Kelly Olynyk

Heat Notes: Bosh, Wade, Trade Candidates, Butler

Chris Bosh hasn’t officially announced his retirement, but Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald writes that he appears to be settling into life after basketball, which includes a connection to the Heat. In addition to being at courtside for the team’s past three home games, Bosh is doing some behind-the-scenes work, offering advice to team president Pat Riley and talking to players in the locker room.

It’s a significant step considering the terms under which Bosh left the organization. He had hoped to resume his playing career after being diagnosed with blood clots, but couldn’t get medical clearance from the team. He failed a physical prior to the 2016/17 season and was waived after that season ended. The Heat are paying him $26.8MM this year, although that figure doesn’t count against their salary cap.

“Chris was going through a lot,” Dwyane Wade said. “He was somebody who was one of the best players in the world, and he had a diagnosis that comes that no one is familiar with, really. It’s just a tough situation. You got a player who was 32 at the time, something like that, and the way the game is going, can play for a long time. It’s just unfortunate. So yeah, of course it’s going to take a lot of hardship to get out of that situation and get to where everybody is now. But the bigger picture, he needs to and should be a part of this organization. I’m glad to see him around.”
There’s more news from Miami:
  • The first returns in the All-Star voting show how much love there is around the league for Wade, notes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Despite being in a reserve role in his final NBA season, Wade ranked second among Eastern Conference guards with more than 409K votes. “I just appreciate and am humbled by people taking the time out to want to see my old self in an All-Star Game, so it’s cool,” Wade said. “… I know a lot of people are saying, ‘We need to take the fans votes away,’ but they’re the ones who want to see who they want to see.”
  • The Heat will have 13 players worthy of being in the rotation once Goran Dragic returns from injury and could look at the trade deadline as a chance to thin out their roster, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Wayne Ellington has already fallen far out of the rotation and more players could join him with Dragic’s projected return around the All-Star break. Winderman sees James Johnson, Dion Waiters and Kelly Olynyk as trade candidates, with Ellington included as a throw-in.
  • The latest controversy over Jimmy Butler in Philadelphia doesn’t mean things would have worked out the same way if he had been traded to Miami, Winderman states in a question-and-answer column. He notes that Butler would have been the unquestioned top star with the Heat and the focus of the offense.

Heat Notes: 15th Man, Trade Options, Richardson

Even with Dwyane Wade back after his personal leave, the Heat find themselves a little short on backcourt playmakers, as Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson, and Dion Waiters are all on the shelf due to various injuries. Miami has an open roster spot and could temporarily add a guard on a non-guaranteed contract to provide some depth, but has shown no interest in doing so for the time being.

While the luxury-tax penalties tied to any signing are surely a consideration for the Heat, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel suggests the team’s preference to stick with a 14-man roster for now is more about finding minutes for players who might otherwise be buried in Miami’s deep rotation.

As Winderman points out, adding a veteran point guard could have a domino effect on the rest of the lineup, potentially costing players like Wayne Ellington or even Bam Adebayo some playing time. It remains unclear when the Heat’s guards will return to action, but lengthy absences for Dragic and Johnson seem unlikely, so the club is in no rush to add reinforcements.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • The 6-11 Heat have dropped nine of their last 12 games and the need for a roster shakeup in Miami has “never been more obvious,” writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. The Heat will likely contact the Wizards to check in on players like John Wall and Bradley Beal, according to Jackson, who hears that Miami holds Beal in particularly high regard. However, Jackson suggests it’s hard to imagine the Heat putting together an appealing enough package for Beal, and they’d probably only have interest in Wall if they could dump a couple of their own unwanted contracts.
  • In a pair of Ask Ira features this week, Winderman dug into the Heat’s decision to sit Kelly Olynyk on Tuesday and explored the likelihood of a trade involving Wayne Ellington.
  • Earlier this week, Josh Richardson was fined $25K by the NBA for throwing his shoe into the stands during a loss to the Lakers, according to a press release from the league.

Heat Notes: Carmelo, Waiters, Richardson

While there has been some speculation that the Heat could be a landing spot for Carmelo Anthony once the Rockets officially waive or trade him, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald notes that the Heat’s offseason meeting with Anthony’s reps was initiated by Carmelo’s camp rather than Miami’s.

According to Jackson, there are some Heat basketball people who don’t think Anthony would be a particularly good fit, particularly with the club’s rotation already pretty crowded. Miami has also been trying to get its defense on track, and adding Carmelo to the mix likely wouldn’t help on that front.

The Rockets announced on Thursday that they’ve parted ways with Anthony, but have yet to make an official roster move with him. As I detailed this morning, there are plenty of reasons for Houston to wait to finalize anything, so the Heat should have some time to decide if they want to get involved.

Here’s more out of Miami:

  • Dion Waiters‘ return to the court for the Heat still isn’t considered imminent, according to Jackson, who hears that conditioning remains an issue for the veteran guard even once he’s fully recovered from ankle surgery.
  • Jackson also circles back to the Heat’s involvement in the Jimmy Butler talks, confirming that the best offer the team made last month was Josh Richardson, Kelly Olynyk, and a protected first-round pick. According to Jackson, after the Timberwolves passed on that offer, the Heat didn’t exactly pull Richardson off the table — they simply never returned to the table.
  • In case you missed it, we relayed a few more Heat-related notes on Wednesday.

Heat Notes: Draft, Richardson, Wade, Haslem

The NBA appears to be holding off a decision to eliminate the one-and-done rule until the 2022 draft, which would be good news for the Heat, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. That would mean Miami wouldn’t miss out on a potential bonanza in the 2021 class with the top college prospects and high school seniors both available. The Heat are the only team that have traded their 2021 first-rounder, sending it to Phoenix in the Goran Dragic deal. The Suns moved it to the Sixers this summer as part of the package to acquire Mikal Bridges.

Jonathan Givony of ESPN recently reported that teams have been told by league executives that no change in the one-and-done rule will occur prior to 2022. The Heat haven’t appealed to the league to make the change in any particular year, Jackson adds.

Jackson shares more from Miami in the same story:

  • At least one unidentified team offered a first-round pick to Miami in exchange for Josh Richardson during the offseason. The Heat turned it down and have no plans to part with Richardson, who is entering the first season of a four-year, $42MM extension. The team also prefers to hang onto Dragic, Kelly Olynyk, Bam Adebayo, James Johnson and Justise Winslow.
  • Dwyane Wade has less than two weeks to make a decision before camp opens, but at least one Heat official believes he wants to play this season. Wade has been on vacation in California, but will return to Miami tomorrow to open a restaurant with Udonis Haslem, who has been part of the recruiting effort to get Wade to return.
  • Haslem said his “love for the organization” and his teammates was behind his decision to return for a 16th season. “If I was looking for playing time, I could have gone someplace else or played in China or something,” he said. “But at the end of the day, would it have made me as happy as being around this organization and being around these guys? No, I don’t think it would.” Haslem saw minimal action last season, averaging about five minutes per night in 14 games.

Southeast Notes: Rivers, Heat, Bamba

When the Wizards exiled big man Marcin Gortat, they did more than simply shed the 34-year-old’s contract, they filled a void that they’ve had for some time, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. The addition of backup combo guard Austin Rivers should alleviate some of the workload on Bradley Beal.

Beal logged the fourth most minutes in the NBA last season but ran out of gas for the Wizards late in the season. Rivers will also slot in behind John Wall at the point, providing capable support at both backcourt positions.

For the addition to work, Rivers will have to change his game slightly. For instance, he’ll have to tone down the volume shooting as part of a larger, competitive Wizards team.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat will bring back their “captain”, 38-year-old Udonis Haslem, for the 2018/19 season. Now, an Associated Press report states, he’ll get to work convincing Dwyane Wade to join him in fending off retirement. “My mindset has always been for us to finish it together,” Haslem said. “I want us to do a whole season together. Experience the road, dinner on the road, go through that whole process. I want us to experience that together.” Wade, of course, played half of last season with the Cavaliers after initially leaving Miami for the Bulls in the summer of 2016.
  • The Magic are expected to open the season with Nikola Vucevic as their starting center, team scribe John Denton writes, but the club will make sure that Mohamed Bamba has plenty of time to demonstrate his potential. According to Denton, the rookie has already “greatly impressed” the squad with the improvement he’s made since the end of the NCAA season.
  • The Heat have a number of options that Erik Spoelstra will need to mix and match in order to fill his frontcourt. Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes in a mailbag with readers that he views Kelly Olynyk as a change-of-pace backup center behind Hassan Whiteside and James Johnson as the club’s power forward.

And-Ones: Pitino, Free Agents, Team Canada

A return to the NBA doesn’t appear to be in the cards for Rick Pitino, who coached the Celtics from 1997 to 2001 before spending most of the last two decades with Louisville. Having been dismissed from Louisville after the program was investigated by federal prosecutors for potential recruiting violations, Pitino writes in his new book, “Pitino: My Story,” that no NBA doors have opened lately.

“Since leaving Louisville, my agent has reached out when NBA openings have surfaced,” Pitino wrote, per Jeff Greer of The Louisville Courier Journal. “We couldn’t even get an interview. I can’t blame the general managers who turned me down. Louisville fired me so abruptly, it instantly created the impression that I must be guilty of something.”

Asked today on Good Morning America if he wants to coach again, Pitino replied, “I don’t. It’s over for me, I know that” (video link).

Here are a few more items from around the basketball universe:

  • Veterans like Dwyane Wade, Rodney Hood, and Jamal Crawford may be the most notable free agents still available, but they’re hardly the only ones capable of helping an NBA team. Mark Deeks of GiveMeSport examines 30 unsigned players who are candidates to land on NBA rosters.
  • In an entertaining column for The Advocate, Scott Kushner makes his case for why the NBA season should start its season on Christmas Day, pushing the playoffs deeper into the summer.
  • Team Canada’s training camp roster for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers features a handful of NBA players, including Kelly Olynyk (Heat), Tristan Thompson (Cavaliers), Dillon Brooks (Grizzlies), Cory Joseph (Pacers), and Khem Birch (Magic).
  • In a reversal of roles, Damian Lillard broke some news regarding Chris Haynes today, tweeting that the veteran reporter will be leaving ESPN for Yahoo, where he’ll become the Senior NBA Insider and will help build the site’s NBA team. Adrian Wojnarowski, Shams Charania, and Bobby Marks have left Yahoo within the last year and a half.

Southeast Notes: Spoelstra, Kidd-Gilchrist, Wall

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra will have a difficult time coming up with a rotation after team president Pat Riley failed to address the logjam at several positions, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel notes. With Hassan WhitesideKelly OlynykBam Adebayo and James Johnson on the roster, there aren’t enough frontcourt minutes to go around and keep everyone happy, Winderman continues. There’s also an excess of shooting guards options (Rodney McGruderDion WaitersTyler JohnsonWayne Ellington and Josh Richardson) even if Dwyane Wade isn’t re-signed, Winderman adds.

We have more from around the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets are thinking seriously about going with smaller lineups more often, featuring Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at power forward and Frank Kaminsky at center, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports. Charlotte has plenty of rotation-worthy options at small forward and shooting guard to allow those position changes to take place, Bonnell continues. If Kidd-Gilchrist logs significant playing time at power forward, Kaminsky could join an unsettled rotation at center and his perimeter defensive shortcomings wouldn’t be as much of an issue, Bonnell adds.
  • This is a pivotal season for Wizards point guard John Wall, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington points out. Following the upcoming season, Wall’s four-year, $170MM-plus extension kicks in and it’s time for him to show he can lead a major contender, Hughes continues. He must improve his field-goal efficiency and mesh well with incoming center Dwight Howard, Hughes adds.
  • Heat summer-league star Derrick Jones will struggle to find playing time, Winderman wrote in another mailbag piece. Get that info, plus other Miami notes, right here.

Heat Notes: LeBron, T. Johnson, Draft Picks, Leonard

The Heat are sometimes listed as a potential free agency destination for LeBron James, but team officials don’t believe there’s any chance he will return to Miami, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Among the entities that could see James back on South Beach is the WestGate Las Vegas sports book, which recently gave the Heat the fifth-best odds of winning next year’s title because of that possibility.

While Miami wouldn’t turn James away, there are too many obstacles to make the move realistic, Jackson notes. The Heat enter this summer with no cap space, so they would have to clear more than $55MM in salary while taking none in return to create the room to offer James a max contract. Cleveland could theoretically agree to a trade, but it’s hard to picture Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert working out a deal to ship James back to Miami.

Here are a few more Heat tidbits, courtesy of Jackson:

  • Tyler Johnson‘s contract will escalate to $19.2MM in each of the next two seasons, and the Heat are probably stuck with that deal. Jackson states that there is little optimism in the organization about moving Johnson, whose contract includes a 15% trade kicker that would be worth an extra $2.9MM. Miami matched a back-loaded offer sheet from the Nets in 2016 that was structured to make Johnson much more expensive in the final two years.
  • Also holding a trade kicker is Kelly Olynyk, who has a 5% bonus that would pay him $1.1MM if he’s traded. That money would be split over the next two seasons.
  • The Heat, who don’t have a pick in either round of this year’s draft, are trying to acquire a second-rounder, according to a Western Conference executive whose team has spoken to Miami about a potential deal. This year’s first-round choice was sent to the Suns in the Goran Dragic trade, and the second-rounder was shipped to Memphis in a 2016 deal to clear cap room.
  • Miami continues to monitor the Kawhi Leonard situation in San Antonio in hopes of pouncing if the Spurs decide a trade is necessary.

Canada Basketball Unveils 18 Training Camp Invites

Canada Basketball has announced its preliminary 18-man roster of players who have been invited to participate in training camp and exhibition play ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers next month, reports Josh Lewenberg of The Sports Network.

Among the 18 named individuals, eight played in the NBA last season – Khem Birch (Magic), Chris Boucher (Warriors), Dillon Brooks (Grizzlies), Cory Joseph (Pacers), Jamal Murray (Nuggets), Kelly Olynyk (Heat), Dwight Powell (Mavericks), and Tristan Thompson (Cavaliers).

The preliminary roster also includes former No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett, as well as three other G League players – Aaron BestOlivier Hanlan, and Kaza Kajami-Keane.

The remaining six players are former first-round pick of the Magic, Andrew Nicholsonformer college standouts’ Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim, Baylor’s Brady Heslip, and Gonzaga’s Kevin Pangos, as well as brothers Phil Scrubb and Tommy Scrubb.

As also highlighted by Lewenberg, notable absences include Trey Lyles (Nuggets), Nik Stauskas (Nets), and most glaringly, Andrew Wiggins (Timberwolves). Per Lewenberg, multiple sources indicated that one factor in Wiggins’ decision to decline Canada Basketball’s invitation is his strained relationship with national team head coach Jay Triano, who left Wiggins on the bench during the final moments of a qualifying game for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Southeast Notes: Olynyk, Hill, Wizards

One year after being part of a Celtics team that made a strong push towards a championship, Heat forward Kelly Olynyk is upset that his season is over, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. Miami was eliminated from the postseason by the Sixers in five games.

Olynyk signed a four-year pact with the Heat last summer as the Celtics shifted focus to acquiring Kyrie Irving and signing Gordon Hayward. Olynyk was honest in the fact that going home early was a disappointment, but that he is using it as motivation to come back stronger next season.

“Unfortunately, I wish it was us and it was something that makes you leave that taste in your mouth where you want that, you want to experience that,” Olynyk said. “I want that next year to be Game 5 [of the Eastern Conference finals] in Miami, at AmericanAirlines Arena, either playing them or somebody else. That’s the goal. That’s what it’s all about.”

In his first season with the Heat, Olynyk posted career-best totals of 11.5 PPG and 5.7 RPG in 76 games (22 starts).

Check out more Southeast Division notes below:

  • Matt Hill, the only assistant coach retained by the Magic from Frank Vogel‘s staff, is headed to the Hawks as an assistant coach, tweets Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Hill originally started as a video analyst in the Magic’s basketball operations department.
  • Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington examined the Wizards‘ possible draft strategy as the team prepares to select players for the first time since 2015. Hughes writes that Washington could use its first- and second-round picks to select either a modern big man, wing player or backup point guard.
  • It may be enticing for the Wizards to shop their first-round pick, but the team should learn from previous seasons and retain that pick to draft a young player, Hughes writes in a separate story.