Dru Smith

Nets Notes: Warren, Durant, D. Smith, Watanabe

It didn’t take T.J. Warren long to prove he can still play at a high level, but the Nets are focused more on keeping him healthy for the playoffs than maximizing his contributions during the regular season, writes Greg Joyce of The New York Post. Warren missed nearly two full seasons due to foot injuries before returning to the court in early December.

“Every game, I’m feeling more and more like myself,” he said. “Two years is a long time, two calendar years going through multiple foot problems. But I feel great. Mentally, I’m in a good space. I just want to continue to get better and help this team win as much as I can.”

Through 17 games, Warren is averaging 10.5 points off the bench in 20.4 minutes per night. Coach Jacque Vaughn considered moving Warren into the starting lineup in the wake of Kevin Durant‘s injury, but opted for Joe Harris instead in an effort to control Warren’s workload.

“I’ve told him this message: That’s my No. 1 goal, that he’s healthy and hooping in the playoffs, showing his skills off to the rest of the world,” Vaughn said. “That would be the kind of guiding light. Will I be tempted at times (to push his minutes) if he’s rolling? For sure, every coach would be. But hopefully for his longevity, for the group, we’ll put him in a position to succeed the whole year.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • The Nets haven’t decided how involved Durant will be while he recovers from his sprained MCL, according to Alec Sturm of Nets Daily. Vaughn explained that Durant hasn’t been on the bench because the team doesn’t want to risk someone running into him during game action. It also hasn’t been determined how much Durant will travel with the team and whether he’ll consider playing in the All-Star Game, although Vaughn expressed hope that he’ll be fully recovered by the February 19 event.
  • Vaughn also offered some insight into Dru Smith, who signed a two-way contract with the Nets on Friday, Sturm adds. “A guard that has some athleticism, good size, competes, so areas that we really love,” Vaughn said at Saturday’s practice. “I think he has some upside to get better. So (we) look forward to him being a part of our group and getting him involved pretty quickly with (G League affiliate) Long Island. He just landed and went through his physical, so he’ll be around and there’s a possibility he’ll be with the rest of the group watching tomorrow.”
  • Brian Lewis of The New York Post (subscription required) talks to Yuta Watanabe about the impact his success in Brooklyn is having in Japan.

Nets Sign Dru Smith To Two-Way Contract

11:48am: The Nets have officially signed Smith to a two-way deal, the team confirmed in a press release.

10:34am: After waiving Alondes Williams on Thursday, the Nets are wasting no time in filling their open two-way contract slot. Brooklyn has agreed to sign G League guard Dru Smith to a two-way deal, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Since going undrafted out of Missouri in 2021, Smith has played primarily for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the Heat’s G League affiliate. The 25-year-old got a chance to make his NBA debut earlier this season when he earned a two-way deal with Miami, but he was waived in favor of Orlando Robinson, first in November and then again in December.

Although he only logged 67 total minutes in five NBA games in the fall, Smith has been a standout at the G League level for Sioux Falls. In 15 total NBAGL appearances (Showcase Cup and regular season) with the Skyforce, he has averaged 17.8 points, 5.7 assists, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.0 steals in 33.9 minutes per contest, with a shooting line of .485/.368/.750.

Players who sign two-way contracts before the season can be active for up to 50 games, but that limit is prorated for players who sign during the season. We’re at the halfway point of the 174-day NBA season, so if Smith signs within the next day or two, he’ll be eligible to be active for up to 25 games with Brooklyn. He also figures to spend time in the G League with the Long Island Nets.

January 20 is the date when all two-way contracts become guaranteed for the season, so Smith will lock in his rest-of-season salary (approximately $254K) if he remains with the Nets for more than a week.

Heat Sign Orlando Robinson, Waive Dru Smith

The Heat have brought back center Orlando Robinson on a two-way contract and waived guard Dru Smith, the team announced (via Twitter).

Miami has switched the two players several times this season. Smith originally won a roster spot on a two-way deal, but he was waived in favor of Robinson on November 13 as injuries provided a need for more depth in the middle. Twelve days later, the Heat re-signed Smith to a two-way contract and unloaded Robinson to make room on the roster.

Robinson, a rookie out of Fresno State, appeared in two games during his first stint with Miami, averaging 7.0 points and and 4.5 rebounds in 20 minutes per night.

Smith saw limited playing time in five games, but made one start. He will likely rejoin Miami’s G League affiliate in Sioux Falls if he’s not claimed on waivers.

Heat Waive Orlando Robinson, Sign Dru Smith To Two-Way Deal

The Heat have waived two-way center Orlando Robinson and signed guard Dru Smith to fill his two-way spot, the team announced (via Twitter).

Just a couple of weeks ago, those roles were reversed, as Smith had made the opening night roster on a two-way deal but then was waived in favor of Robinson when the team’s frontcourt was hit hard by injuries.

According to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter link), head coach Erik Spoelstra said the team still likes Robinson, but the Heat currently need wing depth, so that’s why Smith was promoted from their G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

In three games (34.0 MPG) with the Skyforce during the G League’s ongoing Showcase Cup tournament, the 6’3″ Smith has filled up the stat sheet, averaging 17.7 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 4.3 APG, 3.0 SPG and 1.3 BPG on .488/.421/.800 shooting. He made one cameo appearance for the Heat on October 26 for his NBA debut, recording two points and one rebound in less than six minutes of action.

Robinson, an undrafted rookie out of Fresno State, averaged 7.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG and 1.0 SPG in two games (20.0 MPG) with the Heat. If he goes unclaimed on waivers, he could be headed back to Sioux Falls.

Heat Waive Dru Smith, Sign Orlando Robinson To Two-Way Deal

5:53pm: Both moves are official, according to a team press release.

10:44am: The Heat are making a minor change to their roster, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel, who reports (via Twitter) that the team will waive two-way player Dru Smith and sign Orlando Robinson to a two-way contract to fill the newly opened spot.

Both Smith and Robinson were in training camp with the Heat this fall. Smith earned a two-way spot at the end of the preseason, while Robinson was waived and eventually became an affiliate player for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s G League team.

However, with center Omer Yurtseven expected to miss a significant chunk of the 2022/23 season due to ankle surgery, the Heat have a greater need in the frontcourt than on the wing. Robinson is a center; Smith is a shooting guard.

Miami does have an open spot on its 15-man standard roster and could sign a more experienced center to fill that opening, but doing so would put team salary above the luxury tax threshold for the season. Two-way contracts don’t count against the cap or tax.

Robinson, 22, went undrafted out of Fresno State earlier this year. The big man averaged 19.4 PPG, 8.4 RPG, and 2.9 APG on .484/.352/.716 shooting in 36 games (33.2 MPG) as a junior in 2021/22. He has gotten off to a strong start for the Skyforce this season, putting up 20.0 PPG, 9.3 RPG, and 2.5 APG in four starts (31.3 MPG).

Smith, who went undrafted in 2021 and played for Sioux Falls as a rookie, made his NBA debut last month, logging six minutes of garbage time during a blowout win over Portland on October 26. It was the only game he played in for the Heat.

Jamal Cain occupies Miami’s other two-way slot and should be unaffected by the Heat’s roster moves.

Dru Smith Earns Two-Way Contract With Heat

OCTOBER 13: The Heat have officially waived Garrett, Mulder, Robinson, and Bouyea, while converting Smith’s Exhibit 10 contract to a two-way deal, the team announced today in a press release.

OCTOBER 12: The Heat will convert Dru Smith to a two-way contract, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Miami plans to waive Marcus Garrett, Mychal Mulder, Orlando Robinson and Jamaree Bouyea, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link). Mulder, Robinson and Bouyea are expected to join the team’s G League affiliate in Sioux Falls after they clear waivers. Garrett, who suffered a fractured right wrist, will stay in Miami to rehab the injury.

A 24-year-old shooting guard, Smith signed with Miami last year after going undrafted out of Missouri. He spent the season in Sioux Falls and was part of the Heat’s Summer League team.

After signing an Exhibit 10 contract with the Heat this offseason, Smith won the competition for a two-way deal with a strong preseason, including a 15-point performance Monday against the Rockets. In four games, he averaged 8.8 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 17.3 minute per night.

Miami filled its other two-way slot on Sunday by converting Jamal Cain‘s Exhibit 10 contract. The Heat currently have 13 players on their roster with fully guaranteed contracts, plus Haywood Highsmith, who has a partially guaranteed deal.

Heat Notes: Robinson, Highsmith, Cain, Mulder

Duncan Robinson is in the second year of a five-year, $90MM contract. The first year of the deal didn’t go well for the Heat swingman, as he lost his starting job late in the season and was the subject of numerous trade rumors.

Robinson is ready to hit the reset button, as shown by his 29-point outing against the Grizzlies on Friday, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes.

“Just based off of how last year went — lots to learn from, lots to grow from,” he said. “So just to be very discerning over what it is I want to take with me, what I want to take from the experience and how I can actually be resourceful and use it to better myself, better the team, better myself as a player.”

Robinson has worked on improving defensively and becoming a more diverse offensive player.

We have more on the Heat:

  • Haywood Highsmith only has a partial guarantee on his contract this season but he’s impressed coach Erik Spoelstra in the preseason, according to Nekias Duncan of Basketball News. “I don’t view him as a young player,” Spoelstra said. “I understand he doesn’t have an extensive NBA experience — but he’s played some very good basketball in the G League. He has had to grind and earn everything and every opportunity that he’s been given. He just continues to get better each year.”
  • Rookie forward Jamal Cain earned a two-way contract with his performances during camp and preseason games, according to Spoelstra. as Chiang relays. “Over the course of the last several weeks, we’ve been able to see his work ethic and how much he’s improved because of his approach and work ethic,” he said. “Then he had several good moments in training camp and the last two preseason games.” Miami is expected to keep a roster spot open and waive its players currently on Exhibit 10 deals — Mychal MulderJamaree Bouyea, Orlando Robinson and Dru Smith — then have them join its G League team.
  • Mulder is in his third stint with the organization and Spoelstra compares him to former swingman Rodney McGruder due to his “perseverance and grit,” Chiang writes in another story. “You might not be the 20-year-old prospect, but you’re still a prospect in our eyes,” Spoelstra said of Mulder. “We value Mychal’s makeup. His game certainly fits. His ability to catch and shoot off the ball, but his makeup, how he carries himself, his progression, these are the kind of things that we want to go out of our way to try to help him. It might be here, it might be somewhere else.”

Heat Add Guard Dru Smith

The Heat have signed guard Dru Smith, according to a team press release. Terms weren’t disclosed but it’s almost assuredly a training camp deal.

Smith is a familiar face. He appeared in three Summer League games with the Heat and averaged 12.0 points, 3.0 steals and 1.7 assists. He appeared in 10 games (five starts) with Miami’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, last season and averaged 8.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.20 steals and 27.5 minutes.

Smith went undrafted out of Missouri.

Miami’s roster now includes 20 players, the maximum amount heading into training camp.

Heat Waive Potter, Smart, Smith, Stewart

The Heat have waived Micah PotterJavonte Smart, Dru Smith, and D.J. Stewart, per a team press release. All four players were on Exhibit 10 contracts.

All four players were undrafted rookies, and if they spend at least 60 days with the Heat’s G League squad, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, they could earn a bonus of up to $50K.

Potter, 6’10”, played two seasons with Ohio State before transferring to Wisconsin. He showed an impressive shooting touch for a big man, connecting on 38.6% of his three-point attempts and 84% of his free throws as a senior. He also had a strong preseason showing with the Heat, appearing in three games with averages of 10.3 PPG and 11.3 RPG in 24.0 minutes.

Smart, a 6’4″ guard, played college ball at LSU, averaging 16.0 PPG, 3.7 RPG, and 4.0 APG (35.6 MPG) in 28 games as a senior. He appeared in five preseason contests with the Heat.

Smith, a 6’3″ guard, played for Evansville before transferring to Missouri. He averaged 14.3 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 3.8 APG, and 2.1 SPG (34.1 MPG) in 26 games as a senior. He appeared in three preseason games with the Heat.

Stewart, a 6’6″ wing, declared for the draft after two seasons at Mississippi State. He averaged 16.0 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 3.1 APG (35.0 MPG) in 28 games as a sophomore and appeared in four preseason contests with the Heat.

The moves leave the Heat with 14 players on guaranteed contracts and both two-way slots filled.

Heat Add Potter, Smart, Smith To Camp Roster

The Heat have added forward Micah Potter and guards Javonte Smart and Dru Smith to their training camp roster, according to a team press release.

Potter appeared in six Summer League games with Miami and averaged 7.3 PPG and 3.5 RPG. He went undrafted out of Wisconsin.

Smart averaged 5.5 PPG, 2.8 RPG and 2.2 APG with Miami’s summer league squad. Smart played three seasons at LSU, becoming just the seventh player in school history to record at least 1,200 points, 300 assists and 111 steals.

Smith, who attended Missouri, also appeared in six Summer League games with the Heat and averaged 8.0 PPG, 2.5 APG and 1.17 SPG.

All three were signed to Exhibit 10 deals, bringing Miami’s camp roster to 19, one below the limit, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets.

Exhibit 10 contracts give NBA teams a chance to bring players to training camp and get a look at them without guaranteeing them a regular season roster spot or any real salary. All three could potentially earn a $50K bonus if they remain on the Sioux Falls Skyforce roster for at least 60 days. The Skyforce are the Heat’s G League affiliate.

The trio could also be competing for Miami’s open two-way slot.