LeBron James caused some excitement in Miami on Saturday with Instagram posts featuring photos of himself in front of American Airlines Arena, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Even though James expressed a fondness for the city in a caption that read, “A ton of great memories riding past her today!! #AAA #striveforgreatness,” the Heat have no expectations that he will consider returning to Miami when he becomes a free agent next summer. Like most of the league, Jackson notes, Heat officials believe James will either go to Los Angeles or stay in Cleveland.
Jackson adds that there are no obvious free agents for Miami to chase next summer, even if the team could create cap room. He says they wouldn’t pay max money to Carmelo Anthony, Los Angeles seems like the destination for Paul George, and other stars such as Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, DeMarcus Cousins and DeAndre Jordan play positions where the Heat are already set. They may have more interest in the 2019 free agent class, but will have limited cap room unless Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson or Hassan Whiteside opt out of their contracts.
There’s more today out of Miami:
- With 11 games in two leagues, the Heat got a good look at candidates for two-way contracts this summer, notes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. However, it’s not certain that the players who get those deals will come from the summer league squads. Among those who made a positive impact, according to Winderman, are Virginia’s London Perrantes, Central Florida’s Matt Williams, Monmouth’s Justin Robinson and Colorado State’s Gian Clavell.
- The Heat were happy with the performance of first-round pick Bam Adebayo this summer, Winderman writes in a separate story. The power forward out of Kentucky was held out of the final three games in Las Vegas, but showed enough to give Miami hope that he can be a contributor right away. “I think the seven games he played was a great first step as an NBA player,” said summer league coach Chris Quinn. “He did everything we asked. He showed us a skill set that is very versatile. He was able to do things that maybe he hadn’t done as much. But more importantly, he completely bought in to our player-development program. He’s listening to Coach Juwan [Howard] every single day and he’s really been great to work with. His attitude and his work ethic have been amazing, which, for a guy with his talent, is most important.”
- Winderman adds that this summer was especially important for Okaro White, who faces a partial guarantee date for next year’s $1.3MM contract on August 1st. Quinn said White made “major strides” in the seven games he played.