Waiters’ new deal is expected to be a four-year contract, according to Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link) pegs the total value at $52MM over four years.

4:31pm: The Heat are finalizing a contract agreement with Dion Waiters that will bring the free agent guard back to Miami, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Wojnarowski had indicated earlier today that Waiters was considering the Heat, Lakers, and Knicks, and would likely make a decision soon.

[RELATED: 2017 NBA Free Agent Tracker]

Waiters, a former fourth overall pick, didn’t generate much interest in free agency last summer after the Thunder withdrew his qualifying offer, and ultimately signed a modest deal with the Heat. Although he was limited to 46 games (43 starts), the 25-year-old had a nice bounce-back season in Miami, averaging 15.8 PPG, 4.3 APG, and 3.3 RPG with a shooting line of .424/.395/.646.

Armed with a player option for 2017/18, Waiters turned down that option in search of a more lucrative deal on the open market, and was linked to the Lakers, Knicks, Bulls, and Kings. After Miami missed out on top free agent target Gordon Hayward, however, it made sense for Waiters and the Heat to work out a new agreement that allowed him to return to South Beach.

Terms of Waiters’ deal aren’t yet known, but the Heat figure to use a chunk of cap room to re-sign him, since their Non-Bird rights would only allow for a 20% raise. The club would also like to bring back James Johnson and has interest in Rudy Gay, among other free agents, so we’ll see how much cap space is left over after Waiters’ deal.

Waiters had ranked 21st overall on our list of 2017’s top free agents last week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Heat, Knicks, Lakers Still In On Dion Waiters

Dion Waiters may be nearing a decision on his free agent destination, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who reports (via Twitter) that the Waiters situation is “inching closer to resolution.” Waiters is considering the Heat, Knicks, and Lakers, per Wojnarowski.

Waiters, who earned less than $3MM in 2016/17, had a big year for the Heat, averaging 15.8 PPG, 4.3 APG, and 3.3 RPG with a shooting line of .424/.395/.646. Although he was limited to 46 games (43 starts), the 25-year-old appears likely to parlay his performance in Miami into a much bigger payday this summer after turning down his player option with the club.

The Heat, Knicks, and Lakers all have a good deal of cap room available, though New York will have to renounce Derrick Rose to make use of that room and Miami may dedicate a portion of its space to a new deal for James Johnson. It’s not clear how many years those teams will be willing to offer — the Lakers are known to be avoiding multiyear commitments, and it’s possible that Miami and New York will want to preserve cap flexibility for the summer of 2018 as well.

The Bulls and Kings were linked to Waiters earlier in the offseason, but Chicago is now in rebuilding mode and Sacramento made its big backcourt splash by agreeing to sign George Hill.

Free Agent Rumors: Wolves, Knicks, Waiters, Jazz

The Timberwolves were linked to free agent swingman C.J. Miles earlier today, but weren’t necessarily considered a probable landing spot for Miles due to the team’s lack of cap flexibility. However, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link), who passed along the initial report on Miles, the Pacers are open to the idea of a sign-and-trade which would net them Cole Aldrich‘s contract and OKC’s 2018 first-round pick from Minnesota.

Both teams would have to agree on that sign-and-trade scenario, and of course Miles would also have to be on board, so there may be some snags along the way. But as Wolfson points out, there are ways for the Wolves to get creative if they really want to land Miles or another free agent.

Wolfson has more on the Wolves, tweeting that he has heard the team made an offer to Nick Young. That offer would likely be worth the $4.3MM room exception, and Young turned down a $5.67MM player option with the Lakers last month, so I’d be surprised if Minnesota’s offer is enough to land him, but the club clearly remains on the lookout for shooting help.

Here’s more on free agency:

  • The Knicks continue to stay in touch with free agent guard Dion Waiters, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, who reports (via Twitter) that Waiters and Rajon Rondo remain on the Lakers‘ radar.
  • With Gordon Hayward and Otto Porter off the board, the Jazz have expressed interest in Rudy Gay, says Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). As Royce Young of ESPN tweets, Patrick Patterson essentially took the deal that Gay was unwilling to with the Thunder, so OKC may be out, leaving the Heat and Jazz as the top contenders for Gay.
  • Having already brought back nearly all of their key free agents, the Warriors are also considered likely to re-sign Zaza Pachulia, according to Sam Amick of USA Today.
  • After a strong showing for the Pistons in Summer League play, Eric Moreland is believed to have received a multiyear contract offer from Detroit, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders.

Pacific Notes: Hill, Young, Collison, Clippers

The Lakers believe George Hill could provide backcourt depth, improve their outside shooting and serve as a locker room veteran, writes Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News. The 31-year-old free agent met with L.A. officials on Monday, although no deal was reached. Hill could be used as a backup to rookie point guard Lonzo Ball or could be shifted to shooting guard. He averaged a career-high 16.9 points with the Jazz last season and shot .403 from 3-point range.

In their quest for backcourt help, the Lakers also met with Dion Waiters on Sunday and have had several phone conversations with Rajon Rondo. L.A. has spoken to several coaches and players who have worked with Rondo to see how he might handle a mentor’s role with Ball.

There’s more news from the Pacific Division:

  • The Timberwolves are the latest team to reach out to Lakers guard Nick Young, Medina notes in the same story. They join the Warriors, Thunder and Pelicans, who have also been linked to the 10-year veteran. Young revived his career this season, becoming a full-time starter and averaging 13.2 points per game.
  • The Clippers, Knicks and Magic all contacted Darren Collison before he agreed to a two-year deal with the Pacers Monday night, tweets Sean Cunningham of ABC 10 in Sacramento. The Kings made no effort to keep Collison, he adds.
  • A proposed three-team trade that would bring Danilo Gallinari to the Clippers would push the team closer to the repeater tax, posts Bobby Marks on ESPN Now. Adding Gallinari would give L.A. 10 players under contract with $110.4MM in guaranteed salary. The Clippers would hit the repeater tax if their salary tops $119M, so they will have to be careful in assembling the rest of their roster.
  • Gary Sacks has resigned as Clippers assistant GM, tweets Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Sacks’ contract expired Friday.

Latest On Dion Waiters

The Lakers will meet with Heat free agent Dion Waiters tonight, Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders reports. L.A. is just the latest in a long line of suitors for the shooting guard after his breakthrough year with the Heat.

While Waiters played a vital role in Miami’s dramatic turnaround last season, the franchise can’t offer him a lucrative deal so long as their iron remains in the fire for Jazz free agent Gordon Hayward.

During this time, Waiters could stake a new claim with an organization impressed by his 2016/17 resurgence. As Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times notes, Waiters is a former client of sports agent-turned-Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka.

That this meeting with the Lakers will come after his meeting with the Heat could suggest that Waiters doesn’t imagine the Heat will be in a position to offer a deal that suits him, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel posits.

In 46 games for the Heat last season, Waiters averaged 15.8 points and 4.3 assists per game. While it’s unclear exactly what Waiters will net on the open market, it will inevitably be far more than the $3MM he played for in 2016/17.

We wrote last month that Waiters was open to the idea of giving the Heat a “hometown discount” considering how much he’s benefited from the organization’s culture. Just what that might entail, however, remains to be seen.

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