Goran Dragic

Heat Notes: Butler, Olynyk, Winslow, Haslem

The culture established by team president Pat Riley was a deciding factor in Jimmy Butler agreeing to join the Heat, according to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press.

“The winning habits, the winning ways. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?” he said. “I was excited to have an opportunity to come here, to be here, but when I keep hearing about this culture I was like, ‘I need that in my life.’”

Butler, who received a four-year deal worth approximately $141MM as part of a sign-and-trade with the Sixers, has shown that work ethic during early-morning workouts and in pickup games. Riley describes his biggest summer acquisition as a top-10 player in the NBA

“The one thing that I feel that I owe the franchise and this city is to put the most competitive team on the court that we can and one that will compete for championships,” Riley said. “I think having Jimmy Butler here is a step in that direction.”

We have more on the Heat:

  • Big man Kelly Olynyk won’t be available for the start of training camp but he’s expected to be ready for the opener, Reynolds reports in the same story. He suffered a bone bruise in his right knee while playing for Team Canada prior to the FIBA World Cup. Every other player on the training camp roster is expected to be available at the start of camp.
  • Riley wasn’t thrilled that Justise Winslow said publicly he wanted to be the starting point guard, Reynolds tweets. Winslow commented that he wanted to be the team’s floor leader earlier this month. He played well in that role last season after injuries struck but the starter in recent seasons, Goran Dragic, remains on the roster.
  • Butler would consider playing for Team USA in next year’s Olympics if he’s asked, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel tweets.
  • Prior to re-signing veteran forward Udonis Haslem, Riley asked him if he wanted to coach this summer, Reynolds tweets. Haslem said he wasn’t interested in coaching but Riley believes he’ll eventually change his mind, Reynolds adds.

Goran Dragic Talks Trade Rumors, Butler, Health

Shortly after free agency opened on the night of June 30, the Heat appeared to have a trade in place to send Goran Dragic to Dallas in order to help make room under the team’s hard cap for swingman Jimmy Butler. However, a miscommunication between the Heat and Mavericks scuttled the deal, and while Dragic remained on the trade block for at least another day or two, he’ll ultimately return to Miami to start the 2019/20 season.

As Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald relays, Dragic missed out on much of that trade-rumor drama on the first night of free agency, since he was asleep in Slovenia when those reports surfaced.

“Of course, the next day, in the morning, I received a lot of texts,” Dragic said. “It was a little bit crazy, because at first you didn’t know if the deal went through or not. So a lot of my friends called me and were asking me. But I did not have a clue, because I had just woke up.”

Interestingly, Dragic said he didn’t speak to his agent or the Heat about the trade rumors and opted to “just let it go” when it became clear he’d be staying put. As he prepares to enter a contract year, Dragic expressed enthusiasm about Miami’s offseason moves (“I think we’re a better team”) and touched on a handful of other topics.

Here are some highlights, via Chiang:

On the acquisition of Jimmy Butler:

“I mean, he’s a great competitor. You can see that on the court. I don’t know him personally, but as a player, when I play against him he’s really a tough defender, he’s really vocal on the floor. I think he sets an example for the other players. I think he’s a huge addition for us, especially to lead this group. He can play on both ends, defense and on offense. He’s a great addition to our team.”

On the health of his right knee, which was an issue in 2018/19:

“I’m good, I’m good. I was working hard. My leg is way stronger than last year. Basically the right leg is stronger than the left one. I’m doing some basketball drills, some lifting weights. Everything is going like we planned.”

On his upcoming free agency in 2020:

“If I’m honest, I don’t even think about it, because I’m more in the present, because I’m trying to get back to being healthy this year. So this is my priority, just to stay focused and do my job. And when the time is going to come, then I’m going to think about my future. So, it doesn’t make sense to think it right now, because the season still didn’t start. And I haven’t felt how my body is going to react. So, we’ll see.”

Heat Notes: Free Agency, Leonard, Okpala, Mooney

The Heat won’t be in the market for any of the remaining free agents unless they trade someone from their current roster, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The hard cap that the team has been operating under since the Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade has put a severe limit on its flexibility. Miami is already uncomfortably close to its $138.9MM limit.

That means potential additions such as Jamal Crawford, J.R. Smith and Carmelo Anthony are off the table unless the Heat make another move to open space. They could release Kendrick Nunn, whose contract isn’t fully guaranteed, but Winderman considers that unlikely. If they decide to trade someone in exchange for a lesser salary, Winderman identifies Meyers Leonard, who will earn $11.3MM this season, as a possibility. He adds that they may try to move Goran Dragic by the deadline or save their next significant moves for next summer.

There’s more this morning from Miami:

  • Second-round pick KZ Okpala wouldn’t object to spending time in the G League if it’s necessary to get consistent playing time, relays Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Jackson notes that a similar path worked for Josh Richardson, who played four games for Sioux Falls as a second-round pick in 2015. “I trust the staff and whatever they say is best,” Okpala said. “I believe in that and will go into it with a good foot forward.”
  • Free agent guard Matt Mooney, who agreed to sign an Exhibit 10 deal with the Grizzlies last week, received the same offer from the Heat, Jackson notes in the same story. It’s a similar situation to Rayjon Tucker, who recently joined the Bucks, as both players worked out for Miami and were interested in two-way contracts. However, the Heat have decided to let players in training camp compete for two-way deals.
  • Jackson rates the Heat’s potential interest in six players recently identified by former Hawks GM Wes Wilcox as among the most likely to be traded: Chris Paul, Kevin Love, Bradley Beal, Andrew Wiggins, Andre Iguodala and Devin Booker. Miami’s interest in Beal is well known, and he would be at the top of the list if he becomes available. The Heat had discussions about Paul, but won’t make a deal unless they get their two first-round picks back from Oklahoma City. Jackson doesn’t believe Miami would want Love because of his age, contract and injury history, while Iguodala fits better on an immediate contender. However, Jackson sees Booker and Wiggins as possible targets in the future if the Heat can’t land another star in free agency.

Mark Cuban Explains Snag In Trade With Heat

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban blames “miscommunication” for a failed trade that would have helped Jimmy Butler get to Miami, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

Dallas attempted to get involved with the sign-and-trade on June 30 shortly after Butler reached an agreement with the Heat. The reported deal would have sent Goran Dragic to the Mavericks, although several media outlets later claimed Dallas believed it was getting Kelly Olynyk and Derrick Jones Jr. Miami would have needed to include another player to make that deal work financially and wasn’t interested in parting with Jones, according to Jackson.

“As far as we can tell, it was just miscommunication,” Cuban stated in an email. “… We get along great with the Heat and have done many deals with them. Wires just got crossed somehow.”

Cuban added that his team respects Dragic, but had plans for its cap space that would have been affected by taking on his $19.2MM salary. The Mavs believe they have addressed their point guard needs by acquiring Delon Wright on a three-year, $29MM deal in a sign-and-trade with the Grizzlies.

“I was sitting in the room full of people when the call was discussed and we put the trade we thought was happening on our board,” Cuban explained of the misunderstanding with Miami. “We later discussed trade kickers and added a player to make it work. They obviously thought they heard something else.”

The Heat eventually acquired Butler in a four-team deal involving the Sixers, Trail Blazers and Clippers.

After the original trade collapsed, the Heat told Dragic’s representatives they would try to trade him to complete the Butler deal. However, that need disappeared when Portland offered to take Hassan Whiteside‘s hefty salary, and Dragic’s camp was informed that he will remain with the team “barring something unforeseen.” Heat officials haven’t commented on their negotiations with Dallas.

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.

Southeast Notes: Magic, Parsons, Hornets, Rozier, Dragic

The Magic have scrapped any notion of rebuilding and are building off of last season’s playoff appearance, Josh Robbins of The Athletic contends. Orlando made $179MM in contractual commitments to re-sign Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross and add forward Al-Farouq Aminu. That approach could backfire because the franchise will have minimal salary-cap flexibility in upcoming summers and little chance to chase top-notch free agents, Robbins continues. It was also a vote of confidence that the young players on the roster will show significant growth, Robbins adds.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Chandler Parsons recently underwent a procedure in Germany to relieve his knee pain, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. Parsons had another Regenokine treatment in which a person’s own tissue is collected, processed and then placed back into the body. The Hawks officially acquired the veteran forward from the Grizzlies on Sunday for Solomon Hill and Miles Plumlee.
  • The Hornets are willing to pay the luxury tax in future seasons if they become contenders, GM Mitch Kupchak told Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. Kupchak indicated he’s currently allowed by majority owner Michael Jordan to spend up to the luxury tax threshold. “If we ever get to the point that we feel we can advance in the playoffs, Michael has made it clear that we will go into the tax,” Kupchak said. However, that seems a long way off after losing franchise player Kemba Walker in free agency.
  • Terry Rozier, Walker’s de facto replacement after the sign-and-trade with Boston was completed, was underrated coming into the NBA, Kupchak said. Rozier was the 16th pick of the 2015 draft but should have gone higher in light of his production with the Celtics, Kupchak said in a quote relayed by the team’s PR staff (Twitter link). “We feel like if he was in the draft this year, Terry Rozier would have been a lottery pick,” Kupchak said.
  • Goran Dragic‘s $19.2MM expiring contract gives the Heat a valuable asset to dangle in a trade to continue their roster makeover, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. They could use it this offseason to acquire another star player such as Russell Westbrook, whom the Heat are reportedly interested in, or at the February trading deadline.

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 Waive, Stretch Ryan Anderson’s Contract

2:05pm: The Heat have formally waived Anderson, the team confirmed in a press release.

12:26pm: The Heat will waive Ryan Anderson and use the stretch provision on the remaining year of  the forward’s contract in order to complete the Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade with the Sixers, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel tweets.

Anderson had a $21,264,635 salary for next season but approximately $15,64MM was guaranteed. By stretching out the guaranteed portion of the contract, the Heat will take cap hits of approximately $5.2MM for the next three seasons. Miami needed to get below the hard cap of $138.9MM that applies to teams that acquire a player via sign-and-trade. Stretching out Anderson’s deal was its simplest means of achieving that goal, as the Heat will drop $1.88MM below that hard cap threshold, ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes.

Anderson was one of the hottest free agents on the market in 2016 and signed a four-year, $80MM with the Rockets. That contract became an albatross after Anderson lost playing time in Houston and he was traded to both the Suns and Heat last season, appearing in just 25 games.

The Heat will apparently hold onto Goran Dragic for the time being, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets. Dragic, who is due $19.2MM for next season, has been the subject of trade rumors.

Heat Notes: Hard-Cap Crunch, Dragic, Nunn

The Heat may have a logjam for their final roster spots in 2019/20, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. Given that the team is hard-capped due to the Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade, Miami’s best bet of avoiding the $138.9MM hard cap may well be to avoid adding a 15th player.

Removing that 15th slot makes Pat Riley‘s task of rounding out a roster all that much more difficult. According to Jackson, all of Yante Maten, Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn and even Udonis Haslem could be competing for Heats’ 13th and 14th roster spots.

Riley’s no stranger to making difficult decisions but with Butler on board and a higher ceiling now within reach, the Heat may still be inclined to add external support, too. Jackson presents DeMarcus Cousins as a possibility.

Jackson notes that the Heat are still exploring trade options and it’s understandable why. Simply consolidating talent could solve both the team’s problems, freeing up a roster slot while potentially adding an impact rotation player.

There’s more from Miami today:

  • Among the consolation prizes for the Lakers if they do end up missing out on Kawhi Leonard could be Heat veteran Goran Dragic. Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel speculates that the 33-year-old could be a good, short-term fit for the squad as it builds out its roster.
  • There’s a chance that Pat Riley may have drafted differently had he known that Jimmy Butler would be on his roster by the end of the summer, but Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reminds readers that lottery pick Tyler Herro will still have plenty of value as a shooter.
  • If the Heat want to convert Kendrick Nunn‘s standard contract into a two-way deal, they’ll need to do so before August 1, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. On that day, an additional $150,000 of his contract becomes guaranteed. The collective bargaining agreement forbids teams from converting players with more than $50,000 protection over to two-way deals. Waiving Nunn would expose him to waivers and he may get claimed.

Windhorst’s Latest: Beal, Teague, Dragic, Covington, More

After a star-studded group of free agents hit the open market this summer, 2020’s free agent class isn’t expected to nearly as impressive, so front offices expect trades to “take center stage” over the next year, writes ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

According to Windhorst, Bradley Beal‘s name is the one that keeps coming up when executives around the NBA discuss potential trade candidates, since the Wizards are facing a possible rebuilding – or at least retooling – process. However, sources tell Windhorst that Washington’s front office continues to resist inquiries on its All-Star shooting guard.

Here’s more from Windhorst’s article about possible trade targets from around the league:

  • Jeff Teague (Timberwolves) and Goran Dragic (Heat), two veteran point guards on expiring $19MM contracts, were recently discussed in possible deals, Windhorst confirms. Since Minnesota missed out on D’Angelo Russell and Miami found another way to complete its Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade, Teague and Dragic may end up staying put. Neither the Wolves nor the Heat are especially deep at the point guard spot, so if either club deals its veteran guard, it would need to line up another option at the position, Windhorst notes.
  • The Timberwolves were dangling Robert Covington in an effort to move up in the draft, but eventually dealt Dario Saric instead. Still, league executives wouldn’t be surprised if Covington is back on the trade market at some point in 2019/20, says Windhorst.
  • Windhorst is skeptical that the Grizzlies will be able to get a real asset in return for Andre Iguodala, suggesting that Memphis’ efforts to trade him may still eventually lead to a buyout.
  • The Cavaliers will likely try to move Tristan Thompson or John Henson by the trade deadline, according to Windhorst. Both big men are on expiring deals, with Thompson owed $18.5MM while Henson will make $10.5MM.