Justise Winslow

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.

Heat Rumors: Hayward, Collins, Teodosic, Winslow

An ESPN report on Friday morning suggested that the Jazz view the Heat as a serious threat in this summer’s Gordon Hayward sweepstakes, and according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, that fear isn’t unfounded. Jackson hears from a source connected to Hayward that the Utah forward has “legitimate interest” in Miami.

Within Jackson’s latest dispatch on the Heat, there’s also word that the team will bring in former Wake Forest power forward John Collins for a pre-draft workout next Wednesday. Collins ranks 20th on DraftExpress’ big board, but has a chance to be selected in the lottery, meaning he could be an option for Miami at No. 14.

Here are a few more Heat-related items worth passing along:

  • The Heat are expected to be one of the teams with interest in Euroleague star Milos Teodosic this offseason, according to a report out of Russia (passed along by NetsDaily.com). The report also identifies Brooklyn and Sacramento as probable suitors for the CSKA Moscow point guard, though those teams have been mentioned previously — Miami’s potential interest is new.
  • Joe Beguiristain of Heat.com provides an update on Justise Winslow‘s recovery from shoulder surgery today, passing along recent comments made by Winslow: “The shoulder is doing well. Five months down, one more to go as far as the six-month process. But I feel great. I got all my range of motion. We’re just trying to get it strong enough that it can endure contact and falls.”
  • While some teams may stretch out their rebuilds in order to avoid battling the Warriors head-on within the next year or two, don’t expect Pat Riley to take that approach with the Heat, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Winderman’s recent Ask Ira series for The Sun Sentinel also includes a discussion on whether it makes sense for Miami to pay big bucks for both Dion Waiters and Tyler Johnson.

Justise Winslow A Month Away From Return

Heat small forward Justise Winslow will need another month before he can fully return from shoulder surgery, reports Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (link via Twitter). Winslow’s second NBA season was limited to just 18 games due to the injury. The former Duke Blue Devil started 15 of those contests, posting well-rounded averages of 10.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 3.7 APG, and 1.4 SPG.

Winderman also tweets (link via Twitter) that Winslow is prioritizing improving his shooting mechanics.

Southeast Notes: Howard, Winslow, Porter, Weltman

Despite a strong regular season, Hawks center Dwight Howard was merely a struggling spectator for most of the team’s brief playoff run, which ended with a 4-2 series loss to the Wizards. Information in the days after the elimination revealed Howard was pulled over on the morning of Game 6, and he teased possibly leaving and joining a franchise where he’s a focal point.

In a recent interview with KL Chouinard of NBA.com, Howard expressed his desire to improve his game to benefit both himself and his hometown Hawks.

“I want to be the best for my team and this city,” he said. “This is why I came here. It is upsetting to me, I want to get out there and play. (It’s difficult) when you work hard for something and you watch it being taken from you (by Washington).”

The eight-time All-Star posted his highest RPG (12.7) in a single season since the 2011/12 campaign — his last with the Magic. Howard also said his body — which prevented him from playing in more than 71 games the past three years — felt its best in years. Now it’s just a matter of the 31-year-old staying consistent and healthy.

Here are additional notes around the Southeast division:

  • In his latest Ask Ira installment, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel answered a fan’s question in regards to Justise Winslow developing into a potent offensive and defensive player. While Winderman does not see Winslow developing into a Lebron James-like defender, he can envision the former 10th overall pick helping Miami in a hypothetical playoff matchup against the Celtics. Winslow missed most of the 2016/17 season, appearing in just 18 games, before succumbing to season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
  • Otto Porter is set to draw a lot of interest this offseason as a restricted free agent but the Wizards are not expected to let him walk. As J.Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic writes, Porter’s comfort in Washington, being a restricted free agent versus a unrestricted free agent, and his unselfishness on the court as reasons he will likely remain in the nation’s capital.
  • The Magic currently have a new president of basketball operations in Jeff Weltman and the team is remaining optimistic about the move, Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel details. Unlike the man who held the position before him, Rob Hennigan, Weltman brings a pedigree; his father is a former general manager of the Cavaliers and Weltman, thirty years Hennigan’s elder, brings more experience to the role. While many around the team remain unsure of what type of impact he will have, optimism — which has not been prevalent in Orlando — is the goal.

Southeast Notes: Wizards’ Bench, Hawks’ FO, Winslow

The Wizards fell just shy of the Celtics in their Eastern Conference Semifinal showdown and now must look at ways to improve if they hope to take the next step as a potential contender. One place they can start, point guard John Wall tells Chris Miller of CSN Mid-Atlantic, is with their bench.

I think we have to add pieces to help our bench,” the Wizards All-Star said. “Just to be honest I think that’s been our downfall.

While Wall and shooting guard Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 27.2 and 24.8 respective points per game this postseason, mid-season trade acquisition Bojan Bogdanovic was their most potent reserve averaging a modest 8.8 points per game.

Brandon Jennings, another mid-season Wizards target charged with the task of jump-starting the second unit, posted averages of just 2.8 points and 1.8 assists per game in the playoffs.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Hawks have interviewed Wizards VP of basketball operations, Tommy Sheppard and Warriors assistant general manager Travis Schlenk in their ongoing search for a new executive, Marc Stein of ESPN writes.
  • A recent profile from the Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman features Heat assistant general manager Adam Simon‘s and his background scouting internationally.
  • The Celtics may have offered a first-round pick to the Heat in exchange for Justise Winslow back on draft night in 2015 but it wasn’t the Nets pick, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel clarifies.
  • A column by George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel draws comparisons between Lonzo Ball and Shaquille O’Neal, citing the overbearing presence of their respective father figures.
  • The Magic have several options that could realistically be available to them at the No. 6 pick, including De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk. Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel breaks them down.

Heat Notes: J. Johnson, Waiters, Cap Space, Whiteside

Using their cap space to keep their own free agents is a better option for the Heat than chasing Gordon Hayward or Blake Griffin, argues Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Miami will have about $37MM to spend this summer if it declines a $6.3MM option on Wayne Ellington. Issuing a max contract of more than $30MM would severely cut into that total and make it impossible for the team to re-sign James Johnson and Dion Waiters. The Heat may try to trade Josh McRoberts, who is expected to exercise a player option worth a little more than $6MM, but Winderman doesn’t expect them to find any takers. He recommends using that $37MM to keep Johnson, Waiters, Ellington and Willie Reed.

There’s more news out of Miami:

  • The Heat’s decisions this summer will shape their roster for the next few years, Winderman writes in a separate piece. If Johnson and Waiters both sign three- or four-year deals, they will join Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic and Tyler Johnson, who are all under contract through 2019/20. Those three already take up $62.7MM of Miami’s cap room for 2018/19, when the cap is projected at $102MM. Even assuming team-friendly contracts for James Johnson and Waiters at a combined $28MM, the Heat would be at $90.7MM, without considering $5.2MM cap holds for Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson. Miami’s front office will have to decide soon if that core is worth locking up the salary cap for the next three seasons.
  • Despite recent comments from team president Pat Riley expressing loyalty to his players, the Heat would be willing to trade anyone on the roster, Winderman states in another column. The writer adds that Riley handled his press conference much better than Knicks president Phil Jackson did, but notes that if Dwyane Wade was allowed to leave last summer, then anyone is expendable.
  • After giving Whiteside a four-year, $98MM deal a year ago, the Heat want him to become a better low-post scorer, Winderman relays in another story. Whiteside continues to be among the league’s best rebounders and shot blockers, but the organization wants him to expand his offensive game and become a “championship” center. “Once you feed him that, he may be able to go there,” Riley said, “but you have to put him in that position. I think he has the ability to put up bigger numbers.”

Pat Riley Talks Heat, Offseason, Haslem, Bosh

At his season-ending press conference today, Heat president Pat Riley expressed optimism and enthusiasm about his team’s future, despite the fact that he was disappointed Miami wasn’t able to sneak into the playoffs.

“While we’re not in the playoffs, we’re ahead of the game,” Riley said. “The table is set, with the pick. We obviously know we have flexibility in free agency. We will see how that works out with our players and other players.

“I was pissed. They deserved to get in and they didn’t get in…. We won four out of our last five games against the best teams in the conference and we still didn’t get in. It was a great disappointment, but at the same time it was a lot of success.”

In addition to suggesting that he’s not sure how many more non-playoff years he can take, Riley weighed in on several items of note relating the Heat and their summer plans. Let’s dive in and round up the highlights, courtesy of Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald

  • Asked about possibly pursuing a star free agent – as the Heat did a year ago with Kevin Durant – Riley downplayed that possibility, suggesting that “we are going to focus on our guys” rather than the “whales” he has talked about in the past. In addition to Dion Waiters and James Johnson, one of those guys is Udonis Haslem — Riley said today that he wants the longtime Heat big man back on the roster next season, calling Haslem “invaluable.”
  • The Heat may also go the trade route rather than making a massive free agent signing, according to Riley, who added that Justise Winslow is not “going anywhere.”
  • On the subject of Chris Bosh, Riley said there have been discussions within the organization about Bosh’s situation, but there’s no resolution yet.
  • Riley doesn’t mind not being at the very top of the draft, since he feels like he can get a solid player in the middle of the first round, and points out that seven of the top prospects are point guards, which he doesn’t need (Twitter links via Jackson).
  • The Heat president indicated that he was happy the team invested heavily in Hassan Whiteside last summer, adding that he believes the young center is capable of developing into the sort of player who averages 25 PPG, 17 RPG, and 6 APG.
  • Riley called the issue of resting healthy players an “absolute travesty” that needs to be addressed by the league, noting that the Heat don’t take part in that practice.
  • Riley also said that Miami’s goal is to establish a D-League affiliate within 100 miles of the NBA team (Twitter link via Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel). Currently, the Heat’s NBADL team plays in Sioux Falls, which is more than 1,800 miles away from Miami.
  • Be sure to check out Jackson’s recap for several more comments from Riley.

Heat Notes: Spoelstra, Johnson, Winslow

Heat players recently cleaned out their lockers, having failed to make the playoffs, and many of them will have an opportunity to go elsewhere this summer. James Johnson, Udonis Haslem, and Luke Babbitt will be free agents. Willie Reed, Josh McRoberts, and Dion Waiters all hold player options and Wayne Ellington could join the free agent market if the franchise declines his $6.27MM team option.

Coach Erik Spoelstra wants his players to feel comfortable returning to Miami, as Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. “This is clean-up day, not clean-out day,” the coach said.

Spoelstra added that his goal is to move forward with the team’s current group and compete for a championship. “Our organization is not going to change. We’re hard-wired to play and compete for championships,” he said. “Hopefully this is dot-dot-dot continued and we can build on this.”

Here’s more from Miami:

  • The Heat are thrilled with Hassan Whiteside‘s growth this season, as Winderman relays in the same piece. “I think his growth has been staggering,” Spoelstra said of the big man. “You can define it how you want. He can become one of the greats.” Whiteside signed a four-year, $98.4MM contract with Miami last offseason.
  • Johnson may consider taking a discount to stay with the Heat if it means keeping this year’s group together, Winderman passes along (Twitter links). “I’m home. That’s what it feels like. I love it here,” Johnson said of Miami.
  • Justise Winslow is recovering from shoulder surgery and is “way ahead of schedule,” according to Spoelstra, as Winderman relays via Twitter.
  • Prior to the injury, the Heat strongly believed Winslow would become a quality starter due to the work he put in last summer to improve his shooting, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. Winslow admits that being sidelined hindered his ability to get comfortable with his new shooting mechanics, but added that he’ll continue to work on that part of his game.
  • Spoelstra feels Winslow would have helped Miami this season because of his efficient play, as Jackson passes along in the same piece. “He can generate threes for you offensively because he puts a lot of pressure in the paint, off the dribble, in transition. He’s an aggressive, bruising, physical type of player and he sees the floor. That helps create your three-point game,” the coach said.
  • In his latest mailbag, Winderman explains why it’ll be hard for the Heat to add a major free agent, such as Paul Millsap, and bring back the core of this year’s squad. The team can feasibly carve out approximately $37MM in cap space this summer and that may not be enough for Miami to add a max player in addition to own free agents.

Southeast Notes: Winslow, Oubre, Calderon, Delaney

Justise Winslow turned 21 on Sunday, spending his birthday away from the team as he continues to recover from a torn right labrum. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra used the occasion to point out Winslow’s potential, while mentioning the character he’s built at this stage of his career.

“He still has had a productive year of improvement,” Spoelstra told Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. “A summer of improvement, where he and J-Rich [Josh Richardson] were two of the top five players in the Orlando summer league; his summer improvement in August and September; the kind of preseason he had was terrific. Then he got hurt with his wrist. Going through all of that, I think, is important for a young player, and even going through adversity, can find a silver lining out of this. Even though it’s not ideal, it does develop character.”

More from the Southeast…

  • Scott Brooks has given Kelly Oubre chances to earn a spot in his rotation, unlike former Wizards coach Randy Wittman. According to J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic, Brooks has limited Oubre’s usage during “undisciplined” stretches, but Kelly’s role as a wing defender has emerged in 2016/17. “The game for Kelly, to me, is simple. Just compete,” Brooks said. “Deflections. Getting into the passing lanes. Contesting at the rim. Switching on our pick-and-roll coverage because he can guard one through four depending on the matchup and then rebound. The game rewards him when he does that.”
  • The Hawks are still evaluating backup point guards after acquiring Jose Calderon, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution writes. Calderon received minutes in each of his first five games following the trade, only for Malcolm Delaney to recently supplant him for the role of primary back-up. “We are excited about both of them,” Mike Budenholzer said. “I think they both can help us. I think it was great to give Jose a five-game stretch. Now, we are probably at a four- or five-game stretch for Malcolm. We’ll continue to look at that. We are considering both and think both will be helpful.”

Will The Heat Add To Their Roster?

In the latest edition of his mailbag, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel broached the subject of Miami adding depth to their shaky roster. As one of Winderman’s readers pointed out, the Heat are within striking distance of a playoff spot, but are missing several players due to injury. What’s more, they’ve committed a roster spot to Udonis Haslem– a great clubhouse presence who isn’t an in-game contributor at this point in his career. In response, Winderman wrote:

“The Heat, for at least another week, not only won’t be able to dress the allowable 13 players, but like Sunday, will only be able to dress 11. Yes, I appreciate the ‘we have enough’ mentality that coaches such as Erik Spoelstra stress. But having enough does not mean having the maximum possible resources in a playoff race that will make every game count. Whether it is signing Carlos Boozer back from China or adding a defensive wing, you raise a legitimate point. This team is hemorrhaging roster spots, and if the mantra is to be all-hands-on-deck, then playing with a full deck would be the best place to start.”

Now tied with Detroit for the eighth seed of the Eastern Conference, the Heat enter a vital stretch of their season without Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters, or Josh McRoberts. While the team could pursue Lance Stephenson, whose second 10-day contract in Minnesota recently expired, he won’t be playoff eligible. Aside from reaching out to Boozer, Winderman lists Okaro White– who is “hardly getting off the bench lately”- as a potential source of production.

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