Justise Winslow

Heat Notes: Bosh, Spoelstra, Winslow

The Heat experienced some déjà vu during their game against the Nets in Mexico City on Saturday as former champion Chris Bosh was in attendance for the team’s 101-89 victory. It was a welcome sight for many of Bosh’s former teammates and coaches, including Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, Shandel Richardson of the Sun Sentinel writes.

“We’ve been in touch. He looks good,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “His family, his kids are doing well. I love CB. He’s Heat family for life but man it’s strange. You see him and it’s like you go back to 2012 just like that. You realize how fast times goes by in this league.”

Bosh has not played in nearly two seasons after his issue with blood clots was ruled career-ending following a medical review by the NBA and the players’ union earlier this year. Bosh reached a unique agreement with the Heat in July where his salary would longer count against the team’s salary cap after he was waived.

We noted last month that Bosh was “keeping his options open” regarding his future as an active player. However, given his medical complications, it remains a longshot that an NBA team will give him a chance to resume his career.

Check out other Heat news below:

  • Also from the Sun Sentinel’s Shandel Richardson, Heat forward Justise Winslow has taken a demotion to the bench in stride and is finding success in that role. “I didn’t really take it as a bad thing or a good thing,” Winslow said. “For me, I just see it as an opportunity to be even more of a playmaker with that second group especially with the great spot up shooters we have in Wayne [Ellington] and Tyler [Johnson].”
  • Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes that Erik Spoelstra thrives under stability with the Heat, something David Fizdale and other recently dismissed coaches have not been afforded. Spoelstra has been the head coach in Miami through the era of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Bosh, and in recent years during a rebuilding stage. He feels that teams will need patience to compete and that stability with coaches is critical.

Heat Notes: Waiters, Adebayo, Winslow, Roster, Deadline

Dion Waiters has shown improvements to his game but Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra wants to see his guard take further steps to improve his all-around game, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel writes.

“I really like the progress he’s making,” Spoelstra said of Waiters. “I know his shooting numbers aren’t showing it right now, not necessarily his turnovers. I think those will come down. I think his shooting percentage will come up because he’s starting to understand different reads, different coverages, the responsibility of having to make plays for our basketball team.”

Waiters, 25, is enjoying another solid season in Miami after he enjoyed a breakout campaign last season. Waiters signed a four-year, $52MM deal to remain with the Heat. While the improvements are noticeable, Spoelstra added that Waiters needs to maintain his focus throughout each game and not lose focus.

“Now, the other side of that is helping him improve all the other 45 minutes of the game offensively, which he is coming a long way,” Spoelstra said.

Below you can read more news out of the Miami Heat organization:

  • In his Ask Ira column, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel addressed the Heat’s decision to start both Bam Adebayo and Justise Winslow. While neither man is a scoring threat, Spoelstra prefers to replace injured players with “someone who least impacts the overall rotation.” Thus, it allows the Heat to start with one lineup and gradually mix in other players throughout the game.
  • In another installment of Ask Ira, Winderman breaks down the Heat roster and examines why it has been difficult for the team to achieve consistency.
  • December 15 will be the first day teams can trade players who were signed during this past offseason. While the Heat have not made a December trade in their 30+ years of existence, Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel breaks down the likelihood of Miami swinging a deal and which players could be on the trading block.

Heat Notes: Whiteside, McGruder, Adebayo, Winslow

Heat center Hassan Whiteside returned to action tonight after missing five games with a bone bruise on his left knee. Although Whiteside’s absence has been part of the reason for a disappointing 2-4 start, there are other factors, explains Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

Those include a defense that has slipped from fifth in points allowed last season to 23rd so far this year and 3-point shooting that ranks 27th in the league. Miami is also reeling from the loss of Rodney McGruder, who will miss three to six months after undergoing surgery for a left tibia stress fracture. “He’s always in the right spot, he’s always getting those 50/50 balls, even if it’s 70 against 30,” Goran Dragic said of the second-year shooting guard. “We don’t know how but he’s going to get that ball. Those are game changers.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • The Heat held a team meeting Sunday to let players discuss the reasons for the slow start, Jackson writes in the same story. Tyler Johnson said coach Erik Spoelstra opened the meeting, followed by the team captains, then other players. “Sometimes I forget what got me here is undeniable energy and hunger,” Johnson said. “Nobody can keep me from being able to do my job. Whoever is matched up in front of me, I didn’t care who they were, if they were an all-star. That Rodney McGruder type attitude. We definitely do need to get back to that.”
  • After posting his first double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds against the Timberwolves, rookie Bam Adebayo credited his time at Kentucky for helping him get ready for the NBA, Jackson adds. Adebayo said Wildcats coach John Calipari teaches players to put the organization above their own goals. “If you sacrifice for the better of the team, that means you care about the team more than yourself,” Adebayo said. “Kentucky is a blueprint for the NBA.”
  • Justise Winslow has relied on speed more than bulk while making the move to power forward, relays Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The third-year player, who was limited to 18 games last season by wrist and shoulder problems, has dropped 10 pounds and embraced his new duties. “I think he’s quick, he’s faster, he’s able to get to the ball quicker,” Spoelstra said. “So much of having 12 rebounds in a game is quickness to the ball. And he’s got a knack to the ball, but now he can really get to it quickly.”

Heat Notes: Nelson, Hammons, Olynyk, Winslow

Jameer Nelson may seem like an attractive option for a Heat team without a true backup point guard, but that doesn’t mean Miami will try to sign him, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel in a mailbag column. The Nuggets waived Nelson today to open a roster space for Richard Jefferson. If no one claims the 35-year-old and his more than $4.7MM salary before Friday, he will become a free agent and can sign with any organization.

The Heat’s option best option to back up Goran Dragic, according to Winderman, is probably Josh Richardson, who is being used as the starting small forward. Justise Winslow, James Johnson, Dion Waiters and Tyler Johnson can all handle the ball, but none is a traditional point guard.

Winderman states that team president Pat Riley didn’t seem concerned about finding another backup when he was asked about the situation in preseason. “If we didn’t feel comfortable with Tyler and with Josh and also with Dion, then we would have gotten probably, exactly what you’re talking about — a veteran, 10, 12 years in the league, can really play, smart, can run an offense, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera,” Riley said. “But we don’t feel like we need that. And if we did, then it would have been easy for us to acquire that kind of player.”

There’s more news out of Miami:

  • A.J. Hammons‘ easier path to being traded may have helped him earn Miami’s final roster spot, Winderman adds in the same piece. DeAndre Liggins, who was waived Saturday, would have provided wing depth and probably would have played more than Hammons, whom Winderman ranks eighth among the team’s bigs. However, because Liggins signed with the Heat during the offseason, league rules wouldn’t have allowed him to be traded until December 15. Hammons, who was acquired in a July trade with Dallas, can be dealt at any time.
  • Miami plans to let free agent addition Kelly Olynyk show off his passing skills, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. The Heat signed Olynynk with an eye toward allowing him to expand his game, just as they did with James Johnson. “They’re going to put the ball in my hands more and let me be myself and create plays and facilitate for others,” Olynyk said.
  • Rodney McGruder‘s injury means the Heat can’t afford to bring Winslow back slowly, writes Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald. Winslow had surgery in January to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder and was limited to 18 games last season. “Obviously we don’t like to see teammates go down – that’s unfortunate – but our mentality is always next man up,” Winslow said. “So, most likely, that’s looking like me. My role is going to be increased earlier in the season. I’ve just got to be ready.”

Heat Notes: G League, Winslow, Whiteside, Williams

The Heat have passed the midway point of the preseason, which means a roster shakeup could be on the way, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. NBA rules state that players are eligible for an “affiliate” tag after spending half the preseason with a team. Winderman uses Erik McCree as an example, saying if he were to be waived now, then sign with another team and get waived again before the season opens, he would be assigned to Miami’s G League affiliate.

Waiving players once they pass the midway point and then signing replacements allows teams to create four affiliate spots for their G League franchises. The Heat pursued that strategy last year when they waived Stefan Jankovic and Keith Benson in the preseason, then signed Vashil Fernandez and Luis Montero, and all four wound up in Sioux Falls. In addition to McCree, Derrick Walton Jr., Matt Williams and Larry Drew II are eligible to join the Skyforce. Drew would be a returning player rather than an affiliate player, while Walton already has a two-way contract and will not count against the 15-man roster limit.

There’s more news out of Miami:

  • Justise Winslow will find out soon if the extra time he has been spending with shooting  consultant Rob Fodor is paying off, Winderman adds in a separate piece. The third-year forward has excelled in other areas, but shooting has been a persistent problem since he entered the league. He is a 40% career shooter from the field and 26% from 3-point range and is trying to bounce back from a torn labrum in his right shoulder that limited him to 18 games last season. “The way I see it in the basketball world, or just in general, God doesn’t give everyone everything,” Winslow said. “… And in the sense of basketball, once that thing gets figured out, there’s not much you could say I can’t do. I can bring the ball up. I can guard your best player. I can rebound. I can find my open shooters. I can push it on the break. So once that minor detail gets settled out, I think we’re going to have a very fun ride.”
  • Hassan Whiteside is a traditional low-post center, but the Heat would like to see him expand his shooting range, Winderman adds in another story.
  • Williams’ summer league performance gave him a shot to make the Heat roster, writes Mike Gramajo of The Miami Herald. The 23-year-old signed with Miami in late July after impressing the coaching staff with his performance during the summer. “It feels good just to know that my hard work is starting to pay off,” Williams said. “I’m with a great organization, and it couldn’t be better.”

Heat Notes: Winslow, Olynyk, Adebayo, Wade

For a team that brought back nearly all its key players over the offseason, the Heat head into training camp with a lot of unanswered questions. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald examines position battles and several other topics in his latest column:

  • The starting small forward position will be wide open when camp begins Tuesday, with Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson and Rodney McGruder all having a shot at it. The Heat exercised their fourth-year option on Winslow this week as the former first-rounder tries to battle back from a shoulder injury that limited him to 18 games last season. Miami was only 3-12 when he started last year and he wasn’t part of the team’s surge after the All-Star break. Richardson, who received a four-year extension this week, came into the league as a guard, but played 80% of his minutes last season at forward.
  • James Johnson is the favorite to start at power forward, but free agent addition Kelly Olynyk will be an intriguing addition because of his outside shooting. Olynyk shoots .368 from 3-point range for his career, compared to .296 for Johnson, although he raised that number to 34% last season. Olynyk, who was used mainly in a reserve role in Boston, will see plenty of minutes in Miami whether he starts or not.
  • Johnson, Olynyk and Hassan Whiteside will take up most of the center/power forward opportunities, leaving little for first-round pick Bam Adebayo, whom the Heat believe has a bright future. Winslow may also be utilized as a stretch four in small-ball lineups, so Adebayo will need a strong showing in camp to earn playing time.
  • Okaro White and Jordan Mickey are likely to make the roster, with A.J. Hammons holding a slight edge for the 15th spot. However, the Heat have concerns about Hammons’ work ethic and he will be challenged by shooting guard Matt Williams. Former Michigan point guard Derrick Walton has been impressive over the summer, but he has a two-way contract and can’t spend more than 45 days in the NBA.
  • The front office isn’t unanimous in wanting Dwyane Wade back if he agrees to a buyout with the Bulls. There are concerns about his defense at age 35, and the Heat already have five guards who can make a case for playing time.

Heat Exercise 2018/19 Option On Justise Winslow

The Heat have exercised their fourth-year team option on Justise Winslow, the club announced today in a press release. Winslow’s status for the coming season won’t be affected by the move, but it will guarantee his salary for the 2018/19 season.

Winslow, the 10th overall pick in the 2015 draft, missed nearly all of his second NBA season in 2016/17 due to a shoulder injury. After playing in 78 games in his rookie year, Winslow appeared in just 18 last season, averaging 10.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, and 3.7 APG. He looks good to go for the 2017/18 campaign, however, and is expected to battle for the starting small forward job in the preseason.

By exercising their final team option on Winslow, the Heat ensure that he’ll count for $3,448,926 against the cap in 2018/19. The move will also make Winslow eligible for an extension during the 2018 offseason. If he and the Heat don’t strike a deal at that time, the 21-year-old would be on track to reach restricted free agency in 2019.

Decisions on 2018/19 rookie scale team options are due by the end of October, so we should start hearing about more of those moves in the coming weeks. You can follow along with those team option decisions right here.

Heat Notes: Winslow, Sullinger, Williams

It has been an eventful few days for the Heat, who saw point guard Goran Dragic lead Slovenia to its first EuroBasket championship with an impressive 35-point performance in the final game of the tournament, earning MVP honors. Dragic’s 35 points in the championship game were the highest EuroBasket Final output since Pau Gasol poured in 36 back in 2003.

Meanwhile, the Heat also officially announced its contract extension with Josh Richardson today. According to reports, Richardson’s new deal will lock him up through the 2020/21 season, with a player option for 2021/22. Miami also added undrafted rookie Erik McCree to its roster for training camp.

Here’s more from out of South Beach:

  • Justise Winslow has been “off the board with his commitment this summer,” a source tells Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, suggesting the third-year forward is working hard to develop his jump shot and his all-around game. As Jackson notes, the Heat are expected to exercise Winslow’s 2018/19 team option in the coming weeks. Winslow will compete with Richardson and Rodney McGruder for the starting job at small forward, Jackson adds.
  • According to Jackson, Heat president Pat Riley was “intrigued” by Jared Sullinger, who visited the team earlier this summer. However, Sullinger wasn’t in shape at the time, and Miami didn’t make him an offer. The big man has since signed with a team in China.
  • Jackson also notes that the Heat still have one of their two-way slots open, suggesting that camp invitee Matt Williams is a candidate for that spot since his contract can be converted into a two-way deal.
  • In an Ask Ira feature, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel wonders if all the incentive bonuses on new contracts for players like Dion Waiters and Kelly Olynyk may put head coach Erik Spoelstra in a difficult spot this season.
  • If you haven’t weighed in already, be sure to vote on the Heat’s win total for 2017/18. Polling will close on Tuesday morning.

Heat Notes: Richardson, Olynyk, Ellington

A pair of Heat forwards who spent much of the 2016/17 campaign on the sidelines will be competing hard for a starting role, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. Expect Josh Richardson to put up a fight for a shot at the three, while Dion Waiters fills in at shooting guard.

Of course Richardson’s path on the depth chart is blocked by Justise Winslow, another individual expected to compete like crazy for the role, and to an extent, Rodney McGruder.

Last season Richardson averaged 10.2 points per game while Winslow added 10.9 of his own. In addition to modest offense both players provide length and versatility.

Wherever [Erik Spoelstra] wants to take this positionless game, it can be real small, with him playing five on down to three point guards with Justise at four [or three bigs],” team president Pat Riley said.

There’s more out of Miami this evening:

  • A Boston beat writer isn’t all that impressed with some of the contracts on Miami’s payroll but A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England does add that the addition of sharpshooting Kelly Olynyk could bode well for the Heat considering Hassan Whiteside‘s lack of an outside game.
  • The Heat have gotten flak from fans for taking Justise Winslow ahead of Devin Booker in the 2015 NBA Draft but Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel reminds readers that there isn’t much point to looking back on such situations in hindsight, especially considering the club had Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on board at the time as well.
  • The Heat were fortunate to have Wayne Ellington step up and play a significant part in their turnaround last season but the forward could see his role decrease slightly considering that Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow are expected to be back at full health, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes.

Heat Notes: Richardson, Clark, Rose, Winslow

Starting Thursday, the Heat will be able to offer a contract extension to third-year guard Josh Richardson, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. The offer can be as much as $43MM over four years, and Richardson would have until the start of the regular season to accept it. If he doesn’t, he will become a restricted free agent next summer.

Richardson has been valuable when he’s been in the lineup, but he was limited to 53 games last year because of injuries. Knee surgery forced him to miss training camp and the first four regular season games, then ankle problems sidelined him in midseason.

Jackson expects the Heat to offer at least $30MM over three years, with a player option for the final season. Given the decline in money going to mid-level free agents this summer, Richardson might find that offer appealing.

Here are some more Heat-related notes, courtesy of Jackson:

  • Miami seems likely to hold onto its $4.3MM mid-level exception for the buyout season. The Heat like former Warrior Ian Clark, who once played for Miami’s summer league team, but he’s looking for $8MM, well out of their price range. There’s also not an obvious role for Clark in an already-crowded backcourt.
  • The Heat also didn’t have playing time to give Derrick Rose, which is why they didn’t try to top Cleveland’s $2.1MM offer. Miami’s front office had interest in Rose, but the team is already committed to Goran Dragic as its starter as point guard.
  • Justise Winslow held a press conference this week and said his injured right shoulder will be fully healed by training camp. The second-year forward played just 18 games last year and had season-ending surgery in early January.
  • Free agent big man Luke Babbitt, who was acquired from the Pelicans in a trade last summer, is examining his options for next season. He made $1.227MM last year.
  • Willie Reed probably wouldn’t have opted out of his contract with the Heat if he knew he wouldn’t be getting a raise. The 27-year-old center agreed to a minimum-salary deal with the Clippers worth $1.5MM for one year, roughly the same amount he would have gotten in Miami. Reed said L.A. wants him to provide a defensive presence as a backup to DeAndre Jordan. “I felt like it was a comfortable position and it was kind of similar to the role that I played in Miami,” Reed said, “so it wouldn’t be difficult for me to adjust.”
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