Jamal Cain

Heat Notes: Lowry, Spoelstra, Cain, O. Robinson

The Heat never planned to have Kyle Lowry rank second in the league in minutes played, but early-season injuries have forced them into that situation, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Through 18 games, Lowry has logged 656 minutes, just four behind league leader Kevin Durant. The veteran guard had to play at least 44 minutes twice on the team’s recent four-game road trip, including a 51-minute outing last Friday at Washington.

“I can’t say enough about Kyle Lowry and that’s why he has that reputation that he does as a winner,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He’s dealing with his stuff, too, and he’s just, ‘I’m available, coach. Whatever you need from me. If you need me to play 48, I’ll play 48.’ And he’s basically been doing that every single game on this road trip. It’s not something I like to do sitting in this head coaching chair. That’s where we are right now.”

With Max Strus sidelined tonight, Lowry is the only Heat player to have appeared in every game. He has been able to stay healthy after dealing with a strained hamstring last postseason and is answering critics who’ve raised questions about his conditioning.

“For me, it’s about playing basketball and doing my job at the highest level I can possibly do it at,” Lowry said. “At the end of the day, I don’t know how long I’ll be able to play basketball the rest of my life. I want to play, I still enjoy it and I have fun doing it.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • The Heat have been short-handed for much of the season, and Spoelstra is hoping some of his players will be able to return soon even if they’re not 100 percent, Chiang adds in a separate story. “Maybe they can give us a little bit of reinforcement even if it’s just short minutes,” Spoelstra said. “That’s where we are right now. Just give us whatever you have, whatever you have just give us. If you’re used to playing 30 minutes, give us 15. If you’re used to playing 20 minutes, give us eight. So we can kind of manage things right now.”
  • Jamal Cain, who earned a two-way contract after going undrafted, saw late-game minutes Monday instead of first-round pick Nikola Jovic, notes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. “He has a great, positive spirit every single day,” Spoelstra said of Cain. “It doesn’t change whether he’s having a good day, a bad day, an in-between day. You have no idea. He always has the same approach, a great enthusiasm for the work. And that’s why he’s going to continue to get better.”
  • Orlando Robinson found there wasn’t much demand for an “old school” big man in the draft, but he’s getting a chance to prove himself after signing a two-way deal earlier this month, Winderman states in another piece.

Southeast Notes: Carter Jr., Cain, Heat Arena, Bol

Magic center Wendell Carter Jr. said that he’d been dealing with right plantar fascia for a few weeks before it sidelined him, Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel tweets.

“There’s really no specific thing you can put on it to stop it from hurting,” he said. “It’s just about tolerance, putting heat on it and stuff like that.”

Carter, who is averaging 16.6 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists, has missed three of the last four games.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Jamal Cain, one of the Heat‘s two-way players, says that being a 23-year-old rookie makes him better prepared for the ups and downs of his pro career than a younger newcomer, he told Spencer Davies of Basketball News in a lengthy feature. “When you’re young, you want everything to come so fast, you want everything to be perfect,” Cain said. “But after going through college and going through those ups and downs and realizing that my journey is going to be tough… it’s not going to be all perfect.” Cain has appeared in five games with Miami this season.
  • Miami-Dade County has filed a motion in federal court to immediately terminate the FTX Arena naming rights agreement, Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press tweets. The Heat and Miami-Dade County chose to sever ties with cryptocurrency giant FTX after the company filed for bankruptcy.
  • Bol Bol is making a bid for the league’s Most Improved Player award and he believes that improved health has led to his breakout season, Andrew Lopez of ESPN writes. The Magic big man is averaging 13.1 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. “Now that I’ve been healthy,” Bol said, “I feel like I’ve just been getting better every single day.”

Southeast Notes: Banchero, Bol, Hachimura, Cain, Time Change

Top pick Paolo Banchero is off to a terrific start for the Magic but he might miss a game for the first time on Wednesday. He’s questionable to play against Dallas due to a left ankle sprain, Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel tweets.

Banchero is averaging 23.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game for the 2-9 Magic, who already have a handful of players out due to injuries.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Bol Bol has emerged as a candidate for the league’s Most Improved Player award, Josh Cohen of the team’s website writes. The 22-year-old big man played in just 14 games for Denver last season but has seen action in all of the Magic‘s games this season, including six starts. He’s averaging 11.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per night. “I think there’s so much more that he can show, but the one thing that I really appreciate about him and what he’s done is he’s just accepted whatever we are asking him to do, and he does it willingly,” head coach Jamahl Mosley said. Bol, acquired from Boston last season, is on a two-year contract but his $2.2MM salary for next season is not guaranteed.
  • Rui Hachimura has looked more comfortable coming off the bench this season, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. The Wizards forward contributed 16 points in 26 minutes against Charlotte on Monday. For the season, he’s shooting 46.2% from the field. He’ll be a restricted free agent next summer if the team extends a qualifying offer.
  • Miami rookie Jamal Cain is on a tw0-way contract and he will have to get used to bouncing back and forth between the NBA and G League, as Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel details. The Heat‘s G League team is in Sioux Falls. “It tests you mentally,” Caleb Martin said. “You might be going down and playing 30-plus minutes and you might be coming up and watching the whole game. It’s just a good way to keep your mind ready.”
  • Due to tropical storm Nicole, the Magic-Mavericks game on Wednesday has been moved up to 5:30 p.m. ET, the Magic’s PR department tweets.

Heat Notes: Spoelstra, Trade Restrictions, Haslem, Cain

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is frustrated by what he has seen from his players during their 2-5 start, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. After finishing with the best record in the East last season, Miami has been plagued by lax defense and poor shot selection, both of which were on display as the team was outscored 71-49 in the first half Saturday by the previously winless Kings.

“Right now, this is about the collective group, how are we going to impact this thing together to impact winning,” Spoelstra said. “If we try to do it any other way, it’s going to lead to an incredible amount of frustration. Anybody that is trying to do it on their own or anybody that is trying to self will it or anybody trying to work any individual goals with this, it ain’t going to work, it ain’t going to work on either end.”

One of the few Heat players who had a good game in Sacramento was Tyler Herro, who scored 34 points, although Spoelstra dismissed it as “not in a winning effort.” Herro, who is adapting to a new role as a starter this season, said the team needs to upgrade its defense, which currently ranks 18th in the league.

“After taking five losses, especially after the first half tonight, it’s time we… lock in and decide what type of team we want to be,” Herro said. “If we’re going to just get in shootouts like in the first half, then that’s the kind of team we want to be. I know we hang our hat on defense, so we’ve got to cover for each other.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • Miami has limited options for roster moves because Dewayne Dedmon and injured guard Victor Oladipo are both under trade restrictions that prevent them from being moved until January 15, Jackson adds in a separate story. He states that outside of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, the rest of the team has little trade value.
  • Udonis Haslem saw rare first-quarter minutes Saturday, which shows the Heat’s lack of depth in the frontcourt, notes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The 42-year-old power forward was actually the first player off the bench, replacing Adebayo after he picked up his second foul. Miami was missing Dedmon, who is suffering from an upper-respiratory infection and a foot issue, and Omer Yurtseven, who is rehabbing an injured ankle, but it appears Haslem might have a larger role than originally expected.
  • Jamal Cain, who earned a two-way contract with a strong preseason performance, will be sent to the team’s G League affiliate in Sioux Falls, Winderman adds. First-round pick Nikola Jovic, who has seen limited playing time in three games, may be headed there as well once Dedmon and Yurtseven are able to play.

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.”

Jamal Cain Gets Two-Way Contract With Heat

1:15pm: The Heat have issued a press release confirming that their series of moves – converting Cain to a two-way deal, waiving Days, and signing Mulder – are now official.

10:33am: The Heat will convert Jamal Cain‘s Exhibit 10 contract to a two-way deal, tweets Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

The team will waive Darius Days from his two-way contract to accommodate the move, and his roster spot will be given to Mychal Mulder.

Cain, a 23-year-old small forward, signed the Exhibit 10 deal in July after going undrafted out of Oakland. He played for the Heat’s Summer League team and has been impressive during the preseason, causing Miami officials to fear that he might not clear waivers if he was let go.

The Heat still have plans for Days, assuming he clears waivers, Chiang writes in a full story. His two-way contract was converted to an Exhibit 10 deal on Saturday, and he appears headed to Miami’s G League affiliate in Sioux Falls if he’s not claimed by another team.

Days was given a two-way contract in mid-July after a strong Summer League showing with the Spurs. He appeared in two preseason games, but saw limited action.

Heat Notes: Herro, Cain, Jovic, Oladipo, Haslem

The Heat initially offered Tyler Herro a four-year rookie scale extension with $112MM in guaranteed money and incentives that would have pushed its value to $128MM, Joe Vardon of The Athletic reports.

Miami eventually upped the ante, with Herro signing a four-year deal with $120MM in guaranteed money and another $10MM in incentives.

“I wanted to be here and they wanted me here, so I mean, it was something we both wanted to get done,” Herro said. “We’re paying a lot of guys now. … so it was just getting the right number. I think it’s a good deal for both sides.”

We have more on the Heat:

  • Herro didn’t play in the back-to-back preseason games on Thursday and Friday due to a knee contusion, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald notes.
  • In the same notebook, Chiang writes that Oakland University rookie Jamal Cain may be forcing the team’s hand with some impressive preseason performances. Cain, who is on an Exhibit 10 deal, had 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field, 11 rebounds and five steals in 27 minutes against Brooklyn on Thursday and 19 points, six rebounds and three assists against the Grizzlies on Friday. Cain may not pass through waivers without being claimed, so Miami will have to consider converting him to a standard deal or a two-way, though both of the team’s two-way slots are currently filled.
  • Along with trying to make his mark on the team, Nikola Jovic is in the midst of finishing high school, Tim Bontemps of ESPN writes. Jovic still has to take one more comprehensive exam to get his high school degree from his Serbian school. He skipped the exam during the spring while undergoing draft workouts.
  • Victor Oladipo hasn’t played in the preseason as the Heat are taking a cautious approach with the oft-injured guard, according to Chiang. Oladipo re-signed with the club on a two-year, $18.2MM contract this summer. “We’re just getting him ready and that’s really it,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He had a very good camp, he’s doing some really good work right now and we want to keep in this good place.”
  • Playing 20 seasons with one franchise, putting him in rare company, was one of the reasons why Udonis Haslem decided to keep his career going this season, ESPN’s Israel Gutierrez writes in a lengthy interview with the 42-year-old big man. “I want kids somewhere to say, ‘I want to have a career like Udonis Haslem — undrafted, worked for everything I got, won three championships, retired and went into ownership with the same organization I played with for 20 years,” Haslem said.

Heat Sign Jamal Cain To Exhibit 10 Contract

The Heat have signed undrafted rookie Jamal Cain, the team announced. According to Barry Jackson and Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald, Cain received an Exhibit 10 contract.

Cain spent four seasons with Marquette, averaging 5.2 PPG and 3.9 RPG in 18.3 MPG across 120 games (31 starts). After graduating, he transferred to Oakland University, where he had a breakout season in 2021/22.

The 6’7″ forward averaged 19.9 PPG, 10.2 RPG and 1.8 SPG on .499/.298/.841 shooting in 30 games (35 MPG) for Oakland, earning first-team All-Horizon honors and Horizon League Player of the Year. He’s appeared in three total games with the Heat’s Summer League squad, averaging 7.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG and 2.3 SPG.

As Jackson and Chiang detail, Cain had to isolate for six days in a San Francisco hotel after contracting COVID-19, causing him to miss some Summer League action. He said the Heat “like how I can guard multiple positions, the way I can defend, the way I can rebound, the way I can kind of be all over the floor. Just play to my strengths, trying to be athletic on the rim, trying to take advantage of mismatches and stuff like that.”

Cain has also spoken to Kendrick Nunn, a former Heat guard and Oakland University product, about his experience with Miami and what it takes to be successful there, per Jackson and Chiang.

While Cain is probably a long shot to earn a spot on Miami’s 15-man regular season roster, an Exhibit 10 contract can be converted to a two-way contract before the regular season begins. It also makes a player eligible for a bonus worth up to $50K if he’s waived before the season and then joins his team’s G League affiliate.

Lakers Notes: Ham, Westbrook, Prospect Workouts

At least three people involved in the NBA Finals believe Darvin Ham was the correct coaching choice for the Lakers, according to Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times.

Warriors associate head coach Mike Brown, who will take over as head coach of the Kings once the season concludes, has known Ham since 1996, when Ham was a rookie for the Nuggets and Brown was a first-year staffer, Woike writes. Brown later gave Ham his first NBA coaching job as an assistant on his staff with the Lakers in 2011.

Everyone is like, ‘He’s a rookie head coach, going in there to work for the Lakers with all those veterans,’ but don’t get it twisted,” Brown said. “I would like to see who would be the first to challenge Darvin or roll his eyes because he will stand his ground. And he will make sure his point gets across and gets across within an authority a situation like that may need.”

Like Ham, Draymond Green is a native of Saginaw, Michigan, and he said Ham was an inspiration to him growing up, per Woike. Green also said Ham will bring much-needed toughness to Los Angeles.

I think he’s going to bring a toughness, a blue-collar mentality just because that’s how he’s built. That’s how he’s raised. You have to be that way from Saginaw,” Green told The Times. “I think it’ll be a different toughness that they haven’t seen. And he’s going to command and require a different respect level that they haven’t really have had. … And I think that will bode well for that team.”

Celtics big man Al Horford also praised Ham, who was on the Hawks’ coaching staff when Horford played in Atlanta, as Woike relays.

We really got after it,” Horford said of Ham. “He really challenged me to be better on the defensive end. Really challenged me to just be a better player in general. Darvin is about as good a guy as you’re going to see, a big competitor. Extreme competitor. The Lakers are really lucky to have a guy like him. He’s the kind of guy that you want.”

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Ham’s greatest challenge as head coach will be figuring out the best way to utilize Russell Westbrook, writes Jovan Buha of The Athletic. With that in mind, Buha explores three ways the new coach can optimize Westbrook’s minutes, assuming he’s still on the roster in 2022/23. Buha also notes that Ham isn’t expected to address the media until early next week.
  • L.A. is holding a workout with six draft prospects on Friday, tweets Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times. The six are Lucas Williamson (Loyola Chicago), Hyunjung Lee (Davidson), Paul Atkinson Jr. (Notre Dame), Scotty Pippen Jr. (Vanderbilt), Jamal Cain (Oakland), and Gaige Prim (Missouri State). According to ESPN’s big board, Pippen is the highest-rated among the group at No. 69, which makes sense, since the Lakers don’t currently hold any draft picks.
  • In case you missed it, Ham was officially hired as head coach earlier today.

Hawks Notes: Offseason Priorities, Draft Workouts, More

Appearing on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta, Hawks president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk said, unprompted, that the front office is committed this offseason to making roster changes in an attempt to improve the team after standing relatively pat a year ago.

“We made the decision last year to kind of run the same group back and we probably should’ve tried to upgrade as opposed to stay status quo,” Schlenk said. “This year, the way the season ended and played out, we’re certainly going to try to upgrade the roster moving forward into next season.”

Asked specifically about how much turnover the Hawks’ roster could experience, Schlenk suggested the club won’t be looking to re-sign all of its free agents.

“We have some guys that are free agents, we have some guys that have contract situations. We’ve got a guy eligible for a contract extension,” Schlenk said. “All that stuff plays into it. Every year, the only thing that’s really consistent in this league is change, so we anticipate that there will be some change, certainly with some of our free agents as we look to upgrade our roster.”

Delon Wright, Lou Williams, Gorgui Dieng, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Kevin Knox, and Skylar Mays will be free agents this offseason, while Danilo Gallinari has a small partial guarantee on his salary for 2022/23 and De’Andre Hunter will be eligible for a rookie scale extension.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • Schlenk said during his appearance on 92.9 The Game that the Hawks’ defense was a “big letdown” in 2021/22 and will be an area the club looks to address in the offseason. Schlenk added that having another reliable secondary ball-handler and shot creator to relieve the pressure on Trae Young will be a priority.
  • The Hawks announced in a press release that they’ve brought in 12 prospects this week, hosting six for a group workout on Monday and another half-dozen on Wednesday. Justin Bean (Utah State), Darius Days (LSU), Michael Devoe (Georgia Tech), Gaige Prim (Missouri State), Will Richardson (Oregon), and Cole Swider (Syracuse) were in earlier this week, while Keve Aluma (Virginia Tech), Garrison Brooks (Mississippi State), Jamal Cain (Oakland), Keon Ellis (Alabama), Allen Flanigan (Auburn), and Jaden Shackelford (Alabama) were part of today’s pre-draft workout.
  • Chris Kirschner of The Athletic examines 10 offseason questions facing the Hawks, including whether team owner Tony Ressler is willing to go into luxury-tax territory, whether the team can attract a second star, and what level of pressure head coach Nate McMillan is under.