Kelly Olynyk

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.

And-Ones: BWB Asia, Gambling, Williams, G League

The Thunder’s Corey Brewer, Nets’ Caris LeVert, Heat’s Kelly Olynyk and Mavericks’ Dwight Powell will coach top high school age campers from the Asia-Pacific region in the 10th edition of Basketball Without Borders Asia, according to an NBA release.

BWB Asia 2018 will be held May 30–June 2 at The NBA Academy India in Delhi National Capital Region. Players and coaches will lead the campers through a variety of activities on and off the court, including movement efficiency, positional skill development, shooting and skills competitions, 5-on-5 games, and daily life skills seminars.

In other developments from around the league:

  • New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney voiced strong opposition to the sports’ leagues request for sports betting fees, ESPN Chalk’s David Payne Purdum tweets. “They are calling this extortion attempt an integrity fee, even while fully aware that providing participants a stake in the volume of betting would amount what could more accurately be called an anti-integrity fee,” Sweeney said. The NBA later defended its position, saying its games are the foundation of what will be bet on, the Associated Press reports. “We believe it is reasonable for casinos to compensate the NBA with a small percentage of the total amount bet on our games,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said.
  • The NBA is projecting the salary cap to inflate by $7MM in 2019 and some of that projection might include some anticipated new gambling-related revenue, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. While the cap could rise due to gambling-related income, it won’t cause a dramatic increase in the future, Windhorst adds.
  • Former NBA guard Mo Williams will join Mark Gottfried’s staff at Cal State Northridge, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman tweets. Williams played for Gottfriend at Alabama, Goodman notes.
  • The G League showcase has been moved from January to December and Las Vegas is a strong contender to host it, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. Orlando is also being considered as a host site, according to 2ways10days.com. League expansion is a major reason why Las Vegas and Orlando are potential landing spots for the showcase.

Heat Notes: Whiteside, Wade, Ellington

Hassan Whiteside headed into the offseason last night with one last jab at Heat coach Erik Spoelstra over playing time, relays Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Whiteside spent just 10 minutes on the court during the season-ending loss and played 77 total minutes in the five-game series.

“At least give me a chance to fight,” Whiteside said. “I can understand if I was playing 30 minutes and I played bad. At least give me a chance. … We played a style of play Coach wanted. He wanted to utilize more spacing I guess in the playoffs, so that’s why he did it.”

Foul trouble played a role in Whiteside’s lack of minutes, Jackson notes, as did matchup concerns with Philadelphia’s smaller lineups, but there’s an apparent feeling from the coaching staff that the Heat are better without Whiteside on the floor. His playing time dropped sharply during the season, going to 25.3 minutes per game after a career high of 32.6 last year.

The 28-year-old center said he will address the matter this summer with Spoelstra and team president Pat Riley. He is under contract for more than $25.4MM next season with a $27.1MM player option for 2019/20, and Jackson states that the Heat are expected to explore trade options.

There’s more from Miami on the first day of the offseason:

  • The Heat are stuck with a roster talented enough to make the playoffs, but not to be a legitimate contender once they get there, Jackson writes in a separate piece. He recommends significant changes, which will have to come through trades because of the team’s cap situation. He says the Heat would prefer to keep Josh Richardson, Goran Dragic, Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk, but adds that Riley should give the Spurs their choice of any two players on the roster if Kawhi Leonard becomes available.
  • Dwyane Wade is in no rush to make a decision about another NBA season, according to Andre C. Fernandez of The Miami Herald. The 36-year-old played well after returning to Miami in February, including a 28-point performance in Game 2 of the playoff series. “Fresh off the NBA season, my 15th year, I’ll sit back and think about that,” Wade said after Tuesday’s loss. “Then, I’ll dive and throw myself into my family. They’re next on my bucket list of making sure I’m there for them. Then when it comes to the basketball side of it, which is a long time away from now, then I’ll think about that. But right now I ain’t concerned with it.”
  • Wayne Ellington hopes to return to Miami, but financial realities could make that difficult, notes Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald. The Heat own Early Bird Rights on Ellington as he heads into free agency, allowing them to offer a four-year contract starting at $10.9MM with raises up to 8%. However, Miami is roughly $15MM over next year’s cap, so some salary may have to be trimmed before it makes that kind of commitment to Ellington.

Southeast Notes: Olynyk, Hornets, Hawks

Kelly Olynyk is poised to cash in a pair of bonuses included in the contract he signed with the Heat last summer, as Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Olynyk’s deal, which included a base salary of about $10.61MM for 2017/18, featured a $400K bonus if Miami secured a playoff berth — the team clinched its postseason spot on Tuesday night.

In addition to that $400K, Olynyk is also in line to receive another $1MM for reaching a minutes-played incentive. His contract called for a $1MM bonus if he played at least 1,700 minutes this season, and he’s currently at 1,698. Barring a season-ending injury very early in tonight’s game against Atlanta, Olynyk should easily surpass that 1,700-minute threshold.

Here are a few more items from out of the Southeast division:

  • Assuming Mitch Kupchak accepts the Hornetsoffer to become the team’s new general manager, he’ll have a busy summer ahead of him, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer, who says that the franchise’s rebuild can’t be put on hold. Determining whether to retain head coach Steve Clifford and then finding a way to get out from under one or two long-term contracts would be atop Kupchak’s to-do list, Bonnell observes.
  • ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) takes a look at the Hornets‘ upcoming offseason as well, noting that Kemba Walker‘s future is a major question looming over the organization. Marks also identifies Jeremy Lamb as a possible trade candidate, since his salary is modest enough that teams wouldn’t view his contract as a negative asset.
  • The Hawks have been the NBA’s least effective team in terms of post-up offense this season, prompting Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype to explore a few players worth targeting in free agency if Atlanta wants to improve that aspect of its roster.