Josh McRoberts

Heat Notes: Leaf, Collins, Reed, Aldridge

The Heat will be looking for size with the 14th pick, especially if Luke Kennard and Donovan Mitchell are both off the board, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. T.J. Leaf, who proved to be an effective outside shooter at UCLA, is a possibility, along with Gonzaga’s Zach Collins, who can also hit from 3-point range. Miami would like to find a stretch four to team with Hassan Whiteside, a traditional low-post center.

If Collins is off the board, Jackson says the Heat will look at Jarrett Allen of Texas and Justin Patton of Creighton. Both are 6’11” and are targeted for the back of the lottery or possibly later. A minor injury prevented Allen from working out for Miami, but he held an interview Sunday and reportedly impressed team officials. Patton did participate in a workout for the Heat on Sunday.

Jackson offers more insight into Miami’s strategy for tonight and beyond:

  • Drafting a backup center would protect the Heat in case Willie Reed leaves in free agency. The front office fears that Reed will get an offer significantly higher than the team is willing to pay.
  • Leaf could be a replacement for either Luke Babbitt or James Johnson, two forwards who are both headed for free agency.
  • Another big man to consider is John Collins of Wake Forest, who impressed the Heat in a workout last week. Miami will also look at Duke’s Harry Giles, but might be scared off by his history of knee problems. Giles canceled a workout in Miami and never rescheduled.
  • If the Heat decide to trade down, they will focus on UCLA center Ike Anigbogu and Kentucky power forward Bam Adebayo.
  • Miami is a possible destination if LaMarcus Aldridge wants out of San Antonio. The Spurs are seeking a top 10 draft pick and would like to cut salary to make a run at Chris Paul. Jackson says Miami could offer a competitive package of the 14th pick, Wayne Ellington, whose $6.27MM contract won’t be guaranteed until July 12th, Justise Winslow and Josh McRoberts.

Southeast Notes: Howard, McRoberts, NBA Draft Workouts

Dwight Howard‘s lack of versatility on offense cost him playing time  with the Hawks last season and the eight-time All-Star wants to remedy that this offseason. Speaking on ESPN’s The Jump, Howard revealed that he is working to expand his three-point shooting in preparation for the 2017/18 season (via Andrew Joseph of USA Today’s For The Win).

“So, I have this guy in Atlanta that I’ve been working with, and I’ve been working on my threes,” Howard said. “Really trying to add some range to my game, which is gonna be weird for people to see, I guess. They’re used to seeing me in the paint, battling. But in order for me to play longer, I have to expand my game.”

Howard, 31, has never been a prolific shooter in the NBA; his main draw has been scoring in the paint and overpowering opposition in the low post. For his career, Howard has made just five of his 56 three-point attempts (8.9%). Howard’s last trey came during the 2014/15 season.

As Joseph writes, players such as Paul Millsap and Al Horford developed three-pointers in Atlanta. If Howard is looking for a blueprint, Nets center Brook Lopez is a good example; he shot 3-for-31 from long range the first eight seasons of his career before going 134-for-387 (34.6%) from deep during the 2016/17 campaign. Either way, an aging Howard — who the Hawks signed to a three-year, $70MM last season — will need to evolve to maximize his usefulness to a younger Hawks team.

Here are additional notes from the Southeast division:

  • Josh McRoberts could be a viable option as the Heat’s backup center, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes in his latest Ask Ira. McRoberts exercised his option to remain with the Heat for 2017/18, but the team could use the stretch provision to utilize the roster spot on else. Since joining the Heat during the 2014 offseason, McRoberts has appeared in 81 out of a possible 246 games.
  • Keith Langlois of Pistons.com reports that Kentucky’s Bam Adebayo next scheduled visit is with the Heat (via Twitter).
  • The Hornets announced their scheduled pre-draft workout attendees for tomorrow. The list includes Arizona guard Kadeem Allen, Wake Forest forward Austin Arians, Notre Dame forward V.J. Beachem, Davidson guard Jack Gibbs and big men Przemek Karnowski (Gonzaga) and Mangok Mathiang (Louisville).

Josh McRoberts Picks Up Player Option For 2017/18

Oft-injured Heat big man Josh McRoberts has picked up his player option worth $6MM for next season, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN (link via Twitter).

McRoberts, 30, missed most of the 2016/17 campaign due to a stress fracture in his left foot. McRoberts was limited to just 22 games (14 starts) where the 6’10” center posted totals of 4.9 PPG, 3.4 PPG, and 2.3 APG. Injuries have plagued McRoberts for his entire stint in South Beach, as the 10-year NBA veteran appeared in just 81 out of a possible 246 games since signing a a three-year deal with the Heat during the 2014 offseason.

Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel spoke to McRoberts’ agent Mike Conley to discuss the decision to exercise the player option this early.

He already knew he was opting in,” Conley said. “It’s always been a matter of him being healthy, and he’s healthy now.”

This gives Miami a potential frontcourt option for next season, given that Chris Bosh and the team reportedly agreed to an amicable split earlier today. While Bosh’s issues with blood clots — which resulted in him using blood thinners — makes him an unlikely NBA comeback, the Heat are better off with a healthy McRoberts than without.

The Heat own the 14th overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft and could conceivably draft a big man and utilize the “stretch provision” to waive McRoberts and pay a $2MM annual cap hit over the next three seasons, as Winderman noted. In that case, Miami would have an additional $4MM in cap space this offseason.

Over his career, spanning six teams, McRoberts owns a career totals of 5.4 PPG and 3.9 RPG.

Southeast Notes: Morris, Heat, Draft, Batiste

Wizards forward Markieff Morris is suffering through a severe left ankle injury, but says there’s no chance it will prevent him from playing in Monday’s Game 7 against the Celtics, relays J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic. Morris was able to play 39 minutes in Game 6, putting up 16 points and 11 rebounds in a thrilling 92-91 victory. He has been fighting through the pain ever since landing on Al Horford‘s foot on a jump shot in Game 1 and hasn’t practiced since the injury. “I don’t shoot at all. I just go back to treatment every day,” Morris said. “It’s not swollen as much, but the pain is still there. It’s the worst injury I’ve ever had.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat should consider trading down in the draft if they don’t get lucky in Tuesday’s lottery, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. After barely missing the playoffs on a tie-breaker, Miami has the worst odds of any lottery team. The Heat have just a 0.5% chance to land the No. 1 pick and only a slightly better shot at slots two and three. While options such as Justin Jackson, Ivan Rabb, John Collins or T.J. Leaf might be tempting at No. 14, Winderman believes Miami would be better off trying to rebuild its draft future. The Heat owe their first-round picks in 2018 and 2021 to Phoenix and don’t have a second-round pick until 2022.
  • The Heat have some important contract dates in the next few weeks, Winderman notes in the same piece. Josh McRoberts, Dion Waiters and Willie Reed all have a June 29th deadline to decide whether to opt out for next season. Josh Richardson‘s $1,471,382 salary for 2017/18 becomes fully guaranteed a day later, as does Okaro White‘s $1,312,611 figure on July 1st. Winderman expects McRoberts to opt in for $6MM, Waiters and Reed to both opt out and the team to guarantee Richardson’s salary while getting White to defer his guarantee date.
  • The Hornets added Mike Batiste to their coaching staff this week, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. An opening was created when Patrick Ewing gave up his role as associate head coach to take over at Georgetown. Stephen Silas was promoted to lead assistant, and Batiste will become a regular assistant. Batiste played for the Grizzlies in 2002/03, but spent most of his career in Europe.

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.
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