The Heat‘s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, has claimed former Raptors forward Justin Champagnie off waivers, the Skyforce announced in a press release.
Champagnie, went undrafted in 2021 after two seasons at Pitt. He caught on with the Raptors, signing a two-way deal and appearing in 36 games as a rookie for an average of 7.8 minutes per contest. Champagnie then had his two-way deal converted to a standard contract last summer, but it was only partially guaranteed and he was waived by Toronto at the end of last month.
The 21-year-old has only made three NBA appearances thus far in 2022/23, but he has been a standout performer in the G League, averaging 22.5 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.5 SPG and 0.9 BPG on .521/.368/.714 shooting during the Showcase Cup with Toronto’s affiliate, the Raptors 905. He remains an NBA free agent.
There is a viable pathway for Champagnie to land an NBA deal with the Heat if he performs well with the Skyforce and certain moves are made.
Backup center Dewayne Dedmon has fallen out of the Heat’s rotation and a recent incident with the coaching staff likely won’t do him any favors. If he gets traded, which seems probable, rookie center Orlando Robinson, who is on a two-way contract, is viewed as strong candidate to be promoted to a standard deal.
If both of those things transpire, Champagnie could receive Robinson’s two-way spot. If the Heat dump Dedmon’s salary in a trade, then they could also look to add a second player on their standard roster — their 15th spot is currently open due to their proximity to the luxury tax line, but removing Dedmon’s cap hit would give them the flexibility to fill it.