Jamal Cain

Heat Notes: Lowry, Love, Haslem, Cain

Heat guard Kyle Lowry missed his ninth consecutive game on Monday night due to left knee soreness but coach Erik Spoelstra provided an encouraging update, according to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. Lowry had been listed as questionable to play before being ruled out.

“I didn’t need that. I didn’t even see that he got upgraded,” Spoelstra said. “That’s more training staff and league-related just to cover yourself. I’m more encouraged just by the work he has been able to do the last 10 days. He’s definitely making progress. I don’t have a timetable for his return. But he’s certainly doing a lot more.”

We have more from the Heat:

  • By using their bi-annual exception to secure Kevin Love‘s services as a free agent, the Heat have put themselves in a slightly better position to re-sign him this summer, John Hollinger of The Athletic notes. They can now give him a 20% raise on that amount (up to $3.7MM) to re-sign him as a non-Bird free agent without using any other exception money.
  • When he finally retires, Udonis Haslem will explore becoming a minority owner of the Heat and remaining active in the team’s daily doings, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. “My commitment, even though I’ll be retired, is to be here just as much as the players and the staff and be committed to the process of the future and winning,” he said. “I look to take a path of ownership, but to be a working owner, not a guy who crosses his legs and sits on the sideline. I want to be a guy that connects the dots between the locker room and front office, connects the dots between the front office and the owners. Sometimes, you can miss things in those area.”
  • Two-way player Jamal Cain returned to the G League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce prior to Monday’s game, according to Chiang. Cain played five minutes against the Bucks on Friday in his first NBA appearance since mid-January.

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

Kyle Lowry‘s numbers are down this season, but Sunday afternoon he reminded the Heat how valuable he can be in clutch situations, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. The veteran guard scored nine points in the final 3:03 as Miami pulled out a tight game against the Pelicans.

It was a welcome breakthrough for Lowry, who had been sidelined with discomfort in his left knee and had scored just 12 total points on eight shots in his first two games since returning. The 36-year-old is in the midst of his worst season in a decade, but he’s still capable of taking over a game.

“We had some really good execution down the stretch and Kyle was a major part of that,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They were bottling up some other stuff and he just kind of went vintage there and made a lot of big plays going down the stretch.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Tyler Herro is still one of the Heat’s youngest players at age 23, even though he’s in his fourth season with the team, Chiang notes in a separate story. Herro is now a mainstay in Miami after signing a four-year extension in the offseason, and he’s formed a pick-and-roll combination with Bam Adebayo that’s among the league’s best. “I think just being cool off the court plays a big role into that,” Herro said. “Having that connection and communicating with each other away from basketball helps when you get out here on the court. It makes it that much easier.”
  • Even though they won on Sunday, the game showcased the Heat’s lack of three-point shooting, notes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Miami was just 8-of-34 (23.6%) from beyond the arc , and Winderman states that the Pelicans focused on double teaming Jimmy Butler while daring the Heat to shoot threes.
  • Due to a rule preventing teams below the standard roster limit from using two-way players for more than 90 combined game nights, the Heat are down to 23 two-way days remaining in the season and will face difficult decisions soon regarding Orlando Robinson and Jamal Cain, Winderman adds in a separate story. Robinson, who has been seeing time at backup center, received a pro-rated deal after being signed on December 11 and only has 13 days remaining, while Cain has 28 games left. Once their two-way days expire, the Heat would have to sign Robinson or Cain to standard contracts to keep them active or waive them and hope to re-sign them to 10-day deals.

Heat Notes: Adebayo, Martin, Oladipo, January Deadlines

All-Star Heat center Bam Adebayo beleives he’s the best defender in the league, making the claim in a Q&A with Mark Medina of NBA.com.

“I feel like I’ve been the best defender in the last two seasons,” Adebayo said. “I can guard one through five and I can guard anybody on the court. In past seasons, that’s how I got on the court. Defense is how I got to where I am today. That’s never going to be away. I’m always going to have the mindset of wanting to be in the top five on both units.”

Adebayo is certainly the fulcrum of one of the league’s best defenses. The Heat currently rank second in opponent points allowed per game (109.1) and sixth in defensive rating (111.4). His most seasoned teammate thinks he has also evolved as a leader.

“The more he talks, the less I have to do,” reserve big man Udonis Haslem told Medina. “He takes over the huddles. He holds guys accountable. He’s engaged. He’s building that trust and relationship with guys. That’s what you want from your best player.”

Through 36 games this season, Adebayo is averaging a career-high 21.8 PPG while shooting 54.4% from the field and 81.8% from the charity stripe. He’s also chipping in 10 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.1 SPG and 0.8 BPG.

There’s more out of South Beach:

  • Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra believes 6’5″ starting power forward Caleb Martin is growing more comfortable in his new role, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. “His versatility is vital to our group,” Spoelstra said. “Night after night after night, he’s taking on all the different kinds of challenges that this league can present, whether he’s guarding the small, super-quick guys, or whether he’s switching on to centers. And he has great instincts for deflections and steals…. Our defense always just seems to be a whole lot more active and fast when he’s out on the court. He’s a playmaker out there, which really truly fits with Jimmy [Butler] and Bam.” Winderman notes that the Heat still intend to make Martin into a reliable spot-up three-point shooter.
  • Miami reserve shooting guard Victor Oladipo continues to find his way with the club this season, Winderman writes in a separate story. “He’s been getting more comfortable, more confident, getting his legs under him,” Spoelstra remarked. “And he’s a big-time X-factor for us, on both sides of the floor… And I’ve mentioned this before — his growth and improvement and how he feels comfortable within the system and everything, that won’t be linear. It’ll be some minor ups and downs with it, because he has missed a good deal of time.”
  • Three notable NBA dates in January aren’t having a huge impact on the Heat, explains Winderman in another article. Because of the league’s proximity to the luxury tax, the club as currently comprised won’t be in the market for 10-day contracts, the window for which opened Thursday. The team opted to guarantee reserve big Haywood Highsmith‘s contract for the season Saturday and also seem destined to guarantee the contracts of intriguing two-way players Jamal Cain and Orlando Robinson at the January 20 two-way guarantee deadline.

Heat Notes: Rotation, Dedmon, Butler, Injuries, Herro

The Heat have been unable to play their full roster this season due to injuries. What could happen if the Heat get at or near full strength?

Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel explores that question. Gabe Vincent, who has seen some playing time as the backup point guard, could be pushed further down the bench. Coach Erik Spoelstra would have to choose between Max Strus and Duncan Robinson as the backup wing and Haywood Highsmith could also be on the rotation bubble.

The Heat could look to deal backup center Dewayne Dedmon and his expiring contract, along with another player, for some immediate help. In that scenario, Orlando Robinson could be a stopgap as the main reserve until Omer Yurtseven is able to return from ankle surgery.

We have more on the Heat:

  • Speaking of absences, Jimmy Butler was scratched from the team’s game against Chicago on Tuesday due to a gastrointestinal illness, the team tweets. It was the 12th game that Butler missed this season.
  • A trio of other players — Kyle Lowry (left knee soreness), Caleb Martin (left ankle sprain) and Vincent (left knee effusion) — were also sidelined. Two-way player Jamal Cain was recalled from the G League to provide depth.
  • Entering the team’s road trip, Tyler Herro was averaging 15.6 points in the nine wins in which he played and 24.2 points in the 10 losses he played. Herro then averaged a team-high 26.3 points during the Heat’s 4-0 road swing. He debunks the notion that the team tends to do better when he scores less, according to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. “I think it’s a pointless stat. Because the games we’ve won, I’ve shot the same amount of shots and I just ended up missing them,” he said. “So when shots go in, I’ll have above 20. If I miss, I have below 20. It’s make or miss at the end of the day and I don’t think that stat is credible.”

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.