Josh McRoberts

Heat Notes: Spoelstra, Johnson, Winslow

Heat players recently cleaned out their lockers, having failed to make the playoffs, and many of them will have an opportunity to go elsewhere this summer. James Johnson, Udonis Haslem, and Luke Babbitt will be free agents. Willie Reed, Josh McRoberts, and Dion Waiters all hold player options and Wayne Ellington could join the free agent market if the franchise declines his $6.27MM team option.

Coach Erik Spoelstra wants his players to feel comfortable returning to Miami, as Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. “This is clean-up day, not clean-out day,” the coach said.

Spoelstra added that his goal is to move forward with the team’s current group and compete for a championship. “Our organization is not going to change. We’re hard-wired to play and compete for championships,” he said. “Hopefully this is dot-dot-dot continued and we can build on this.”

Here’s more from Miami:

  • The Heat are thrilled with Hassan Whiteside‘s growth this season, as Winderman relays in the same piece. “I think his growth has been staggering,” Spoelstra said of the big man. “You can define it how you want. He can become one of the greats.” Whiteside signed a four-year, $98.4MM contract with Miami last offseason.
  • Johnson may consider taking a discount to stay with the Heat if it means keeping this year’s group together, Winderman passes along (Twitter links). “I’m home. That’s what it feels like. I love it here,” Johnson said of Miami.
  • Justise Winslow is recovering from shoulder surgery and is “way ahead of schedule,” according to Spoelstra, as Winderman relays via Twitter.
  • Prior to the injury, the Heat strongly believed Winslow would become a quality starter due to the work he put in last summer to improve his shooting, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. Winslow admits that being sidelined hindered his ability to get comfortable with his new shooting mechanics, but added that he’ll continue to work on that part of his game.
  • Spoelstra feels Winslow would have helped Miami this season because of his efficient play, as Jackson passes along in the same piece. “He can generate threes for you offensively because he puts a lot of pressure in the paint, off the dribble, in transition. He’s an aggressive, bruising, physical type of player and he sees the floor. That helps create your three-point game,” the coach said.
  • In his latest mailbag, Winderman explains why it’ll be hard for the Heat to add a major free agent, such as Paul Millsap, and bring back the core of this year’s squad. The team can feasibly carve out approximately $37MM in cap space this summer and that may not be enough for Miami to add a max player in addition to own free agents.

Eastern Notes: Pistons, Wizards, Henson, McRoberts

Pistons center Boban Marjanovic and rookie power forward Henry Ellenson will get a long look during the last four games of the season, Aaron McMann of MLive.com reports. Marjanovic, who signed a three-year, $21MM contract as a free agent last summer, has played sparingly behind Andre Drummond and Aron Baynes. Marjanovic could have a bigger role next season if Baynes opts out of the final year of his contract. Ellenson, the team’s first-round selection last June, has spent most of the season with the team’s D-League affiliate in Grand Rapids, Mich.  “We will still play our main guys, but we’ll get Henry and Boban in there every night,” coach Stan Van Gundy told the team’s beat reporters.

In other developments around the Eastern Conference:

  • Power forward Jason Smith has proven to be a bargain pickup for the Wizards, according to J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com. Smith, who played for the Magic last season, signed a three-year, $15MM deal as a free agent last summer. He’s averaging 5.6 PPG but is shooting 49.2% from 3-point range and 53.1% overall despite getting dropped from the rotation on occasion, Michael continues. His screening has also been a valuable asset, Michael adds.
  • Bucks big man John Henson will lose $250K in bonus incentives because of his current thumb injury, Bobby Marks of The Vertical tweets.  Henson needed to play in 60 games to collect the bonus. Henson signed a four-year extension in October 2015 that kicked in at the start of this season. The contract is worth between $44MM and $48MM, depending upon if Henson reaches certain incentives.
  • Heat forward Josh McRoberts participated in his first contact practice on Tuesday since he was sidelined in late December with a stress fracture in his left foot, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. Coach Erik Spoelstra is still uncertain if McRoberts will return this season, Jackson adds. McRoberts holds a $6MM option on his contract for next season.

Will The Heat Add To Their Roster?

In the latest edition of his mailbag, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel broached the subject of Miami adding depth to their shaky roster. As one of Winderman’s readers pointed out, the Heat are within striking distance of a playoff spot, but are missing several players due to injury. What’s more, they’ve committed a roster spot to Udonis Haslem– a great clubhouse presence who isn’t an in-game contributor at this point in his career. In response, Winderman wrote:

“The Heat, for at least another week, not only won’t be able to dress the allowable 13 players, but like Sunday, will only be able to dress 11. Yes, I appreciate the ‘we have enough’ mentality that coaches such as Erik Spoelstra stress. But having enough does not mean having the maximum possible resources in a playoff race that will make every game count. Whether it is signing Carlos Boozer back from China or adding a defensive wing, you raise a legitimate point. This team is hemorrhaging roster spots, and if the mantra is to be all-hands-on-deck, then playing with a full deck would be the best place to start.”

Now tied with Detroit for the eighth seed of the Eastern Conference, the Heat enter a vital stretch of their season without Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters, or Josh McRoberts. While the team could pursue Lance Stephenson, whose second 10-day contract in Minnesota recently expired, he won’t be playoff eligible. Aside from reaching out to Boozer, Winderman lists Okaro White– who is “hardly getting off the bench lately”- as a potential source of production.

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Wall, Beal, McRoberts

The Hawks haven’t settled on their point guard rotation for the rest of the season, according to Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Jose Calderon, who was claimed off waivers earlier this month, has been the backup to Dennis Schroder in the past four games, but that doesn’t mean the job is his to keep. Coach Mike Budenholzer said Malcolm Delaney, who had the role before Calderon arrived, will also be part of the mix. “No doubt that Jose has been great,” Budenholzer said. “Jose is so positive and talking and in Dennis’ face, in everybody’s face. He’s like wow. To have both of those guys, I wouldn’t under-sell what Malcolm does. I think he’s been real good next to Dennis.”

There’s more news from the Southeast Division:

  • Wizards point guard John Wall is downplaying claims that he and backcourt partner Bradley Beal had a strained relationship. In an interview with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Wall says much of the dissension stemmed from a misunderstanding over Beal’s contract talks. “Everybody said I tried to play him or something. I was watching his money. I was mad. That wasn’t it,” Wall said. “All I said was, ‘Let him be healthy. Let him earn his money.’ It’s the same way they said I didn’t earn my money. ‘How did he get $80 million? He didn’t deserve it.’ But then all of the sudden when everybody was getting paid, nobody was saying nothing.” Beal agreed to a five-year, $127MM contract last summer.
  • Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld reached out to the Nets in the trade that sent Bojan Bogdanovic to Washington, tweets NetsDaily.com. Brooklyn was hoping for a first-round pick in return and wound up with Washington’s first-rounder along with Andrew Nicholson and Marcus Thornton in exchange for Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough.
  • A stress fracture in his left foot has kept Heat forward Josh McRoberts out of action since December 27th, but he still might play this season, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Coach Erik Spoelstra offered an update today, saying, “He’s on the court a little bit now, and we’ll just have to see how he progresses.” McRoberts missed the preseason with a stress reaction in the foot, then returned to start 14 straight games before being sidelined again. He has a player option for 2017/18 worth slightly more than $6MM.

And-Ones: Young, Heat, Mirotic

The Lakers are looking to trade Nick Young with an eye on acquiring a second-round pick, Marc Stein of ESPN.com tweets. Young is making slightly over $5.44MM this season and his contract contains a player option worth nearly $5.67MM for the 2017/18 campaign. He’s had a solid year so far in Los Angeles, averaging 13.8 points per game while shooting 41.3% from behind the arc, a figure which is the highest of his career.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Heat are shopping Wayne Ellington and Josh McRoberts, according to Chris Mannix of The Vertical (Twitter link). Mannix notes that the team would like to get out of the veterans’ contracts. After this season, Ellington has only one year at $6.27MM (non-guaranteed) remaining on his contract, while McRoberts has a player option worth slightly over $6MM remaining on his deal.
  • Earlier today, we learned that the Bulls have attempted to send Nikola Mirotic to the Sixers in a Jahlil Okafor deal. K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune notes that the team has also floated Mirotic in talks with the Clippers.
  • David Stockton, who recently played in New Zealand’s National Basketball League, will return to the D-League and play for the Reno Bighorns, according to Chris Reichert of The Step Back (Twitter link).

Heat Notes: 16th Man, Injuries, Richardson, Dragic

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra confirmed today that the NBA has granted the team a harship exception, allowing for a 16th player to be added to the roster (Twitter link). According to Spoelstra, Miami has not yet determined which player will be added to the roster using that exemption (Twitter link). However, the Heat coach may simply be waiting until the move is official to formally discuss the team’s newest player — according to reports on Sunday, Miami is prepared to call up Okaro White from its D-League affiliate to take that 16th roster spot.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel explains why the Heat qualify for a hardship exception that allows them to add a 16th player, providing updates on where things stand on sidelined players like Chris Bosh, Josh McRoberts, and Justise Winslow.
  • Meanwhile, Josh Richardson will be sidelined for at least the next two weeks of action, Spoelstra confirmed today (Twitter link). When Richardson is ready to return, the Heat will have to part ways with someone to get back down to 15 players.
  • In a mailbag for The Sun Sentinel, Winderman discusses the possibility of the Heat matching up with the Magic for a Goran Dragic trade. In Winderman’s view, it makes sense for Miami to be patient if any such deal would involve a 2017 first-round pick, since the Heat would want to be sure that pick lands as high as possible in the draft. Of course, the further Orlando is from the playoff race in the East, the less likely the team is to part with a 2017 pick.
  • Within the same mailbag, Winderman also suggests that James Johnson and Wayne Ellington are more likely than someone like Derrick Williams to generate interest as trade chips.

Heat Notes: Richardson, Dragic, Reed, Winslow

The Heat are starting to focus on the future as this season continues to unravel, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Dwyane Wade‘s departure for Chicago and Chris Bosh‘s ongoing battle with blood clots robbed Miami of two huge talents. On top of that, second-year forward Justise Winslow is out for the year after shoulder surgery and veteran big man Josh McRoberts is sidelined indefinitely with a foot problem. While this appears to be a lost season, Miami is in position to rebuild quickly. At 11-27 and third in our Reverse Standings, the Heat will have a high draft pick this summer. The final two seasons of Bosh’s contract will probably be cleared away by a medical hardship, making Miami a player on the free agent market again. “It’s a competitive league and everybody wants to be that last team, but who has a coherent plan? Who’s committed to that plan? Who’s disciplined for that plan when there’s a lot of noise and it’s not necessarily getting the results that you want?” said coach Eric Spoelstra. “We’re able to see great promise, hope, and progress with this team. If you know anything about our organization, we have a plan.”

There’s more news out of Miami:

  • An MRI performed Saturday on guard Josh Richardson‘s left ankle was negative and he is listed as day-to-day, according to Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald. Center Hassan Whiteside, who has missed four games with a bruised retina, is expected back today.
  • Willie Reed made an impression on Spoelstra with his play during Whiteside’s absence, Navarro writes in the same piece. The performance of the second-year center, who signed with Miami over the summer, “definitely earned him more minutes, more opportunities,” Spoelstra said.
  • If the Heat are able to get two draft picks for point guard Goran Dragic, one may come well in the future, speculates Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. A scout told Winderman the Heat are unlikely to get a pick anywhere near the top of this year’s lottery by dealing Dragic.
  • Miami shouldn’t hesitate to pick up Winslow’s $3.5 million rookie-scale salary for 2018-19, Winderman argues in a separate column. He notes that Winslow, the 10th pick in the 2015 draft, will only be 21 when training camp opens, and although he is coming off a poor shooting season he can contribute as a rebounder, defender and playmaker.

Heat Notes: McRoberts, Winslow, Beasley, Whiteside

Josh McRoberts will almost certainly choose not to opt out of his contract after suffering a foot injury this week, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. A stress fracture was discovered Tuesday in McRoberts’ left foot that will keep him off the court indefinitely. That virtually eliminates any chance he will hit the open market and try to improve on the more than $6MM the Heat owe him for next season. With McRoberts’ salary on its cap, Miami will have about $40MM in space this summer if Dion Waiters and Willie Reed both opt out as expected.

There’s more news today out of Miami:

  • The Heat are concerned that Justise Winslow‘s shooting problems will prevent him from ever becoming a great player, Jackson notes in the same story. Winslow ranks last in shooting percentage among the 85 players averaging at least 30 minutes per game, connecting on just 35.2% of his shots from the field and just 20% from 3-point range. “It’s tough,” Winslow said after going 0 for 9 in Thursday’s loss to the Hornets. “I try to rebound, defend. You have to find other ways to make an impact. Just one of those nights.” Miami has already picked up Winslow’s option for 2017/18 and will give the 10th pick of the 2015 draft plenty of time to work out his shooting woes.
  • The Heat continue to be haunted by their decision to take Michael Beasley ahead of Russell Westbrook in the 2008 draft, writes Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel. Beasley lasted just two seasons in Miami before being traded to Minnesota for cash and two second-round picks. Grizzlies coach David Fizdale, a former assistant with the Heat, said there were plenty of warning signs before the draft. “I’ll never forget the year they were drafted,” he said. “Not to call out Bease, but we had to drag Bease out of the bed in Vegas to get him to the gym to work out. And Russell Westbrook had already been in that same gym for two hours, full sweat. And [Miami coach Erik Spoelstra] asked Bease, ‘Where you been?’ And it was like, ‘Oh, man, is this how this kid really is? And [Westbrook] went a whole other hour going at the speed that you see him play.”
  • Heat center Hassan Whiteside, who signed a four-year, $98MM deal over the summer, tells Winderman in a separate story that he doesn’t worry about trying to live up to that contract. “No different than before,” Whiteside said. “The pressure of being cut when I first got here on a non-guaranteed [contract] was a little more pressure than it is now for me.”

Josh McRoberts Out Indefinitely With Foot Injury

The Heat may get two injured players back tonight, with both Wayne Ellington and Rodney McGruder aiming to return to the court against the Thunder. However, the team will be missing another rotation player, having announced today (via Twitter) that Josh McRoberts will be out indefinitely due a stress fracture in his left foot.

McRoberts, who will turn 30 in February, first fractured his left foot in last season’s playoffs, and had his debut this season delayed as he recovered from a stress reaction. It’s not clear if he has re-injured that same foot, or if he’s simply still dealing with the effects of that old injury. Either way, there’s no timetable for his return at this time.

In 22 games (14 starts) for the Heat this year, McRoberts has averaged just 4.9 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 2.3 APG, and continues to struggle with his shot. After shooting a career-worst 37.2% from the field in 2015/16, McRoberts is at 37.6% this season, though he has made 41.9% of his three-pointers.

McRoberts has been viewed as one of many potential trade candidates on Miami’s roster, but he didn’t have a ton of trade value when he was on the court, and if he’s sidelined for an extended period, his value will only diminish further. As Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel writes, the Heat tried unsuccessfully to move McRoberts during 2016’s free agent period. The veteran forward is making $5.782MM in 2016/17, and has a $6MM+ player option on his deal for next year.

The Heat, who have been without Chris Bosh all year due to health concerns, have seen several other players miss time with injuries. Miami appeared to be on the verge of getting healthy with Ellington and McGruder on the way back, but McRoberts will now join Dion Waiters on the team’s list of injured players.

Southeast Notes: Gay, Dragic, McRoberts

The Magic have had conversations with the Kings about Rudy Gay, says Steve Kyler over Twitter. In his 11th season as a pro, the 30-year-old forward has shown an ability to produce despite turmoil and instability in Sacramento.

In 23 games so far this year, Gay has posted 18.6 points and 6.1 rebounds per game for the Kings and he does so with a reasonable $13.3MM contract, positioning him as a possible answer to the Magic’s offensive woes.

With so much going sideways in Orlando after an aggressive offseason of acquisitions, the decision to kick the tires on another established veteran falls in line with the approach they’ve been taking to their rebuild. Over the summer the Magic brought aboard veterans Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo and Jeff Green, all with hefty contracts.

It’s unclear who would be on the way out of Orlando in such a deal, but there would need to be something significant exchanged as the Magic currently sit above the 2016/17 salary cap.

Also coming out of the Southeast Division:

  • Goran Dragic doesn’t know where the rumors started that suggested he was “open to a trade,” writes Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. The 30-year-old guard insists that he is happy with the Heat.
  • If the Heat can find a taker for forward Josh McRoberts, he won’t come with much of a price tag adds Windermere in his latest Ask Ira feature. Windermere cites McRoberts’ 2017/18 player option worth $6MM as the biggest deterrent limiting the veteran’s value.
  • The Wizards were in the mix for Luol Deng this summer, says Zach Lowe of ESPN. The two parties had been discussing a three-year deal worth $20MM less than what the 31-year-old forward ultimately signed with the Lakers.
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