Hassan Whiteside

Southeast Notes: Spoelstra, Kidd-Gilchrist, Wall

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra will have a difficult time coming up with a rotation after team president Pat Riley failed to address the logjam at several positions, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel notes. With Hassan WhitesideKelly OlynykBam Adebayo and James Johnson on the roster, there aren’t enough frontcourt minutes to go around and keep everyone happy, Winderman continues. There’s also an excess of shooting guards options (Rodney McGruderDion WaitersTyler JohnsonWayne Ellington and Josh Richardson) even if Dwyane Wade isn’t re-signed, Winderman adds.

We have more from around the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets are thinking seriously about going with smaller lineups more often, featuring Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at power forward and Frank Kaminsky at center, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports. Charlotte has plenty of rotation-worthy options at small forward and shooting guard to allow those position changes to take place, Bonnell continues. If Kidd-Gilchrist logs significant playing time at power forward, Kaminsky could join an unsettled rotation at center and his perimeter defensive shortcomings wouldn’t be as much of an issue, Bonnell adds.
  • This is a pivotal season for Wizards point guard John Wall, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington points out. Following the upcoming season, Wall’s four-year, $170MM-plus extension kicks in and it’s time for him to show he can lead a major contender, Hughes continues. He must improve his field-goal efficiency and mesh well with incoming center Dwight Howard, Hughes adds.
  • Heat summer-league star Derrick Jones will struggle to find playing time, Winderman wrote in another mailbag piece. Get that info, plus other Miami notes, right here.

Southeast Notes: Len, Whiteside, Adebayo, Wall

After growing up as a Hawks fan, Alex Len hopes to revive his NBA career with his favorite team, writes Kevin L. Chouinard of NBA.com. A Ukrainian native, Len was attracted to the Hawks because of their connection to countryman Alexander Volkov and was happy when Atlanta expressed interest in free agency last month.

The fifth player taken in the 2013 draft, Len spent five years in Phoenix but never lived up to the Suns’ expectations. At 25, he believes he is still young enough to be part of the rebuilding plan in Atlanta.

“It’s a young team,” Len said. “I think I fit well with the guys and mesh with the young core, so for the long term I thought it would be the best team. It’s an opportunity right there. In the East, I think there’s — what, maybe four or five teams that are really good? I think we can surprise a lot of teams.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Heat center Hassan Whiteside calls the week he spent in Africa “life changing,” relays Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Whiteside was among the stars of the NBA Africa game, making all five of his shots from the field, but the week of volunteering beforehand made a larger impression. “Life changing, life changing,” he said, “from building houses with kids, from seeing kids playing basketball, from taking selfies with all the kids around the world. It’s a dream come true. I never thought that kids in Africa or anybody in Africa would know my name. It takes me back. It’s crazy.”
  • Whiteside’s performance in Africa shows he can still be effective when he’s “active and engaged,” Winderman writes in a mailbag column. Whiteside clashed with coaches over playing time last season, but Winderman states that he still has the talent to be part of the rotation, even if that forces the team to make tough choices in other areas.
  • Bam Adebayo spent a lot of time in Summer League at power forward, which may be his natural position, Winderman adds in the same piece. His playing time during the upcoming season will depend on how effectively he can operate in tandem with Whiteside or Kelly Olynyk.
  • John Wall believes the Wizards may benefit from reduced media attention heading into next season, relays Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Even after adding Dwight Howard and Austin Rivers to a talented lineup, Washington isn’t being touted in the same class with the Celtics, Sixers and Raptors. “When we were that team that was flying under the radar, we came out and showed people what we was capable of,” Wall said. “Then, when we were the team that everyone was talking about and everyone had so much high expectations for, we kind of failed those expectations.”

Heat Notes: Waiters, Johnson, Newman, McGruder

The Heat may use Dion Waiters as the primary backup to starting point guard Goran Dragic if Waiters’ ankle issues are behind him, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Coach Erik Spoelstra was using Waiters in a playmaking role before he was sidelined last season. Tyler Johnson isn’t suited for that role, Winderman continues, because he expends too much effort and takes too time advancing the ball. Spoelstra tends to use a variety of players who take turns handling the ball, which is why there is uncertainty about that role aside from Dragic.

In other news regarding the team:

  • Miami has made Johnson, Hassan Whiteside and Waiters available in trade talks this summer but hasn’t found much of a market for the trio, two unnamed league GMs told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. The Heat’s best chance of falling under the luxury-tax threshold would be moving Johnson for a player making less money, Jackson adds.
  • The Heat agreed to a contract with former Kansas guard Malik Newman with the intent of making him a G League affiliate player, Winderman writes in a separate story. Those deals are limited to a $50K guarantee. The team has already filled both of its two-contract slots with Duncan Robinson and Yante Maten, while the regular roster already has five rotation options at the guard spots with the possibility of Dwyane Wade making that situation even more muddled if he’s re-signed.
  • Finding a steady role for Rodney McGruder will be a challenge for Spoelstra next season, Winderman writes in another mailbag. McGruder was a starter when Miami made its second-half run in 2016/17, Winderman notes, but a leg injury sidetracked him last season. With Josh Richardson and Waiters starting at the wing spots and Justise Winslow, Johnson and Wayne Ellington as options behind them, it’s tough to see where McGruder fits in, Winderman adds.

Hassan Whiteside Looking To Put Last Season Behind Him

Despite a rough 2017/18 campaign that saw him miss 28 games and included a relatively infamous rant about a lack of playing time, Heat center Hassan Whiteside is ready for a fresh start, reports Shandel Richardson of the Sun-Sentinel.

“I feel great,” Whiteside said recently. “I feel a lot better than I did during (last) season. I’m completely healed. I feel like my regular self again.”

Whiteside, who dealt with both knee and hip injuries last season, averaged just 25.3 minutes per game, his lowest since his first season with the Heat in 2014/15. Moreover, he was often benched during fourth quarters and averaged a mere 15.4 MPG in the Heat’s first-round playoff series loss to the Sixers.

In regard to a recent meeting with both head coach Erik Spoelstra and team president Pat Riley, Whiteside says things are much better than a year ago.

“We had a great talk,” Whiteside said. “I just think it’s trust on both sides. I think that’s the biggest thing … It was about a four-hour meeting. It was a lot about life. It was two hours basketball, two hours life. It was a good meeting.

Whiteside, 29, led the lead in blocks during the 2015/16 season en route to being named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team. He followed that up by leading the NBA in rebounds with 14.1 per game during the 2016/17 campaign. He will look to regain that form this season.

Pat Riley Talks Wade, Haslem, Winslow, Whiteside

The futures of Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem remain uncertain for now, but Heat president Pat Riley said today on a conference call that he expects both players to make decisions within the next few weeks on whether or not they want to return to Miami. While Wade and Haslem have reportedly received overseas interest, there’s a belief that both players are more likely to either re-sign with the Heat or retire.

As Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald details, Riley said that he expects to have some clarity on both players by the middle of August. The Heat president also spoke specifically about the club’s desire to re-sign Wade.

“I want Dwyane back as a player, a guy who wants to have the greatest year he’s ever had as a player,” Riley said of the longtime Heat star. “I read more articles about Dwyane might not have the same motivation, but I still see a player who can contribute heavily if he really wants to. If he plays, he’s going to want to do it. We don’t want him back as a placemat holder or someone who’s going to be a veteran in the locker room. Dwyane is a great player, a great talent. He can make a big difference for us.”

There have been reports indicating that Wade would want the $5.337MM taxpayer mid-level exception if he returns to the Heat, but Riley deflected an inquiry about whether the team would be willing to offer its MLE, suggesting that’s a question for owner Micky Arison.

Here’s more from Riley, via Jackson:

  • Riley dismissed the idea that he’s frustrated by not being able to make any real upgrades to last year’s roster, telling reporters that “continuity is important” for the club.
  • The Heat have been in touch with Justise Winslow‘s agent, but discussions about a rookie scale contract extension are unlikely to become serious until later in the offseason. “We are going to address that in late August, once everything dies down,” Riley said. “We look at Justise as one of our anchor pieces. We will have that extension discussion in late August. We don’t have to do anything until mid-October.”
  • Riley confirmed that the Heat haven’t been willing to surrender young players and picks in order to trade highly-priced veterans this offseason. “We have had opportunities this summer to do that a lot and it wasn’t worth getting rid of our young assets or picks coming up, so we decided to stand pat with team that we have,” he said.
  • According to Riley, there have been “great discussions” between head coach Erik Spoelstra and disgruntled center Hassan Whiteside. Riley says he expects Whiteside to have a big year in 2018/19 and claimed that the big man “has not been shopped all over the league.”

Heat Notes: Vaughn, Stoudemire, Whiteside, Robinson

At age 21, former first-round pick Rashad Vaughn is trying to salvage his NBA career, relays Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Vaughn was part of the Heat’s entry in the Las Vegas Summer League, hoping to earn another shot after being traded twice and waived twice last season.

Vaughn was taken by the Bucks with the 17th pick in the 2015 draft, but his career tailed off quickly after a promising rookie season. In February, Milwaukee dealt him to the Nets, who sent him to the Pelicans two days later. After being waived by New Orleans, Vaughn signed two 10-day contracts with the Magic, but wasn’t kept when the second one expired.

“This is kind of my journey,” Vaughn said. “I’ve got to take a look at it and see what I did wrong and go from there and continue to try to just persevere from there.”

There’s more news out of Miami:

  • Amar’e Stoudemire, who will be back in Miami this week with the Big3 League, is also hoping for another NBA opportunity, Winderman writes in a separate story. Stoudemire, 35, sat out last season after winning a championship in Israel the year before. He said he would be interested in a return to the Heat, but hasn’t spoken to anyone from the team. “As of right now, I’m showing my athletic ability and the way I move,” Stoudemire said. “I think a lot of teams haven’t really seen me play since the last time I played in Israel, so I just want them to see I have great heath and am able to be on that level. Once they see how healthy I am and how good I feel, I think teams will be able to sign me at that point.”
  • The Heat have been open about their desire to trade Hassan Whiteside, but Stoudemire believes his former teammate can succeed in Miami, Winderman adds in the same story. Stoudemire said Whiteside needs to work on his post skills this summer and become a more effective inside scorer. “You can’t be satisfied with the money and the fame; you have to be able to work to become great,” Stoudemire said. “And that’s one thing that a lot players don’t understand. You can have amazing potential, but you’re never going to reach that potential unless you put in that work.”
  • Duncan Robinson was among the biggest winners in summer league, earning a two-way contract with the Heat. Robinson quickly impressed the team with his outside shot, summer league coach Eric Glass tells Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. “He came in and really played well and shot it like we thought and showed us that he can do a couple other things on the court that we liked,” Glass said. “And obviously a two-way came out of that, which he really earned.”

Wayne Ellington Re-Signs With Heat

JULY 13, 6:53pm: The signing is official, according to a team press release.

JULY 12, 8:35pm: Free agent guard Wayne Ellington will re-sign with the Heat, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald."<strong

Ellington will receive $6.27MM for one year, the same amount he made in 2017/18. Negotiations lasted almost two weeks because the organization didn’t want to go too far into luxury tax territory, Jackson adds.

The Heat will officially become a taxpaying team, according to Bobby Marks on ESPN Now. As Marks details, a total team salary of $127MM puts Miami over the tax threshold by $3.2MM and gives the club a projected tax bill of $4.9MM so far.

With 12 guaranteed contracts on their books so far for the upcoming season, the Heat still have their $5.3MM taxpayer mid-level exception available. Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem are candidates to return and fill a couple of the club’s open roster slots.

The Heat will continue to try to trim salary, with Hassan Whiteside and Tyler Johnson among the players being made available in trade, a rival executive tells Jackson. Ellington isn’t a trade candidate, but for what it’s worth, he’ll be able to veto any deal this season because of the one-year Bird rights restriction.

Ellington, 30, has been a deadly shooter off the bench in his two seasons with the Heat. He averaged a career-best 11.2 PPG during the 2017/18 season, sinking 227 3-pointers and shooting 39% from long distance.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Heat Notes: Trade Talks, Johnson, Whiteside

The Heat have been looking to shed salary, having made Hassan Whiteside, Tyler Johnson, and Dion Waiters available in trade talks, two rival high-ranking executives tell Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

According to those execs, however, Miami has been unwilling to attach a future first-round pick or a young player like Justise Winslow or Josh Richardson to those highly-paid veterans. As Jackson details, the Heat’s preference would be to move a big contract like Johnson’s for a lesser-paid – and perhaps less effective player – or a draft pick.

Whiteside, Johnson, and Waiters aren’t bad players, but they’re not positive trade assets on their current contracts, which span multiple seasons and will pay them $25.4MM, 19.2MM, and $11.6MM respectively in 2018/19. As such, the Heat will likely have to adjust their expectations and their asking price if they hope to move any of those players.

Here are several more notes out of South Beach:

  • In an article for The Miami Herald, Barry Jackson explores the Heat’s options with Tyler Johnson‘s contract and notes that agent Mark Bartelstein isn’t ruling the possibility of Derrick Walton returning to the Heat. Miami withdrew Walton’s two-way qualifying offer earlier this week.
  • Heat head coach Erik Spoeltra appears committed to a fresh start with Hassan Whiteside, telling reporters this week that he has been in “constant contact” with the veteran center this summer (link via The Miami Herald). “I’m looking forward to the start of the season with a healthy Hassan. I know he’s looking forward to that,” Spoelstra said. “And we still have a good part of the summer to get better. I think Hassan having an opportunity to start off the season healthy will be a really big boost for us.”
  • The Heat remain on the lookout for under-the-radar free agents who are participating in the Las Vegas Summer League or holding individual workouts in Vegas this week, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. “Guys are getting two-ways during Summer League right now,” assistant GM Adam Simon said. “So those guys come off the table. So my job, our job, is to make sure we’re aware of all players that are available and then when it’s time to make decisions, then, as a group, we make those decisions.”
  • In a separate article for The Sun Sentinel, Winderman examines how the Heat will handle their logjam at shooting guard with Wayne Ellington re-signing and a Dwyane Wade return still in play.

Heat Failing To Find Trade Market For Several Players

The Heat have tried to deal both Hassan Whiteside and Tyler Johnson this offseason but found a lack of interest in the pair of expensive veterans, sources tell Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

Whiteside will make roughly $25.4MM this season before he gets to deliberate a $27.1MM player option in the summer of 2019, He’s seemed unhappy with his playing time late in the 2017/18 campaign and it’s fair to wonder whether he would be open to a buyout if the team can’t trade his enormous contract. However, even if Miami makes the center miserable by further reducing his playing time, Jackson hears that it’s unlikely Whiteside walks away from the money.

Johnson will take home $19.2MM as part of the four-year pact he signed two summers ago. The Nets had presented the shooting guard with a $50MM offer sheet during the player-friendly 2016 free agent period. The offer spread more than 75% of Johnson’s total salary over the final two years of the deal. Miami surprisingly matched at the time and they’re now facing the first of two $19MM+ salary years.

Jackson adds that Dion Waiters has also been brought up in trade talks. Waiters has three years and approximately $36MM left on his contract.

Miami has no clear path to cap space next summer without moving the aforementioned players. Top names like Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, and Klay Thompson are expected to hit the market and the team won’t be in a position to make a patented Pat Riley free agency pitch unless it gets creative with its roster.

Heat Rumors: Whiteside, Winslow, Wade, Haslem

The Heat, one of two teams that entered Thursday’s draft without a pick in either round, explored the possibility of trading into the draft. However, team president Pat Riley told reporters late last night that the team didn’t feel it made sense to pay the asking price for a second-round selection.

“Every second-round pick cost two second-round picks or a future second-round pick and cash,” Riley said, per Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald (Twitter link).

Although the Heat didn’t make any moves on draft night, Riley said the club has engaged in a “lot of discussion with a lot of teams about a lot of players,” according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter link). Riley also discussed several other offseason topics during his session with the media, so we’ll round up the highlights below, via Winderman:

  • According to Riley, the Heat have yet to offer Hassan Whiteside to any teams in trade talks. “I expect a lot of out Hassan, contrary to what people might think about us trading him,” Riley said. “We haven’t offered him to anybody, really, to be honest with you. So you go through an emotional period with a player and you deal with it and you come back and you work things out.” Of course, Riley’s comments could reflect a lack of a market for the veteran center.
  • Riley denied that Justise Winslow was offered in trades leading up to the draft. However, Winslow is believed to be available in the right deal.
  • Riley confirmed that the Heat will try to find a way to keep Wayne Ellington, though he acknowledged potential luxury-tax concerns, hinting that Miami likely wouldn’t be able to match an aggressive offer from another team.
  • The Heat don’t know yet whether Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem want to continue their respective careers, but they’d be welcomed back if they want to return to the Heat. “They’ve been together forever and they also deserve the respect to sit and wait on this thing. And so there’s no rush,” Riley said.
  • Given the Heat’s lack of cap room, Riley isn’t necessarily expecting an action-packed offseason for the club. “I don’t know if there are going to be any midnight meetings (at the start of free agency),” Riley said (Twitter link). “Not this year.”
  • Dion Waiters continues to recover from ankle surgery, but the Heat are hoping that he’ll be ready for training camp, says Riley.