Josh Richardson

Heat Notes: Richardson, James, Wade, Ellington

Heat forward Josh Richardson is confident that Miami can put a contending team around LeBron James if he decides to come there in free agency, relays Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald. Richardson, who is working out in Santa Barbara, California, and trying to add bulk to his 205-pound body, believes James could be the “transformational player” that team president Pat Riley has talked about acquiring.

“I think we have great pieces to offer to play around him,” Richardson said. “We play with a lot of intensity. We’ve got a lot of dog in us. You need that in the trenches. That’s all I can really say about it.”

The dilemma for Richardson is that trading him might be James’ only path back to Miami. The Heat have 11 players under contract next season totaling about $120MM, putting them close to the projected $123MM tax line. Their only realistic hope to acquire James through a trade, and Richardson would be among their most desirable assets in any deal.

There’s more today from Miami:

  • Richardson, who has quickly developed a reputation as one of the league’s best defenders, was angry about being overlooked for this year’s All-Defensive team. He thought he earned the recognition after recording a career-best 121 steals during the season. “I still think I’m one of the best defenders in the NBA, but I can’t sit around and sulk about it,” Richardson said. “I’m not too bent out of shape about it anymore. But it’s definitely one of my goals to make those teams.”
  • Dwyane Wade, who is one of James’ closest friends and a former teammate in both Miami and Cleveland, said he can’t provide any insight into the thought process of the Cavaliers star. “Let’s let the record show … I don’t have any inside information whatsoever about his decision!” Wade tweeted this week.
  • Shooting specialist Wayne Ellington, who set an NBA record for most 3-pointers by a reserve in a single season, may be too expensive for the Heat to re-sign given their cap situation. Frank Urbina of HoopsHype looks at potential destinations for Ellington, naming the Hornets, Pistons and Warriors as possibilities if he leaves Miami.

Southeast Notes: Oubre Jr., Richardson, Magic

The Wizards will have until October to offer Kelly Oubre Jr. a contract extension, but their current financial outlook makes that unlikely. As a result, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes, the 22-year-old heads into the offseason with every reason to hone his game; his performance in 2018/19 will determine his next deal.

Oubre Jr. took a step forward in his third season with the Wizards, averaging 11.8 points and 4.5 rebounds in a career high 27.5 minutes per contest. While those aren’t exactly max-contract numbers, he’s an intriguing young piece that could slot in alongside some highly-paid teammates as an additional component of the Wizards’ expensive, homegrown core.

The Wizards will have over $90MM tied up in contracts for John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter in 2019/20. Oubre Jr. will look to add to that figure by convincing the club to bring him back as a restricted free agent, similarly to how Porter signed his most recent deal back in 2017.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Steady improvement through his first three seasons has Josh Richardson in a position to make a name for himself in 2018/19. The swingman, who signed a contract extension that will keep him with the Heat through 2021/22, wants to take another step. “I’m capable of being a great player in this league and I think I showed flashes,” he told Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. “I think I just have to do it consistently.”
  • The Magic have been strategically tight-lipped when it comes to their head coaching search, Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel writes. Team president Jeff Weltman has made an effort to avoid leaks throughout the process and it’s highly likely that the team has interviewed more candidates than the few that have been reported.
  • Fifteen-year Heat veteran Udonis Haslem doesn’t have a decision as to whether or not he’ll return next season. The 37-year-old tells Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel that it comes down to “having no regrets.”

Heat Notes: Waiters, Winslow, Dragic, Free Agents

The health of shooting guard Dion Waiters looms as one of the Heat’s biggest question marks heading into next season, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel reports. Waiters has been hampered two seasons by an ankle injury, which required season-ending surgery in January. The Heat believe Waiters will be better than ever once he heals but it’s no slam dunk he’ll even be ready for training camp. Miami president Pat Riley believes the return of Waiters, who appeared in just 30 games after signing a four-year, $52MM contract last summer, will be akin to adding a quality free agent.

“He was playing hurt for a year and a half for the most part,” Riley said. “I’m glad he had the surgery. I hope the surgery is 100 percent successful. You got a very talented 26-year-old player that still wants to make his mark and we don’t have to go out and pay somebody $25 million to get him to play.”

In other news concerning the Heat:

  • It’s more likely that Justise Winslow will get traded than Josh Richardson, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Winslow, who is still on his rookie deal, has one more guaranteed year remaining at $3.45MM. Richardson signed a four-year, $42MM extension last September. The Heat could use Winslow as a chip in a package for a top-level player or as a sweetener to dump a bad contract, with Jackson citing Tyler Johnson’s deal as an example. In contrast, Richardson would probably only be traded for an All-Star caliber player, Jackson adds.
  • The Suns’ hiring of Slovenian national team coach Igor Kokoskov as their head coach doesn’t necessarily increase the possibility of Goran Dragic being reunited with Phoenix, Winderman opines in a blog post. Acquiring a 31-year-old point guard probably wouldn’t make much sense for the rebuilding Suns, Winderman notes. However, if the Heat can regain the unprotected 2021 first-round pick they dealt to acquired Dragic, that might make it worth their while, Winderman adds.
  • What does the future hold for the Heat’s free agents? Austin Kent takes a closer look in our free agent stock watch.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2018: Miami Heat

The Heat doubled down on a committee of above-average role players last summer and have leveraged their depth into unexpected success after a dismal 2016. With an elite head coach and an established culture of winning, Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra have no reason to believe that they can’t continue to field a winner so long as they’re willing to invest in solid players.

The downside of a team built in this fashion, however, is that it lacks the ceiling to be truly dangerous in the postseason and the financial flexibility to change that. Not helping matters, of course, is the fact that the Heat’s highest paid player, Hassan Whiteside, could barely get off the bench in the club’s most recent first-round playoff exit.

The Heat are on pace to cross the luxury tax threshold in 2017/18 thanks to dramatic escalations in the contracts of players like Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson, making it inevitable that a dramatic roster move is forthcoming.

Is the on-court product good enough to justify the luxury tax expenses? Not likely, so all that’s left is for the franchise decide what direction to go when the dominoes start falling.

Luke Babbitt, SF, 29 (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2MM deal in 2017
The Heat brought Babbit aboard in a minor deal at the deadline and it wasn’t hard to understand why. The career 40.2% three-point shooter is an attractive niche add and he shot 44.1% on threes through the first half of the season with the Hawks. Unfortunately, he didn’t make enough of a splash in an inconsequential stint with Miami to warrant major interest from the franchise this summer. Babbit will have suitors as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason and could end up plucked by a team able to invest slightly more.

Wayne Ellington, SG, 30 (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $12MM deal in 2016"<strong
Ellington represents this Heat roster as well as anybody — he’s a reliable veteran that can consistently get the job done. In the hands of the right coach and surrounded by the right players, that’s invaluable. If the Heat decide to continue pushing to contend in the East, it would make sense to retain Ellington for a few more years as a solid rotation piece. That being said, simply bringing back Ellington is no small feat considering the luxury tax implications of such an investment. If the Heat suspect their window is closing, all parties might be better off if the nine-year vet latches on with another contender elsewhere.

Udonis Haslem, C, 38 (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2MM deal in 2017
The Heat don’t have to worry about long-time big man Haslem testing the waters anywhere other than South Beach, the question is whether or not the 15-year veteran will opt instead for retirement. Haslem seems to have enough in the tank to continue playing in his drastically reduced role and, despite the luxury tax implications making even a minimum deal painful for ownership, there’s no reason to believe the franchise wouldn’t be happy to have him.

Jordan Mickey, PF, 23 (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $5MM deal in 2015
Despite cracking the team’s rotation for a few weeks last December, Mickey didn’t make much of an impact with the Heat during his first season in Miami. One thing that the young big man does have going for him, however, is that his team option is for a modest $1.6MM. At a time when the franchise will be hard-pressed to fill out its 15-man roster without going into tax territory, cheap deals will be of particular interest.

Dwyane Wade, SG, 36 (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2MM deal in 2017
After an awkward season and a half with the Bulls and Cavaliers, Wade returned to Miami. Immediately, the franchise icon fell back into a rhythm and outplayed his minimum contract. If the Heat opt to continue competing in the East, bringing Wade back is practically essential – from a marketing point of view as much any. While he’s more than a simply symbolic figure, he’s not quite a leading man either, so a deal in the same vein as Dirk Nowitzki‘s $5MM annual with team options could be a solid starting point. If Wade is willing to sign another minimum contract, that’d be all the better for the cap-strapped Heat.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Heat Notes: Whiteside, Wade, Ellington

Hassan Whiteside headed into the offseason last night with one last jab at Heat coach Erik Spoelstra over playing time, relays Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Whiteside spent just 10 minutes on the court during the season-ending loss and played 77 total minutes in the five-game series.

“At least give me a chance to fight,” Whiteside said. “I can understand if I was playing 30 minutes and I played bad. At least give me a chance. … We played a style of play Coach wanted. He wanted to utilize more spacing I guess in the playoffs, so that’s why he did it.”

Foul trouble played a role in Whiteside’s lack of minutes, Jackson notes, as did matchup concerns with Philadelphia’s smaller lineups, but there’s an apparent feeling from the coaching staff that the Heat are better without Whiteside on the floor. His playing time dropped sharply during the season, going to 25.3 minutes per game after a career high of 32.6 last year.

The 28-year-old center said he will address the matter this summer with Spoelstra and team president Pat Riley. He is under contract for more than $25.4MM next season with a $27.1MM player option for 2019/20, and Jackson states that the Heat are expected to explore trade options.

There’s more from Miami on the first day of the offseason:

  • The Heat are stuck with a roster talented enough to make the playoffs, but not to be a legitimate contender once they get there, Jackson writes in a separate piece. He recommends significant changes, which will have to come through trades because of the team’s cap situation. He says the Heat would prefer to keep Josh Richardson, Goran Dragic, Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk, but adds that Riley should give the Spurs their choice of any two players on the roster if Kawhi Leonard becomes available.
  • Dwyane Wade is in no rush to make a decision about another NBA season, according to Andre C. Fernandez of The Miami Herald. The 36-year-old played well after returning to Miami in February, including a 28-point performance in Game 2 of the playoff series. “Fresh off the NBA season, my 15th year, I’ll sit back and think about that,” Wade said after Tuesday’s loss. “Then, I’ll dive and throw myself into my family. They’re next on my bucket list of making sure I’m there for them. Then when it comes to the basketball side of it, which is a long time away from now, then I’ll think about that. But right now I ain’t concerned with it.”
  • Wayne Ellington hopes to return to Miami, but financial realities could make that difficult, notes Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald. The Heat own Early Bird Rights on Ellington as he heads into free agency, allowing them to offer a four-year contract starting at $10.9MM with raises up to 8%. However, Miami is roughly $15MM over next year’s cap, so some salary may have to be trimmed before it makes that kind of commitment to Ellington.

Heat Notes: Wade, Whiteside, J. Richardson, Winslow

Dwyane Wade has provided countless thrills for fans at AmericanAirlines Arena over the years, but the last ones may have come this afternoon, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Wade turned in a vintage performance with 25 points, but it wasn’t enough to keep Miami from suffering a 106-102 loss to the Sixers and falling into a 3-1 hole in the series.

“I don’t want to answer that right now,” Wade said when asked if he thought today might mark his final appearance on Miami’s home court. “I’ve got another game to play. I’m focused on the next game.”

Wade’s playoff performance has been the high point of his return to Miami after a trade from Cleveland in early February. He hasn’t publicly addressed the idea of retirement, but he turned 36 in January and isn’t signed beyond this season.

There’s more news to pass along from Miami:

  • The Heat came into today’s game looking to give Hassan Whiteside a greater role in the offense, writes Shandel Richardson of The Sun-Sentinel. Whiteside had averaged just 13.3 minutes during the first three games of the series and his production was limited to 3.6 points and 4.0 rebounds per night. He got 26 minutes today and responded with 13 points and 13 rebounds. “Coach gave me some minutes out there and I tried to make the most any time I got,” said Whiteside, who complained about reduced playing time last month. “Coach said no regrets.”
  • There were reports that Heat guard Josh Richardson sprained the AC joint in his left shoulder, but the team is classifying it as a contusion, tweets Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Richardson, who set a franchise record with seven steals during the game, said his shoulder was hurting afterward. “Just trying to be active,” he told Jackson, “trying to put my fingerprints on the game.”
  • Justise Winslow was fined $15K for stepping on Joel Embiid‘s facemask during Game 3, writes Ian Begley of ESPN. The act occurred in the second quarter when the mask was on the court. “He kept throwing [his mask] on the ground. I don’t know if he didn’t like it or what,” Winslow said. “I was talking to JoJo, we were smack-talking, trash-talking, going back and forth, but no love loss.” Embiid laughed off the incident, saying he has “about 50” masks available.

Southeast Notes: Walker, Johnson, Vucevic

The Hornets may have permanently damaged their relationship with All-Star guard Kemba Walker, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes. When news broke that the franchise was eager to unload their best player in order to clear cap space and initiate a rebuild, the 27-year-old was apparently devastated.

Bonnell argues that Walker has been a world-class representative of the Hornets, a leader on the court and in the community. The scribe also argues that he’s a part of the solution in Charlotte, not the problem, and that it was customarily clumsy for the organization to dangle him for financial relief.

Bonnell cites Charlotte’s fruitless attempt to sign Gordon Hayward away from the Jazz as a restricted free agent in 2014 and the club’s ill-advised decision to sign Lance Stephenson to a three-year, $27MM deal shortly thereafter as other examples of the Hornets being managed clumsily.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat continue to be ravaged by injuries at the two-guard position, the latest one to fall being Tyler Johnson. Now, Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel writes, head coach Erik Spoelstra will have to decide between two-way player Derrick Jones Jr., reserve Wayne Ellington or an out-of-position Josh Richardson.
  • Despite the temporary scare, Heat guard Tyler Johnson‘s leg injury wasn’t as bad as initially feared, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes. “I was really worried because initially it felt like my knee popped,” he said. “That’s why when I went down I started grabbing at my knee and that was what was more worrisome than anything else. I’ve never had a bad knee injury so I didn’t know what it felt like. I was just thankful once I got to the back and my adrenaline kind of went down the pain in my knee wasn’t nothing I really ever felt before. My foot was down and it just kind of got tangled up.
  • A fractured bone in Nikola Vucevic‘s hand has kept him out of action since December 23 but the Magic big man is making progress, John Denton of Orlando’s team site writes. “Little by little [the strength is returning] and the best thing is just me using my hand because that will help it. I’m just doing stuff every day. Even video games, will help because I’m using my hand,” Vucevic said.

Southeast Notes: Richardson, Clifford, Cordinier

The Heat have watched Josh Richardson develop into a go-to perimeter player, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel says in a video published at the newspaper’s website. Richardson’s numbers are up across the board and his presence has helped the team weather the Dion Waiters injury.

Richardson has averaged 12.6 points and 3.2 rebounds per game for the Heat this season, up to 17.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per in 15 December contests.

Not only has the swingman been a revelation for the positionless Heat, he’s shown an ability to hang with large NBA small forwards despite weighing just 200 pounds and playing through college as a 6’6″ point guard.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Hawks draft-and-stash prospect Isaia Cordinier will undergo season-ending knee surgery, Orazio Cauchi of Sportando writes. The 2016 second-round pick has been struggling with tendinitis since at least the summer.
  • The medical issue that Hornets coach Steve Clifford struggled with for over a month can be attributed to a combination of stress on the sidelines as an NBA coach and sleep deprivation, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN writes. The feature delves into the head coach’s decision and why he’s confident a similar setback won’t happen again.
  • The Heat have a number of options with which to replace Dion Waiters‘ production, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes, including injured swingmen Justise Winslow and and Rodney McGruder. Players like Tyler Johnson and Wayne Ellington could also see larger roles.

Southeast Notes: Richardson, Isaac, Graham, Howard

Josh Richardson has emerged as the most efficient small forward the Heat have had since LeBron James departed for the Cavaliers, according to Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel. Injuries to other wing players have given Richardson an expanded role and he’s taken full advantage, averaging 17.6 PPG this month on 54.8% overall shooting and 50.9% from long range. “This is a continuation of the end of last season, completing a good summer of development,” coach Erik Spoelstra told Winderman and other beat reporters. “He’s gaining more confidence with game minutes. I think that will only continue to get better.”

  • Magic rookie forward Jonathan Isaac‘s latest right ankle injury is not as severe as the one that kept him out for 17 games, John Denton of the team’s website reports. Isaac has missed the last two games after re-injuring the ankle on Wednesday. He’s hopeful he can return as early as Tuesday’s game against Miami. “It’s completely different and just a little re-aggravation,” Isaac told reporters. “Feeling OK and it’s the same thing – day to day – and hopefully I’ll get back soon.”
  • Hornets shooting guard Treveon Graham played a strong 28 minutes off the bench on Saturday and could see steadier playing time, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes. Graham scored 14 points as the club rallied from an 18-point deficit to beat the Bucks. Graham needs to be productive to stay on the roster. His $1.3MM contract doesn’t become fully guaranteed unless he’s still on the roster through January 10th.
  • The Hornets were fearful that center Dwight Howard would be out an extended period after suffering a dislocated left ring finger on Friday, Brendan Marks of the Charlotte Observer relays. Instead, Howard returned to action on Saturday. “I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a month or two months based on the way it kind of looked and the way it was popping out or whatever,” acting coach Stephen Silas told Marks.

Heat Notes: Olynyk, Richardson, Mickey

The Heat handed Kelly Olynyk a four-year, $46MM contract this offseason and one rival Eastern Conference GM is not impressed with the transaction, as he tells Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

“Not a huge fan of Olynyk and think they overpaid by about 20 percent. I have no idea why he got a player option. But basketball wise he’s a good fit,” the anonymous GM told Jackson.

Olynyk’s contract contains a player option worth slightly over $12.2MM for the 2020/21 season. That same GM also offered his opinion on Jordan Mickey, whom the team signed to a two-year contract in August. “End of the bench NBA player [that] can play for 8-10 years in the right system as a shotblocker, rebounder, energy guy,” he said.

Here’s more from Miami:

  • Josh Richardson, who inked a four-year, $42MM extension with the Heat this offseason, may have been able to land a larger contract had he held off on signing until he reached the free agent market. However, the 2015 No. 40 overall pick is happy with the deal he signed, as Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel relays. “Let’s be real, $42 million is a lot of money,” Richardson said. “So I can live on that forever. I don’t really worry about what everybody else is doing. I don’t like comparing myself to other people. So when they came to it, it was kind of like a no-brainer.”
  • Hassan Whiteside injured his knee on opening night and the big man’s absence has forced Mickey to take on a starting role. The 6’8″ big man has mostly played the four during his time in the league, but he has no issue playing center when needed for the Heat, as Winderman passes along in a separate piece. “I feel comfortable at whatever position he puts me at, whether he needs me to guard the bigs on the court or guard one of the smaller guys on the court,” Mickey said. “That’s where the NBA is going now, bigger guys guarding small guys. So you’ve got to continue to grow with the game.”
  • The Heat don’t have many scoring options on the wing, making Dion Waiters‘ recovery from an ankle injury even more crucial, Winderman contends in a recent mailbag. Waiters suffered the injury last season and hasn’t been able to suit up yet as a result of it.