Duncan Robinson

Heat Rumors: Tucker, Portis, Lowry, Crowder

Heat players are reportedly lobbying free agent forward P.J. Tucker to remain with the team, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, who says All-Star wing Jimmy Butler, in particular, is “very much hoping” Tucker returns to Miami.

However, James Harden‘s decision to opt out of a $47MM+ salary for next season and likely sign a new deal starting at a lower number is the latest indication that the Sixers are a serious threat to lure Tucker to Philadelphia. Harden’s move clears a path for Philadelphia to offer its full mid-level exception to Tucker.

If Tucker does leave, the Heat will be in the market for a power forward, and T.J. Warren, Kyle Anderson, Thaddeus Young, and Nicolas Batum will be among the free agents on their radar, Jackson writes. A Wednesday report indicated the club would likely also have interest in Danilo Gallinari if he’s waived after being traded by San Antonio.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Jackson hears from a source that Miami would be a team that appeals to Bobby Portis if he decides to leave Milwaukee. But Portis is considered likely to stick with the Bucks, while the Heat are reluctant to hard-cap themselves for the season by giving their full mid-level exception to a free agent, so it’s an unlikely match.
  • Jackson also hears that Kyle Lowry wasn’t upset by Pat Riley‘s end-of-season comments about how his conditioning must improve. The Heat have assured Lowry they have no intention of trading him in a deal for Kyrie Irving, Jackson adds.
  • After saying that the Heat had emerged as the frontrunners to trade for Suns forward Jae Crowder, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter links) walked back that report. As Gambadoro explains, he can’t see Phoenix taking on Duncan Robinson‘s contract, and the Heat don’t have any other obvious salary-matching pieces they’d include in an offer for Crowder.

Heat Notes: Robinson, Adebayo, Herro, Oladipo, Haslem

Less than a year after signing a five-year, $90MM contract with the Heat, Duncan Robinson was replaced in the starting lineup by minimum-salary wing Max Strus and then fell out of the rotation completely in the second round of the postseason. As Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald relays, Robinson admitted this week that it wasn’t easy to take that role reduction in stride.

“It does not matter if you’re playing JV basketball, if you’re playing middle school basketball, if you’re playing college basketball, if you’re playing in the NBA at the highest level. Not playing, it sucks in a lot of ways,” Robinson said in the latest episode of his podcast. “Especially when you feel that you’re capable and you feel that you can help win. It’s a really, really challenging feeling to combat, especially when you’re on the cusp and in the midst of a run where your team is playing really well.”

Robinson is the Heat’s most prolific three-point shooter, making 232 threes and converting them at a 37.2% rate during the 2021/22 season. However, he’s not an especially strong defender, so if his shot isn’t falling, he sometimes struggles to have an impact on the game. Heat president of basketball operations Pat Riley believes there’s room for Robinson to raise his level on the defensive end of the court.

“Defensively as a young player, even though he’s not as young as some of the other guys, he’s got to get better,” Riley said on Monday, per Chiang. “Look, we hang our hat on that. … To me, yes Duncan can improve. That message has been delivered to him many times.”

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • While the Heat will make an effort to upgrade their roster in free agency and on the trade market this summer, they’ll also be counting on internal improvement from players like Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro, Chiang writes in another story for The Miami Herald. Riley suggested this week that he feels both Adebayo and Herro, who are just 24 and 22 respectively, still have room to grow.
  • After missing much of the 2021/22 season while recovering from quad surgery and then being incorporated slowly into the rotation, Victor Oladipo was starting to look a little more like his old self by the end of the Heat’s season. With Oladipo’s contract set to expire, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel wonders what sort of role – and how much money – Miami will feel comfortable offering the two-time All-Star in free agency.
  • In another Sun Sentinel article, Winderman looks at the decision facing Udonis Haslem, who has no interest in becoming a coach and is weighing whether or not to play a 20th NBA season.

Heat Notes: Oladipo, Robinson, Haslem, Celtics Series

Heat guard Victor Oladipo is slowly starting to regain his offensive form ahead of unrestricted free agency this summer after missing most of the season while recovering from a second surgery to repair his right quadriceps tendon last May. The 30-year-old said he plans to fine-tune his game with a healthy offseason.

I really haven’t had a summer healthy to really work on my game,” he said, per Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. “This summer I’m looking forward to fine-tuning all the stuff I’m great at, which includes [three-pointers, pull-ups, drives to the basket] and more. Transition, half-court, all the stuff that was second nature to me.”

After averaging 12.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists on .479/.417/.737 shooting in eight regular season games (21.6 minutes), Oladipo is averaging 11.5 points, 3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals on .387/.313/.787 shooting through 12 postseason contests (24.8 minutes). He’s provided impressive defense to the Heat in the playoffs, but acknowledges he’s still trying to find his rhythm on the other end of the court.

Definitely [offensively], especially because I didn’t have had an opportunity to find my rhythm,” Oladipo said last week. “I can still be effective, find ways to affect the game. Even offensively, it’s more of a mind-set thing. I haven’t played a lot. I don’t have as much reps as everyone else but I can still play at a high level.”

As Jackson notes, the Heat hold Oladipo’s Bird Rights this summer, giving them the ability to go over the salary cap to re-sign him.

Here are a few more notes on Miami:

  • Duncan Robinson‘s five-year, $90MM contract with the Heat is only guaranteed for $80MM, and the $10MM discrepancy is tied to both the team’s and his own postseason performance, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. If the Heat win a championship in any of his five seasons, including this one, the final $10MM in the fifth season of his contract will be guaranteed if the following criteria are met: Robinson plays at least 70 regular season games while averaging at least 25 minutes per night, and he appears in 75 percent of his team’s postseason games while averaging at least 25 minutes per contest. As Winderman observes, Robinson has met both of the regular season criteria, but is falling short in the playoffs. He’s appeared in 11 of 15 postseason games (73.33%) while averaging just 11.5 minutes.
  • Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports takes an inside look at what Udonis Haslem does behind the scenes to help the Heat win games, with the veteran emphasizing preparation as a key to success. “If they’re not prepared, I’m taking my notes on what we need to work on. For me, this is full-time job, bro. No days off. Even when it’s summer time, I’ll just take a week off and then I’m right back in the lab, in the weight room, in the gym, conditioning. My body has to stay right. That’s the most important thing for me is that my body has allowed me to be able to keep up with these guys,” Haslem said.
  • Joe Vardon of The Athletic shares 25 thoughts heading into Wednesday’s Game 5 against the Celtics, noting that health has played a major factor in the series to this point, and the Heat need a more aggressive version of Jimmy Butler and more contributions from Gabe Vincent and Max Strus if they hope to advance. In case you missed it, Miami will be without Tyler Herro again for Game 5, as he continues to deal with a strained left groin.

Deveney’s Latest: Thybulle, Horton-Tucker, Nunn, Draft

The Bulls have strong interest in young Sixers forward Matisse Thybulle, sources told Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney.

Bulls GM Marc Eversley, a former Philadelphia executive, was instrumental in pushing the Sixers to acquire him in the 2019 draft, Deveney notes.

While Thybulle’s vaccination status stirred some angst within the Sixers organization during the postseason, it was his spotty 3-point shooting that rendered him a non-factor, despite his defensive reputation.

The Sixers could try to create some wiggle room under the luxury tax but that type of trade would likely require a third team.

Here’s more from Deveney:

  • The Lakers tried to package Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn in trades this past season but didn’t get an enticing offer. They could revisit that scenario, even though they’re reluctant to attach their next available first-rounder in 2027. One league exec tossed out the names of Duncan Robinson, Malik Beasley and Christian Wood as the type of player they could get in return.
  • The Magic won’t trade the top pick unless they get the No. 2 or 3 pick as part of the package, but the Thunder and Rockets are open for business regarding the other top three selections.

Heat Notes: Tucker, Herro, Robinson, Rotation

Heat starting power forward P.J. Tucker, now 37, has been his usual pesky self on the defensive end against the Sixers, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. It’s been a huge boon for Miami, which currently leads Philadelphia 2-1 in the teams’ second-round playoff series.

“P.J. does what he does,” Sixers starting small forward Danny Green said. “We don’t back down. But you’ve got to play smart. Don’t take any cheap stuff. Don’t give any cheap stuff. Be just as physical as they are. We’re going to check people, get into bodies. Let them know we’re here too. We’re here to win. It’s the type of basketball you want to see.”

Jackson noted that Tucker’s repertoire included a litany of hard screens and rugged on-ball defense. The veteran Tucker, who won a title with the Bucks last year, signed a two-year, $15MM contract with the Heat during the offseason. Should he so choose, Tucker could try to capitalize on his successful playoff performance thus far: he has a player option on the 2022/23 season.

There’s more out of South Beach:

  • Heat Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro lit up the Sixers across Miami’s first two games in the series, both wins, scoring 43 points on 15-of-27 shooting. In response, the Sixers have opted to consistently trap the third-year guard, an issue for which Miami must now game-plan, writes Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. “That’s a sign of great respect, how important Tyler is to us,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said of the new defensive attention.
  • Miami’s $90MM man Duncan Robinson has fallen out of the club’s rotation with the ascension of Gabe Vincent, Max Strus and Victor Oladipo on the Heat depth chart. The veteran forward is striving to handle the demotion with a positive attitude, writes Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. “It has been a challenge,” Robinson acknowledged. “But it comes with the territory. It’s part of being a professional.”
  • With the return of starting Heat point guard Kyle Lowry into the lineup, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel wonders if the moves of Oladipo and Vincent to the bench have hurt the reserves’ chemistry. Winderman postulates that Vincent may eventually feel the minutes squeeze as Lowry’s role increases.

Heat/Sixers Notes: Tucker, Lowry, Robinson, Embiid, Niang

Heat forward P.J. Tucker has been tasked with guarding top players throughout his long career, and this year’s playoffs are no different. After hounding Trae Young in the first round, Tucker is now guarding former teammate James Harden, who has been contained by Miami through the first two games of their second-round matchup with the Sixers.

Despite the grueling physical toll that comes with covering great offensive players, Tucker says he feels like he’s still in the midst of his prime, as Marc J. Spears of Andscape relays in a lengthy interview with the veteran.

I told [my agent] that I feel better now than I felt when I was 31 and 32. And he was like, ‘Yo, what?’ I feel like during those two or three years I hit my prime. I’m still in the middle of my prime,” Tucker said. “From my body to my mind, and the way I play the game and understanding how to win, to be a real winner, I feel like I’m hitting my prime, and it’s crazy, man, to be 36, about to be 37 [Tucker turns 37 on May 5] and still feel like that. It’s crazy.

I’ve spent a ton of money on my body, therapists. I take care of my body and I have my whole career. So, that’s a blessing to still be able to be out there and play whatever amount of minutes and do what I do and [put] my body on the line nightly.”

Here’s more on the Heat/Sixers series:

  • Kyle Lowry, who missed Game 2 after suffering a strained hamstring in Game 3 vs. Atlanta, is eager to return to action, sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, but the Heat are being cautious with their starting point guard, leery of the possibility of him aggravating the injury. “We’re not basing any of these decisions on whether we’re winning or losing,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said on Tuesday after practice. “This is what we think is best right now.”
  • After an inconsistent regular season and having his minutes gradually reduced in the first round, Heat guard Duncan Robinson has been out of Miami’s rotation completely in round two, notes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald (subscriber link). “It literally can change next game. It’s a playoff rotation,” Spoelstra said of not playing Robinson on Monday. “He’s stable enough, he’s ready enough and it might just be some moments where he really can change a quarter or a game and just be ignitable. It’s just the way we went tonight.”
  • Joel Embiid‘s status remains up in the air for Game 3, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. When asked if Embiid could play on Friday, Sixers coach Doc Rivers said he was uncertain. “He’s got so many steps to go through. I don’t think he’s cleared any of them,” Rivers said after Game 2’s loss on Wednesday. Embiid is expected to be reevaluated on Thursday.
  • Sixers forward Georges Niang fouled out in just ten minutes of action in Game 2’s 119-103 loss and he’s apparently been limited by a knee injury. “(Niang) hasn’t been 100 percent for awhile,” Rivers said (Twitter link via Tim Bontemps of ESPN). Niang has been playing through the injury, but it’s a situation worth monitoring because he’s a key bench contributor and was the team’s second-best three-point shooter during the regular season at 40.3%.

Heat Notes: Series Win, Butler, Lowry, Oladipo, Robinson

Despite missing Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry, the Heat closed out their first-round series on Tuesday, defeating the Hawks and securing a spot in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. They’ll face either Philadelphia or Toronto in the second round.

As Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald writes, the story of the first-round win was Miami’s defense simply performing better than Atlanta’s high-octane offense. After averaging 28.4 points per game on 46.0% shooting during the regular season, Trae Young put up just 15.4 PPG on 31.9% shooting in five playoff games vs. the Heat. Young, who made 22 field goals and had 30 assists in the series while turning the ball over 30 times, couldn’t seem to get going no matter who was defending him.

“They’re a good defensive team,” Young said, per Chiang. “Their team is more of a system than who they have on their team, and no matter who they have out there, they can play. It’s about their system. Their defensive system is all about helping.”

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Miami’s second-round series won’t begin until next Monday, so Butler (right knee inflammation) and Lowry (left hamstring strain) will have a few days to try to get ready for Game 1. The hope is that both will be available, according to Chiang. “The next couple days while we just watch what’s going on, I just want everybody living in the training room,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after Tuesday’s win. “Go back to our cave, bandage up, hopefully get healthy and then see what happens in that series. But definitely the guys have earned a couple days of just quality rest and treatment.”
  • Following the Heat’s Game 4 win, Butler and Victor Oladipo both laughed off a Skip Bayless claim that Butler hates playing with Oladipo (Twitter links via Brady Hawk of 5 Reasons Sports and Chiang). “I’m always the bad guy,” Butler said. “That’s okay. Bad guys are welcome here in the Miami Heat organization. … I love my guys.” Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald referred to the rumor as “baseless” (Twitter link).
  • Oladipo’s recent emergence has further diminished Duncan Robinson‘s role and raised more questions about Robinson’s future in Miami, writes John Hollinger of The Athletic. Hollinger published his article prior to Game 5, but Tuesday’s performances only strengthened his thesis — Oladipo had 23 points, while Robinson went scoreless on 0-of-5 shooting in 13 minutes.

Heat Notes: Oladipo, Lowry, Robinson, Draft Pick

Kyle Lowry‘s hamstring injury may create an opportunity for Heat guard Victor Oladipo, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Oladipo played just eight games during the regular season and hasn’t seen the court yet in the playoff series with the Hawks, but he gives coach Erik Spoelstra a veteran option if Lowry isn’t available for today’s Game 4.

“I’m just staying ready,” Oladipo said. “I can’t really control what happens out there, what goes on. I just got to stay ready. If my number is called, I’m going to go out there and play the game to the best of my ability.”

Oladipo is coming off an 11-month recovery from surgery on his quadriceps tendon. He wasn’t available until March 7, but he showed that he can still score, putting up 21 points on April 3 against the Raptors and 40 in the regular season finale against the Magic.

“Playoffs, regular season, it’s tough,” Oladipo said about not playing. “I want to be out there competing, helping the team win. But at the end of the day, I’m just focused on what I can control and whatever the coaching staff needs me to do to help us win, that’s what I’m going to do.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • John Hollinger of The Athletic examines whether Miami is resilient enough to survive an extended absence by Lowry, who is listed as questionable for today’s game. Atlanta was able to exploit the Heat’s defense after Lowry was forced to leave Game 3, Hollinger notes, especially when Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson were on the court together.
  • Robinson’s inconsistency continues to be an issue from game to game, notes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. After making 8 of 9 shots in the series opener, Robinson went scoreless in Game 2 and managed just six points in Game 3. Winderman states that Caleb Martin might take some of Robinson’s minutes, especially if Lowry is unavailable and Miami needs better defense.
  • The Heat landed the No. 27 overall draft pick in a tiebreaker this week, but they may be more likely to trade it than use it, Winderman states in a separate story. Miami already has a wealth of young talent with Mychal Mulder and Javonte Smart holding two-way contracts that extend to next season and Haywood Highsmith and Omer Yurtseven on the roster as well. In addition, Marcus Garrett did rehab work at the team’s facility after January wrist surgery and Micah Potter was an All-Rookie selection with Miami’s G League affiliate. Winderman suggests that the first-round pick could be used as sweetener to get a team to take on Robinson’s $16.9MM contract.

Heat Notes: Adebayo, Robinson, Lowry

Heat center Bam Adebayo is listed as questionable for Game 2 against the Hawks on Tuesday due to a quad contusion, Joe Vardon of The Athletic tweets. After being cleared from the league’s health and safety protocols, Adebayo finished Sunday’s game with six points, six rebounds and five assists in 28 minutes. However, coach Erik Spoelstra said Adebayo played a giant role in the team’s victory, Vardon writes.

“Who (cares) about his scoring,” Spoelstra said. “Bam is an ultimate winner. A lot of what you guys are probably going to write about what we can do defensively; he’s the one that’s driving it. If you don’t have a guy like Bam, you know, it’s very difficult to do some of the schemes, and he fully understands that.”

We have more on the Heat:

  • Jazz center Rudy Gobert, Suns guard Mikal Bridges and Celtics guard Marcus Smart were the finalists for the Defensive Player of the Year award and Adebayo was upset he did not make the list, according to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. Smart won the award and Adebayo finished fourth in the voting, receiving 13 out of 100 first-place votes. “Disrespectful, honestly,” he said. “I feel like I can do anything that two out of the three can do besides the fact that I can’t teach height. But they all three play on TV more than me, so I would expect that. They get more TV games and they get more exposure. People like to talk about them more. Nobody wants to talk about us. So it’s whatever at that point.”
  • Duncan Robinson, who scored 27 points in Game 1, admits it was tough to lose his starting job last month, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. “We’re all competitive,” said Robinson, who is in the first year of a five-year, $90MM contract. “I take a lot of pride in doing my job to the best of my ability. At the end of the day, there’s disappointment but you sacrifice and give in to what’s most important to this group. The focus quickly shifts to how can I embrace the role I do have and contribute to winning and help us advance?”
  • Kyle Lowry brought a championship pedigree from Toronto and knows how difficult it is to win a title, Vardon writes“Me getting a championship just made me want another championship,” Lowry said. “It made me understand that it’s hard to get there. It takes some skill, it takes hard work, it takes some luck. It takes a lot of things to go your way to win a championship. I’ve lost a bunch of game 1s and won series. I won a couple Game 1s and lost the series. It’s just, you’ve got to be able to stay even keel no matter what.”

Heat Notes: Herro, Robinson, Morris, Tucker

Tyler Herro has rebounded from a difficult season to become the NBA’s leading candidate for Sixth Man of the Year, and he said the trials of last season inspired him, writes Wes Goldberg of The Miami Herald. Herro made an immediate impact as a rookie in 2019/20, helping the Heat reach the NBA Finals. But that was followed by a short offseason and then a second season where nothing came as easily.

“If last year didn’t happen I probably wouldn’t be where I’m at right now,” Herro said. “I just took it as motivation to get myself better, mentally and physically.”

Miami made Herro its starting point guard at the beginning of last season, but he only held the job for 14 games before being sent back to the bench. A few months after being hailed as a rookie sensation, he was frequently mentioned as trade bait, with rumors lasting throughout the summer. With a more standard offseason to work on his game, Herro improved his play-making and now handles that role for the second unit.

“It’s a lot mentally to try to block the noise out,” Herro said. “I knew that I would eventually get to an offseason where I could relax and decompress and get myself back to where I wanted to be.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Duncan Robinson credits former NBA guard J.J. Redick for helping him stay confident when his shot wasn’t falling earlier this season, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Robinson was feeling pressure to deliver after signing a $90MM contract, but Redick told him to relax and keep shooting. “He’s seen it all in this league, offered me some words of encouragement,” Robinson said. “His advice stuck. I talked to Redick. I talked to a bunch of people. I’m fortunate to have a lot of people in my corner willing to lend a word and ear, whatever I need.”
  • On Friday, coach Erik Spoelstra used Markieff Morris as the backup center in place of Dewayne Dedmon for the second time this week, Jackson observes in the same piece. Caleb Martin understands that other players have to help on the glass when the team employs a small-ball lineup, saying they need to show “pride on the perimeter to get more rebounds. We’ve got to do more jobs as wings to try to help the bigs.”
  • Spoelstra would like to give P.J. Tucker some rest before the playoffs, but the veteran forward isn’t on board, Jackson adds. “Every time I’ve suggested it, he’ll just laugh in my face,” Spoelstra said. “Sometimes he’ll scowl at me. With the schedule right now, I don’t think we have to [rest him]. We’ll see when we get there.”