Justise Winslow

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.”

Southeast Notes: Heat, Winslow, Hornets, Wizards

Justise Winslow would embrace playing alongside Kyrie Irving should the Heat make a trade for the point guard, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel relays.

“I’m good friends with Kyrie, but it’s not really like free agency. Kyrie doesn’t really have a huge say-so in where he goes,” Winslow said. “He’s going to get traded. So a lot of it is not in his hands, but I would love to play with Kyrie.”

Irving listed Miami as a preferred destination, though the organization is reportedly not optimistic about its chances of acquiring the four-time All-Star, and denied making an offer for him. It’s also worth noting that if the Heat were to acquire Irving, Winslow would almost certainly have to be part of the package heading to Cleveland.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Winslow added that he’s happy with the Heat‘s current composition, which includes Goran Dragic as the team’s current starting point guard, Winderman passes along in the same piece linked above. Dragic has three seasons left on his current deal, though he could become a free agent during the summer of 2019 if he decides to turn down his player option worth slightly under $19.22MM.
  • The Hornets brought in several free agent point guards earlier this week, but didn’t sign anyone following that group workout. Still, it sounds likely that they’ll do so soon, tweets Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer.
  • The Wizards won’t have a G League affiliate this year, but one will be in place for the start of the 2018/19 season. As Chase Hughes of CSNMidAtlantic.com outlines, team owner Ted Leonsis recently provided some information on that process, suggesting that details on Washington’s G League team name and branding should be announced this fall.
  • After his new deal with the Magic was officially finalized, Arron Afflalo spoke to reporters about why he made the decision to return to Orlando (video link).

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

At Least Six Teams Have Made Kyrie Trade Offers

10:37am: The Heat have made no offer to the Cavs for Irving, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link). Wojnarowski is as reliable as NBA reporters come, so this may simply be a question of semantics — perhaps the Heat conveyed to Cleveland what they’d be willing to give up for Kyrie without officially putting an offer on the table. Either way, Miami looks like a long shot.

8:37am: The Spurs, Clippers, Heat, Knicks, Suns, and Timberwolves are among the teams that have made trade offers to the Cavaliers for Kyrie Irving, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

According to Wojnarowski, about 20 teams have inquired with the Cavs about Irving, but far fewer have made legit proposals — some clubs are just monitoring the proceedings, while others don’t have the assets necessary to make a deal happen.

As Wojnarowski explains, there’s a discrepancy between the sort of package the Cavaliers are seeking and what Irving’s potential suitors are currently willing to offer. New GM Koby Altman is looking at the package Denver received in 2011 for Carmelo Anthony as a point of reference. The Nuggets acquired young players, win-now veterans, and draft picks in that swap. However, Cleveland’s potential trade partners prefer a “scaled-down” version of that structure, with fewer players and picks, like what the Bulls received for Jimmy Butler.

Here’s more from Woj:

  • According to Wojnarowski, the Cavaliers haven’t ruled out the possibility of bringing Irving to training camp, or even extending the process beyond December 15, when most free agent signees become trade-eligible. However, other clubs are skeptical that the Cavs will let the Irving saga continue well into the fall.
  • Teams around the league view the Suns and Celtics as the teams best equipped to make a deal for Irving. However, Phoenix hasn’t been willing to include Josh Jackson, and it’s not clear how aggressive Boston would be with its assets.
  • The Heat are open to parting with Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow in an offer for Irving, sources tell Wojnarowski. Still, Miami would likely have to make an “overwhelming” offer to get something done, given the history between the two franchises, Woj adds.
  • The Pacers had Irving as the No. 1 target on their trade board when they were shopping Paul George, and would have done a one-for-one deal, but the Cavaliers declined that option multiple times, sources tell Woj. The ESPN scribe also notes that a separate deal for George – involving Kevin Love instead of Irving – fell apart when the Cavs insisted on including lottery protection on a first-round pick they’d send to the Pacers. Indiana wanted the pick unprotected.
  • Team executives around the NBA are doing a ton of homework on Irving, and have been encouraged by what they’ve found — there’s a consensus that Irving has a history of late nights and partying, but it never affected his play and he has curbed those tendencies into his mid-20s, says Wojnarowski.

Pat Riley Talks Offseason, Haslem, Babbitt, More

After an eventful week of free agency, Heat president Pat Riley spoke to local reporters and addressed a handful of subject related to his team and the offseason so far. Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald passed along the highlights of that session, so let’s dive in and round up some of Riley’s most notable observations and comments…

  • Riley called the Heat’s pursuit of Gordon Hayward a “no-brainer” even though it didn’t ultimately work out. “The fact Gordon had an interest in us, we felt a need to pursue that but not at the risk of [not] negotiating hard with our own free agents,” Riley said.
  • The Heat went hard after Kelly Olynyk because the team viewed a stretch four or five as one type of player the roster was lacking. Riley also suggested that Olynyk “sets probably the best screens in the NBA” and is an ideal fit alongside Hassan Whiteside or Bam Adebayo.
  • The Heat have used “every last dollar” of the salary cap, but still have the $4.3MM room exception. Still, Riley doesn’t expect the team to use that exception right away. “We have 10 guys that we really like, 11 guys or 12 who will be fighting for rotation minutes,” Riley said. “I’m going to add another room mid level guy who is going to be fighting for 10 minutes? … If something pops up that’s really good, we’ll think about using it.”
  • Asked if the Heat need to add a backup point guard, Riley replied, “Absolutely not.” The Heat president pointed to Tyler Johnson, Justise Winslow, and Josh Richardson as possible ball-handlers.
  • Miami wants to re-sign Udonis Haslem and is “still talking” to Luke Babbitt. However, Willie Reed is unlikely to return, per Riley.
  • When it came to the Josh McRoberts trade, A.J. Hammons wasn’t just a throw-in for the Heat — Riley likes what he brings to the table. “He’s the kind of player that fits that mold of a stretch five or four,” Riley said. “We remember him from Purdue. That happened very quickly. We made that deal pretty quickly. We already had scouting reports on him.”

Heat Notes: Leaf, Collins, Reed, Aldridge

The Heat will be looking for size with the 14th pick, especially if Luke Kennard and Donovan Mitchell are both off the board, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. T.J. Leaf, who proved to be an effective outside shooter at UCLA, is a possibility, along with Gonzaga’s Zach Collins, who can also hit from 3-point range. Miami would like to find a stretch four to team with Hassan Whiteside, a traditional low-post center.

If Collins is off the board, Jackson says the Heat will look at Jarrett Allen of Texas and Justin Patton of Creighton. Both are 6’11” and are targeted for the back of the lottery or possibly later. A minor injury prevented Allen from working out for Miami, but he held an interview Sunday and reportedly impressed team officials. Patton did participate in a workout for the Heat on Sunday.

Jackson offers more insight into Miami’s strategy for tonight and beyond:

  • Drafting a backup center would protect the Heat in case Willie Reed leaves in free agency. The front office fears that Reed will get an offer significantly higher than the team is willing to pay.
  • Leaf could be a replacement for either Luke Babbitt or James Johnson, two forwards who are both headed for free agency.
  • Another big man to consider is John Collins of Wake Forest, who impressed the Heat in a workout last week. Miami will also look at Duke’s Harry Giles, but might be scared off by his history of knee problems. Giles canceled a workout in Miami and never rescheduled.
  • If the Heat decide to trade down, they will focus on UCLA center Ike Anigbogu and Kentucky power forward Bam Adebayo.
  • Miami is a possible destination if LaMarcus Aldridge wants out of San Antonio. The Spurs are seeking a top 10 draft pick and would like to cut salary to make a run at Chris Paul. Jackson says Miami could offer a competitive package of the 14th pick, Wayne Ellington, whose $6.27MM contract won’t be guaranteed until July 12th, Justise Winslow and Josh McRoberts.
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