Max Strus

Heat Open To Dealing Kyle Lowry

While it was previously reported that the Heat weren’t actively shopping Kyle Lowry and a deal was considered unlikely, evidently the team is now open to moving him if it receives an “advantageous” offer, according to Barry Jackson and Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

As Jackson and Chiang point out, Lowry’s list of suitors might be small. In addition to being 36 years old, he is making $28.33MM this season and $29.68MM in 2023/24.

The other issue is Lowry has been battling left knee soreness off and on since December. He had a “minor medical procedure” on the knee in mid-January, which caused him to miss four games, Jackson and Chiang report. He missed Saturday’s game as a result of the issue and plans to meet with a doctor soon.

Lowry, a six-time All-Star and 2019 NBA champion with the Raptors, has seen his production drop off in ’22/23. He’s averaging 12.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 5.3 APG and 1.0 SPG on .396/.333/.855 shooting through 44 games (33.3 MPG).

The Clippers are one team that has expressed interest in the veteran point guard, but others have inquired as well, per Jackson and Chiang.

In addition to Lowry, Miami is “willing to listen to offers on most players” on its roster. One player rival teams have been calling about is Max Strus, who is an impending free agent in the summer, a source tells Jackson and Chiang. The Heat would like to re-sign him, but it might be costly due to luxury tax concerns.

The Herald’s duo suggests the Heat are unlikely to trade away a first-round pick unless they can acquire a “quality starter.” The primary reason for that is the team is always on the lookout for star talent and would prefer to save its draft capital.

The Heat continue to look for frontcourt help and will attempt to unload Dewayne Dedmon‘s $4.7MM contract (his deal is non-guaranteed for ’23/24), Jackson and Chiang add.

Heat Notes: Adebayo, Highsmith, Strus, Butler

Bam Adebayo is a long shot to start the All-Star Game, but the Heat center is confident that he belongs there, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Adebayo was outside the top 10 among Eastern Conference frontcourt players in the latest round of fan voting, which accounts for 50% of the final total. Coaches will choose the seven reserves in each conference, with the selections being announced February 2.

Adebayo has a strong case for All-Star consideration, averaging career highs with 21.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game while anchoring Miami’s defense. He dismisses the results from the fans, but believes the coaches understand how good he is.

“I’m going to be (upset) about if they tell me somebody else has played better than me this year considering I’m leading the NBA in paint points and I’m one of the reasons why we’re winning,” Adebayo said. “So for me, it’s just that fan voting is fan voting. I’ll let that be. But when it comes to coaches voting, that’s when I feel like I deserve to be in it.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Haywood Highsmith earned extended minutes with his performance in Tuesday’s win over the Celtics, Chiang states in a separate story. The third-year small forward has excelled with Jimmy Butler battling injuries, and he put up 15 points and 10 rebounds off the bench against Boston. “H played so well, I just couldn’t take him out of the game,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Those are the kind of things that you want from a head coaching standpoint. Make us play you because you’re playing so hard and you’re making so many things happen.”
  • The Heat weren’t expecting to use Max Strus as a starter this season, but injuries have forced him into that role, Chiang adds. Strus has started 25 of the 47 games he has played, including Tuesday night when Butler was a late scratch. “You could look at it either positively or negatively,” Spoelstra said. “That’s why I tell him, ‘Isn’t this what you’ve always wanted? To come in there and play a big role whether you’re coming off the bench or starting. What else could you want?’ I think that’s great to be able to plug and play in a lot of different roles.”
  • The lower back tightness that prevented Butler from playing against the Celtics occurred during pre-game warmups, tweets Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel.

Southeast Notes: Hachimura, Porzingis, Ball, Strus

Wizards forward Rui Hachimura may have raised his trade value with a 30-point performance Saturday night, but he wanted to avoid discussing a potential deal after the game, writes Ava Wallace of The Washington Post. “No comment,” Hachimura told reporters when they asked if he has requested a trade, although he indicated that he’s looking for a comfortable situation, whether that’s in Washington or somewhere else.

“I just want to be somewhere that wants me as a basketball player,” Hachimura said. “And I want to be somewhere that loves my — likes my game, you know? … I just want to be somewhere that trusts, believes in me. Just I can be myself — that’s my goal.”

Wallace confirms a report from The Athletic this week that the Wizards have discussed a potential Hachimura trade with several teams. The 24-year-old became an instant starter after being selected with the ninth pick in the 2019 draft, but injuries and other roadblocks have limited his effectiveness since then. The team didn’t reach a rookie scale extension with Hachimura before the October deadline, so he’s headed for free agency this summer.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Kristaps Porzingis left Saturday’s game with a sprained ankle in the third quarter, but the Wizards are optimistic about his prognosis, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “Sprained ankle. He’ll be evaluated tomorrow,” coach Wes Unseld Jr. said after the game. “We’ll see where it is. I don’t think it’s too bad, but fingers crossed.” Porzingis has experienced frequent health issues throughout his career, but he’s been relatively injury-free this season, appearing in 41 of the team’s 46 games.
  • Hornets guard LaMelo Ball is quickly recovering from a sprained ankle he suffered Wednesday, but a right wrist problem may be a bigger concern, per Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Ball banged his wrist during the same game, which raises concerns because he had surgery on his right hand as a rookie. “The wrist had been not hurting, but ever since I broke it, it’s been the same little one (thing),” Ball said. “In Houston, I was fine with it until I hit it again … So, yeah once I get over that little hump I think I’ll be smooth.”
  • Max Strus‘ flexibility has been valuable for the Heat in an injury-filled season, notes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The impending free agent has played 24 games as a starter and 21 off the bench and has seen time at every position except center.

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Kuzma, M. Williams, Dedmon, Strus

The Wizards need to figure out what Kyle Kuzma‘s intentions are ahead of the February 9 trade deadline, writes David Aldridge of The Athletic. If the 27-year-old doesn’t commit to re-signing with the Wizards in advance — technically forbidden, but of course early discussions happen all the time and that’s why dozens of signings occur within minutes of free agency “opening” — then the team would be better off dealing him for assets, according to Aldridge.

Aldridge isn’t opposed to the idea of a swap for John Collins — he thinks Kuzma is a better overall player, but the difference isn’t “prohibitive.” However, the Wizards have more questions to answer about the roster than just Kuzma’s potential future with the team, including what an expensive trio of Kuzma, Kristaps Porzingis and Bradley Beal might mean for the future.

After dropping 10 in a row, the Wizards have now won five of their past six games, including four straight. They currently sit at 16-21, one game behind the Bulls for the No. 10 seed in the East.

Here’s more from the Southeast:

  • Mark Williams‘ emergence has created a “welcomed dilemma” for the Hornets, according to Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. The rookie first-rounder, selected 15th overall in June’s draft, was given backup center minutes in recent games due to an ankle sprain to Nick Richards. With Richards available on Thursday, head coach Steve Clifford continued to use Williams, and he responded with a career night, Boone notes, recording 17 points (on 7-of-7 shooting), 13 rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks in just 21 minutes. “To me, they’re both developing players,” Clifford said of Richards and Williams. “When you have a roster of a lot of younger players, you do them both. You want to try to develop them and win as many games as we can. And we’re in a place where we need to win. But we’ve got to see. Yeah, it’s not easy. We have a lot of guys at that position. Nick’s going to be a part of things. I like the way he plays. He’s done a good job. But I also want to see what Mark can bring.”
  • Heat backup center Dewayne Dedmon is away from the team as he continues to be plagued by plantar fasciitis in his left foot. On top of that, he has now entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, per Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. The 33-year-old might be a trade chip ahead of the deadline if the Heat look for a roster upgrade — his salary for next season is non-guaranteed, and he’s making $4.7MM this season.
  • Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports details how wing Max Strus went from an undrafted free agent to a rotation regular for the Heat, becoming a developmental success story in the process. Strus, an unrestricted free agent in 2023, has been in a prolonged shooting slump this month, posting a miserable .328/.266/.500 slash line leading up to Friday night’s loss in Denver, when he scored 19 points on .539/.500/1.000 shooting. Twenty-year veteran Udonis Haslem, another former undrafted player, says Strus can be hard on himself — a byproduct of having a chip on his shoulder due to his difficult path to the NBA. “My message to Max, a lot of the time, outside of leading and teaching, is don’t be so hard on yourself sometimes. It’s OK to give yourself a break,” Haslem said.

Eastern Notes: VanVleet, Strus, Vincent, Nets

Fred VanVleet has played more off the ball this season and the Raptors guard admits it hasn’t been an easy adjustment, William Lou of Sportsnet tweets. “I’m always willing to do what’s best for the team and it’s something we’ve been trying,” he said. “There’s games where I dominate the ball and we need that, but for the most part I’m in a completely different role than last year.” VanVleet is shooting a career-low 33.5% on 3-point attempts this season. He left Tuesday’s game early with lower back stiffness, Marc Spears of ESPN tweets.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Max Strus made half of his 10 three-point attempts for the Heat on Monday, a sign he may be breaking out of a shooting slump, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. It was the first time Strus made more than three 3-pointers in a game since Nov. 30. Strus, an unrestricted free agent after this season, shot 24.7% from deep in 11 games prior to Monday’s breakout.
  • Guard Gabe Vincent scored 11 points in 18 minutes on Monday after missing eight consecutive Heat games with tendinosis in his right knee. “It’s hard to not be present,” he told Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “But it’s hard to see something that you can help and not being able to help. I think that applies to every aspect of life, when you feel like you can help a situation but you’re not able to. It’s difficult.” Vincent is also headed to unrestricted free agency after the season.
  • Putting controversies aside and just focusing on the game has keyed the Nets’ nine-game winning streak, Nick Friedell of ESPN writes. “The most important part of today is we’re trying to win this ballgame,” coach Jacque Vaughn said. “When we step into the gym every single day it’s about basketball. How we’re going to take care of each other on the floor, cover for each other on the floor, it’s about basketball.”

Heat Notes: Rotation, Dedmon, Butler, Injuries, Herro

The Heat have been unable to play their full roster this season due to injuries. What could happen if the Heat get at or near full strength?

Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel explores that question. Gabe Vincent, who has seen some playing time as the backup point guard, could be pushed further down the bench. Coach Erik Spoelstra would have to choose between Max Strus and Duncan Robinson as the backup wing and Haywood Highsmith could also be on the rotation bubble.

The Heat could look to deal backup center Dewayne Dedmon and his expiring contract, along with another player, for some immediate help. In that scenario, Orlando Robinson could be a stopgap as the main reserve until Omer Yurtseven is able to return from ankle surgery.

We have more on the Heat:

  • Speaking of absences, Jimmy Butler was scratched from the team’s game against Chicago on Tuesday due to a gastrointestinal illness, the team tweets. It was the 12th game that Butler missed this season.
  • A trio of other players — Kyle Lowry (left knee soreness), Caleb Martin (left ankle sprain) and Vincent (left knee effusion) — were also sidelined. Two-way player Jamal Cain was recalled from the G League to provide depth.
  • Entering the team’s road trip, Tyler Herro was averaging 15.6 points in the nine wins in which he played and 24.2 points in the 10 losses he played. Herro then averaged a team-high 26.3 points during the Heat’s 4-0 road swing. He debunks the notion that the team tends to do better when he scores less, according to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. “I think it’s a pointless stat. Because the games we’ve won, I’ve shot the same amount of shots and I just ended up missing them,” he said. “So when shots go in, I’ll have above 20. If I miss, I have below 20. It’s make or miss at the end of the day and I don’t think that stat is credible.”

Eastern Notes: Horford, Young, Heat, Duarte, Brown

Celtics veteran big man Al Horford will rejoin the team on Friday, Jared Weiss of The Athletic tweets. Horford has been away from the C’s for personal reasons following a stint in the league’s health and safety protocols. Horford, who signed a two-year extension at the beginning of the month, hasn’t played since Dec. 4.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Hawks star guard Trae Young has been fined $25K for throwing the game ball into the spectator stands, Adam Zagoria of tweets. The incident occurred at the end of the Hawks’ 123-122 overtime win over the Bulls on Sunday. Young was inactive against Memphis on Monday.
  • The struggles of Max Strus, Gabe Vincent and Duncan Robinson have taken some of the shine off the Heat’s vaunted development program but all is not lost, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. Caleb Martin has developed from a two-way prospect to a steady rotation player and the development program has other potential success stories in Omer Yurtseven, Nikola Jovic and Jamal Cain.
  • Pacers wing Chris Duarte joined the G League’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants for practice on Monday and he’ll play for Fort Wayne against the Wisconsin Herd on Wednesday and Friday, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files tweets. Duarte is working his way back from a Grade 2 ankle sprain suffered in early November.
  • Pacers rookie forward Kendall Brown is out indefinitely with a stress reaction in his right tibia, according to Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star. Brown will be reevaluated by the team in two weeks. Brown, a second-round pick, is one of the team’s two-way players. He’s appeared in six games with the Pacers.

Heat Notes: Butler, Martin, Jovic, Lowry, Highsmith

Friday marks Jimmy Butler‘s fifth consecutive absence due to right knee soreness, and he’s likely out Sunday at Atlanta as well. However, the expectation is that the 33-year-old forward will return for Wednesday’s game at Boston, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (free account required).

In addition to Butler, Duncan Robinson (left ankle sprain) and Max Strus (right shoulder impingement) continue to deal with their own injuries, Winderman notes. Robinson has now missed three straight, while Friday is Strus’ second straight missed game.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • After signing a three-year, $20.4MM to remain with Miami in the offseason, forward Caleb Martin continues to make progress as a player, Winderman writes for The Sun Sentinel. “Caleb has grown and changed from what he was previously, before,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I still think he’s going to have a game where he’ll be flirting with some triple-doubles, just the way he’s getting into dribble handoffs, the way he can get shooters open shots. There’s going to be one of those nights where he’s just going to fall into all of those being makes, and you’ll look up and he’s going to have eight assists with eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter. I told him the big thing is can he get 10 rebounds. I know he can get the points and assists. He has a knack for the ball, so he’s going to be able to get that as well.” The 27-year-old has hit his stride over the last six games (39.5 minutes), averaging 15.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.2 blocks on .515/.452/.800 shooting.
  • Rookie Nikola Jovic has flashed intriguing potential as an injury-replacement starter, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald (subscriber link). The 19-year-old forward has a lot of work to do defensively, but the Heat are pleased with how he’s developing early on in 2022/23. “He has really good offensive instincts not only as a passer but as a screener, how to get into open spaces, how to execute different things and then his passing and his vision,” Spoelstra said. “As soon as he got here, that was probably his No. 1 strength — his ability to make other guys better. And he’s not afraid of the moment. So he’s comfortable out there, he’s earning the respect of everybody in the locker room and he’s earning his stripes right now.”
  • Miami continues to be ravaged by injuries, which is the primary reason the team has lost four of its last five games, but Kyle Lowry has been playing some of his best basketball in a Heat uniform, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Haywood Highsmith‘s defense and Martin’s all-around game have also been positives with Miami severely shorthanded, Jackson observes. The Heat are currently 8-11, the No. 12 seed in the East.

Injury Updates: Tatum, Herro, Barnes, Langford, More

The Celtics will have star forward Jayson Tatum on the court for tonight’s showdown with the Mavericks, according to Souichi Terada of MassLive.

Tatum was listed as questionable after hurting his left ankle in Monday’s game at Chicago, but coach Joe Mazzulla told reporters that he’ll be able to play without any limitations. Tatum appeared to be moving normally during shootaround, Terada observes.

Tatum is among the early favorites in the MVP race, averaging 30.2 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists while playing 37.2 minutes per game, the most in his career. He has led Boston to the best start in the league at 13-4.

There’s more injury-related news to pass along:

  • Tyler Herro will return for the Heat tonight after missing eight games with a sprained left ankle, the team announced (via Twitter). Max Strus was downgraded to out due to a shoulder injury, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald (Twitter link).
  • Raptors forward Scottie Barnes will miss tonight’s game with a sprained left knee, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports. Fred VanVleet is sidelined with an illness, so Toronto is down to 10 available players.
  • Spurs guard Romeo Langford has been cleared to return tonight after missing five games while in the health and safety protocols. Josh Richardson will miss the game after suffering a sprained ankle in Tuesday’s practice (Twitter link), and Zach Collins has been downgraded from probable to out as he recovers from a non-displaced fracture of his fibula (Twitter link). Coach Gregg Popovich sounded optimistic when asked if Collins is close to returning. “Yes, I guess is the answer,” he replied. “He’s just not ready yet. We thought he might be, but he’s not.” Popovich also refused to provide any details about the illness that forced him to miss Sunday’s game, telling reporters, “I’m fine,” Orsborn tweets.
  • Dean Wade, who missed the past six games with knee soreness, will come off the Cavaliers‘ bench tonight and will be on a minutes restriction, according to Chris Fedor of (Twitter link).
  • Nets forward Yuta Watanabe will be sidelined through at least Friday with a hamstring issue, tweets Nick Friedell of ESPN. An MRI taken Tuesday night confirmed the injury (Twitter link), but Watanabe doesn’t seem concerned. “It’s not that serious,” he said. “… It’s day to day. We’ll see how long it takes.” (Twitter link)
  • Mavericks coach Jason Kidd is optimistic that Maxi Kleber, who’s dealing with a lower back contusion, will be available Saturday or Sunday, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.

Begley’s Latest: Strus, Crowder, Hornets, Quickley, Grimes

The Heat have repeatedly been cited as a potential suitor for Suns forward Jae Crowder, and Ian Begley of confirms that Miami has touched base with Phoenix about a possible deal. Begley hears from sources that some people in the Suns’ organization view Max Strus as a player who would have to be part of any Heat package for Crowder.

Like Crowder, Strus is on an expiring contract and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. However, as Begley notes, the Heat would likely to be averse to moving the young swingman, who is on a minimum-salary contract and has established himself as an important piece of Miami’s rotation, averaging a career-high 14.2 PPG on .447/.359/.786 shooting in his first 12 games (32.2 MPG) this season.

Here’s more from Begley:

  • Gabe Plotkin and Daniel Sundheim, who own a minority stake in the Hornets, are open to selling a “sizable portion” of their share, Begley reports in the same story. Michael Jordan‘s stake in the Hornets would not be affected if the team’s minority shareholders were to sell most or all of their portion of the franchise.
  • The Knicks have received some early-season inquiries about potential trades involving guard Immanuel Quickley, sources tell Begley. While New York would probably be reluctant to move Quickley, rival teams look at a crowded Knicks rotation and believe the club will consider trading at least one young player before this season’s deadline, Begley explains.
  • Knicks wing Quentin Grimes, who has played just 32 total minutes in four games this season, continues to be viewed by head coach Tom Thibodeau as a “situational” player for the time being, according to Begley (Twitter links). “He’s missed a lot of time,” Thibodeau said. “So the conditioning part of that is part of that equation. As he gets opportunities, he’ll play more and more.”