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.”