Heat rookie Marcus Garrett may take over KZ Okpala‘s role as a defensive specialist off the bench, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Garrett was a standout for Miami’s Summer League team and signed a two-way contract this week.
The Heat gave up three future second-round picks to acquire Okpala in a 2019 draft-day trade, but he has struggled with his shot during his first two NBA seasons. He connected at 37.5% from the field and 24.0% from three-point range in limited playing time last year. Winderman states that Garrett’s point-of-attack defense may be a better fit for the team and speculates that the playing time will go to whichever player produces more on offense.
There’s more from Miami:
- The opportunity to win a title was the main reason that Kyle Lowry chose the Heat in free agency, Winderman relays in a separate story. Lowry explained his reasoning in a recent appearance on CJ McCollum‘s podcast. “For me, it’s only championships or bust,” he said. “Going to Miami, that was a situation where I feel like this is what they want to do. I have a close friend, Jimmy Butler, there and I feel like Miami, that’s what they want to do. It’s about winning championships.” Lowry later added, “If you aren’t playing for championships, what are you playing for? And that’s the only thought process that went into my free agency, is where do I go to become a champion?”
- The Heat’s history with players who have serious medical conditions may have made them reluctant to pursue LaMarcus Aldridge, Winderman adds in another piece. Aldridge received medical clearance this week to return to the NBA after being forced into retirement when he was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat in April. He signed with the Nets, the team he joined after a buyout agreement with the Spurs last season. Miami has gone through similar health scares with Chris Bosh and Alonzo Mourning.
- Picking up Tyler Herro‘s option for 2022/23 was an easy decision, but the Heat will face a tougher choice next summer when he’s eligible for a rookie scale extension, observes David Wilson of The Miami Herald. More than three quarters of Miami’s projected cap space through the 2023/24 season is tied up in Lowry, Butler, Bam Adebayo and Duncan Robinson, so extending Herro could result in a huge tax bill.