Josh Richardson

Heat Notes: Draft, Ellington, Langford

Should the Heat enter the sweepstakes for the No. 4 overall pick? Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel believes it depends on the cost.

The scribe isn’t a fan of the team sending away Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, or Bam Adebayo in a deal, though if a trade was structured around one of their player-friendly contracts, such as Dion Waiters or James Johnson, an additional player and the No. 13, moving up would make more sense.

Here’s more from Miami:

  • The Heat could use Wayne Ellington back, but luxury tax concerns may put him out of the team’s price range, Winderman notes in the same piece. Miami began last season with great depth in the backcourt but that’s no longer the case after the team sent Ellington, Rodney McGruder, and Tyler Johnson away and watched Dwyane Wade retire.
  • Romeo Langford (Indiana) met with the Heat today, Evan Daniels of 247 Sports tweets. Langford’s busy day also includes a meeting with the Pelicans. He has previously visited Cleveland, Atlanta, and Minnesota.
  • The Heat also worked out Sekou Doumbouya (France), according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (Twitter link). Doumbouya is expected to go in the lottery.

Heat Notes: Team Needs, No. 13, Waiters

The Heat should be interested in acquiring wing players with length, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. The team’s current starting small forward, Josh Richardson, is listed at 6’6″ and in today’s NBA, that’s considered short for the position.

“The switch-ability is key,”an Eastern Conference scout tells Winderman. “That is critical, especially for the three-four. People, when they think about that, he’s going to guard threes, but can he guard fours?

“Players at the three…they tend to merge either way, either closer to fours or as wings. People do not talk about pure threes anymore.”

Here’s more from Miami:

  • In a separate piece, Winderman wonders if Oregon’s Bol Bol is worth the gamble for Miami. The Heat own the No. 13 overall pick in the upcoming draft.
  • The Heat could use the No. 13 overall pick to offload some payroll from the roster, Winderman hears (in an additional piece). Dion Waiters, who has been speculated as a trade target of the Warriors, and James Johnson stand as two possible candidates to be moved.
  • Conditioning was an issue for Waiters this past season, Winderman notes. Coach Eric Spoelstra touched on it at the end of the season. “When he gets in optimal shape, he’s going to also be able to get to the basket when he needs to,” Spoelstra said. “He was still able to do that at times, not consistently enough during the course of a game and through contact and through fatigue.”

Heat Notes: Richardson, Haslem, Draft

The Heat decided to pull back in trade discussions when discussing a Josh Richardson-centered deal for Jimmy Butler last season, but the swingman won’t be untouchable in trade talks going forward, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel relays in his latest mailbag.

Winderman writes that if Richardson is needed to complete a deal, he could be in a similar situation to Caron Butler‘s in the mid-2000s. Butler was included in the trade with the Lakers to bring Shaquille O’Neal to the Heat. Richardson, who will turn 26 in September, cooled off as a long-range marksman in 2018/19, making just 35.7% of his attempts from behind the arc. He’s under contract through the 2021/22 season (final year of the pact is a player’s option).

Here’s more from Miami:

  • Udonis Haslem could have a role as a consultant with the Heat, Winderman contends in the same piece. Haslem remains undecided about retiring as a player, though Winderman notes that he expects the power forward to actively remain with the Heat in some capacity regardless of his official decision. Former Heat center Alonzo Mourning trains with the team and instructs younger players, though he isn’t required to travel. That wouldn’t be a bad deal if Haslem decides to retire.
  • Kevin Porter Jr. (USC) will make a visit to Miami to work out for the Heat, a source tells Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Jackson writes that the team is intrigued by his scoring ability, athletism, and high ceiling.
  • Pat Riley and the Heat’s brass attended Priority Sports’ Chicago workout last week to see a handful of prospects, Jackson relays in the same piece. Gonzaga’s Brandon Clarke, Purdue’s Carsen Edwards, Maryland’s Bruno Fernando, Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ, Virginia’s Ty Jerome, Nebraska’s Isaiah Roby, Tennessee’s Admiral Schofield, DePaul’s Max Strus and Belmont’s Dylan Windler participated in drills. Jackson notes that Clarke is likely the only prospect in contention for the No. 13 overall pick.

Heat’s Josh Richardson May Miss Two Weeks

Josh Richardson returned to the Heat‘s lineup on Wednesday after missing three games with a heel injury, but left the loss early due to a groin injury. Now, he may be done for the season.

While an MRI on Richardson’s left groin injury didn’t reveal any damage, the young wing could miss the next two weeks, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. If that timeline is accurate, it would extend into the first round of the postseason. The Heat are currently fighting for their playoff lives and are no lock to make it, which means Richardson may not get a chance to play again until 2019/20.

Richardson, 25, has been a key contributor for the Heat this season, averaging team highs in PPG (16.6 PPG) and MPG (34.8) while playing strong perimeter defense. It will be an uphill battle for the ninth-seeded Heat to re-enter the playoff picture without him, though the team has plenty of backcourt and wing depth. Dwyane Wade, Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters, Rodney McGruder are among the players who could be leaned on more heavily with Richardson sidelined.

The Heat, who sit a half-game back of the Nets and Magic for the Nos. 7 and 8 spots in the East, will finish their season by playing at Minnesota, at Toronto, vs. Philadelphia, and at Brooklyn.

Southeast Notes: Richardson, Winslow, Ariza, Carter-Williams

The Heat may have to make their final push for the playoffs without Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow, relays Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Neither player traveled with the team on its two-game trip to New York and Boston, and there’s no guarantee that either will return over the final week and a half of the regular season.

Richardson, Miami’s leading scorer at 16.7 PPG, suffered a bruised left heel when he was undercut in Tuesday’s game. He has been wearing a walking boot for protection and because he’s not able to put pressure on the heel.

Winslow missed his eighth straight game tonight with a bruised right thigh. The team hoped to have him back this week, but he hasn’t made enough progress to resume playing. Rodney McGruder also didn’t make the trip because of an aching left knee, and coach Erik Spoelstra confirmed that they’re all getting “as much treatment and work they can get around the clock. That’s their focus.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The short-handed Heat are turning to rookie power forward Duncan Robinson to help fill the gap until their injured players return, Jackson adds in the same story. Robinson signed a two-way contract last summer and has only appeared in 12 NBA games. However, he played 22 minutes Thursday night. “He’s certainly gotten better,” Spoelstra said. “He had a phenomenal year in the G League, but he’s improved his defense, his body, conditioning, his strength. He’s improved his ability to work on the move for catch and shoot opportunities. He’s become much more dynamic.”
  • Bradley Beal‘s competitive nature will likely prevent him from taking any nights off, even though the Wizards are out of playoff contention, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. However, Trevor Ariza appears to be done for the year after aggravating his left groin strain on Tuesday.
  • The Magic have been so impressed by Michael Carter-Williams that they would like to have him on the postseason roster if they qualify, but that will require a difficult decision next week, notes Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Orlando received an injury hardship waiver that enabled it to sign Carter-Williams to a pair of 10-day contracts. His second deal expires Thursday, and he must be added to the 15-man roster to be eligible for the playoffs. Robbins identifies Jerian Grant and Isaiah Briscoe as candidates to be waived to make room.

Injury Notes: Embiid, Richardson, McCaw

Joel Embiid will miss the next three games for the Sixers, starting with tonight’s tilt against the Timberwolves, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. The move to leave Embiid home during the three-game road trip is part of pre-determined maintenance.

Embiid missed time following the All-Star break with knee soreness and other players, such as Jimmy Butler and Ben Simmons, have also missed time because of injury and rest concerns. As a result, the team’s starting five has only played in 10 games together this season, as I detailed last week.

Here’s more injury notes from around the league:

  • Heat coach Eric Spoelstra said there is no timetable for Josh Richardson (left heel) to return to action, as Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald relays on Twitter. Spoelstra added that he doesn’t believe Richardson is done for the season.
  • Patrick McCaw will be in a splint for approximately three weeks, according to a Raptors press release. He will be re-evaluated at that time.
  • Kyrie Irving and Al Horford will both miss tonight’s contest against the Nets, Tim Bontemps of ESPN.com passes along. Irving’s nursing a sore back while Horford has a sore left knee. Neither player is expected to miss an extended period of time for the Celtics.

Pat Riley Talks 2020, Playoff Race, Draft Picks

Assuming Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic exercise their player options for next season, the Heat won’t be in position to open up cap room this summer. The club would have over $129MM in guaranteed money on its books for 2019/20 in that scenario, well above the projected $109MM cap.

However, with the contracts for Whiteside and Dragic set to expire in 2020, Heat president Pat Riley believes his team can be a major player during free agency that offseason. Riley said as much in an interview with Heat reporter Jason Jackson (video link), as Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel relays.

“In 2020, we’ll have a lot of room,” Riley said. “We’ll also have the possibility to have enough room to go after two max contracts, and we’re going to do that. So we’re planning that 2020 will be the room year.”

The NBA’s latest salary cap projection calls for a $118MM cap for 2020/21. Currently, the Heat project to have about $71.6MM on their books for that season if James Johnson and Kelly Olynyk pick up ’20/21 player options. So Riley’s suggestion that the team will have two max slots may hinge on one or both of those players opting out.

While Riley and the Heat are eyeing that 2020 offseason as their next opportunity to make a major splash in free agency, it sounds like he’s not ruling out the possibility of pursuing upgrades this coming summer, when the club will have a mid-level exception available.

“We’re chasing a playoff spot and we’re young, and then we’re going to be chasing some players that could come in,” Riley said, per Winderman. “If we could get one or two players to come in with this group, this young group, then I think the sky’s the limit for this team in the next couple of years.”

Here’s more from Riley on the Heat, via Winderman:

  • If they continue to slump, the Heat – who currently rank 10th in our reverse standings – would be in position to snag a pretty favorable draft pick. However, Riley wants to see the squad continue pushing for one of the final playoff spots in the East. “It’s absolutely essential that they grow with experience, but not only experience with the playing time, but they get to the playoffs,” Riley said. “… I don’t care if you’re fighting for spot number eight or seven or five or three or the top spot or you’re fighting for a championship. You’ve got to be chasing something that’s positive.”
  • While Riley sounds far more interested in earning the No. 8 seed than in landing a top-10 pick in the draft, he dismissed the idea that he doesn’t value draft picks: “People think I don’t believe in draft picks. They’re so wrong. … Draft picks are very important to us.”
  • Riley suggests that Justise Winslow, Bam Adebayo, and Josh Richardson are the key members of the Heat’s young core going forward. However, the club president also mentioned Derrick Jones Jr., and noted that players like Dion Waiters (25), Olynyk (27), and Whiteside (28) are still fairly young.

Southeast Notes: Heat, Olynyk, Beal, Walker

Trading Wayne Ellington and Tyler Johnson has led to a more coherent rotation for the Heat and the players appreciate that stability, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. The team was overloaded at the guard and small forward positions before the logjam was broken. “It’s calming knowing you’re going to play X amount of minutes every night,” Josh Richardson said. “We love those guys [but] before, it was different. Now the guard rotation is thinned a little bit so we can play through stuff a little more now instead of it being the other way around.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Heat big man Kelly Olynyk will likely lose the $1MM bonus in his contract because he’s not on pace to reach 1,700 minutes. However, Olynyk is not fretting over it, according to Jackson. “It’s not something you can control,” Olynyk said.
  • Wizards guard Bradley Beal took some time during All-Star weekend to do some recruiting, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington reports. Beal wouldn’t name the players he spoke with because he wanted to avoid any league discipline. “The recruiting process is really going alright. It’s going alright. I’m trying,” Beal said. “This is new for me. I’m definitely getting some ears and seeing what guys are looking for.”
  • Beal declared he would never demand a trade from the Wizards despite injuries and deals that have changed the outlook of a once promising season, Hughes writes in a separate story. “I always feel like if I requested a trade, and I didn’t get traded, there’s no way in hell I’m gonna be able to go and play with my teammates who know I don’t want to be here. That’s mind-boggling to me,” he told Hughes.
  • Kemba Walker dropped a hint during All-Star weekend that he’ll stay in Charlotte if the money’s right, according to Shaun Powell of NBA.com. The Hornets point guard, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, says the thought of playing in the same place throughout his career holds a lot of appeal to him. “There’s something to be said for being on a team for your whole career,” he said. “Not many players have done that. Only a select few. That’s a goal to accomplish.”

Lowe’s Latest: Rockets, Prince, Blazers, Heat

The Rockets and Cavaliers had discussions about sending Brandon Knight to Cleveland along with a first-round pick in exchange for Alec Burks. However, Zach Lowe of ESPN.com hears that those talks have ceased. Houston has also spoken with the Grizzlies about potential Knight deals.

Cleveland is selling Burks, Rodney Hood, and any other “indispensable asset” prior to the deadline, Lowe writes. The team is willing to take back future salary in exchange for picks.

Houston is expected to scour the market for deals leading up to the deadline with an eye on attaching a future first-rounder to Knight and Marquese Chriss. The Rockets would likely push for lottery protections on any picks that would convey past James Harden‘s prime.

Lowe’s latest piece contains trade nuggets from several teams in the league and we’ve already passed along news from the Grizzlies’ Mike Conley and Marc Gasol sweepstakes as well as the Magic’s pre-deadline plan. Here are the rest of the newsworthy notes from the ESPN piece:

  • The Hawks have made Taurean Prince available in trade talks, sources tell Lowe. Atlanta hasn’t received a ton of traction on Prince deals because of its asking price. The organization wants a young prospect and a pick in exchange for the small forward.
  • The Blazers have put their first-rounder on the table in trade talks, sources tell Lowe. Portland has reached out about Otto Porter Jr.‘s availability, though Wizards owner Ted Leonsis previously announced that the team would not be trading Porter before the deadline.
  • Porter has drawn interest from several teams. In addition to the Blazers, the Mavericks and Jazz have kept an eye on the situation. Dallas was interested in swapping Harrison Barnes for Porter prior to the Kristaps Porzingis trade.
  • Miami appears to be willing to move anyone but Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson and Bam Adebayo for cap relief. Lowe expects the Heat to try to get at least a second-round pick for Wayne Ellington.
  • Lowe confirms a previous report that JaMychal Green, Justin Holiday, and Garrett Temple are all available. Holiday, who was acquired from the Bulls earlier this year, cost the Grizzlies two second-round picks.
  • The Kings have approximately $11MM in cap space available and they want to use it to pick up an asset. Lowe writes that it could be a draft pick or a player who will help them win this season.
  • Sacramento is willing to engage in trade talks about Willie Cauley-Stein, who will be a restricted free agent this summer. The Kings may simply let the center walk should he receive too high of an offer this offseason.
  • The Bulls are expected to listen to offers for anyone but Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter. Lowe doesn’t expect Chicago to deal either Kris Dunn or Zach LaVine though, as the team’s asking price is anticipated to be too high.
  • The Nuggets own a pair of trade exceptions and have slightly less than $7MM in breathing room under the tax. They are open to taking on a salary dump if another team calls and has to shed a player in that price range.

Community Shootaround: Heat Roster Logjam

As we relayed earlier today, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is “sick” to his stomach about his inability to find minutes for veteran sharpshooter Wayne Ellington. And now that fellow guard and teammate Dion Waiters is set to return from his ankle injury, don’t expect playing time decisions to get any easier for Spoelstra.

Not counting Waiters or up-and-coming youngster Derrick Jones, the Heat already have 11 players on standard NBA contracts who log 20.5 minutes per game or more, the most of anyone in the league. And of those 12 players, seven are swingmen who play primarily on the wing (Josh RichardsonRodney McGruder, Justise Winslow, Dwyane Wade, Tyler Johnson, Ellington, and Waiters).

In tonight’s blowout win against the Cavs, Wade logged a DNP-Illness, with the remainder of the minutes on the wing going to Richardson (32), Jones (31), Winslow (27), Johnson (26), McGruder (21), and Waiters (11).

With Wade back in the mix soon and Waiters presumably playing his way into more minutes, the question becomes whether the Heat will move on from some of the aforementioned players, such as Waiters or Ellington, or keep the roster logjam as currently constructed as insurance in the event of another injury.

That brings us to our question of the day: Do you think the Heat should try to move on from some of their wings or keep them all around for the rest of the 2018/19 season? If they alter their roster, who is the most likely wing to be moved? Ellington? Waiters? Somebody else?

Please take to the comments section to weigh in. We look forward to your input.