Miami Heat

Heat Notes: Riley, Dragic, Trade Deadline, Waiters

The Heat’s recent hot streak hasn’t changed the fact that this will be a crucial summer for the organization, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Miami won 14 of its last 16 games before the All-Star break to climb back into the Eastern Conference playoff race. But Winderman says team president Pat Riley will have bigger issues than the postseason to consider when he decides what moves to make before Thursday’s trade deadline. The Heat will probably enter the offseason with Chris Bosh‘s salary-cap space reclaimed and with the knowledge that Tyler Johnson‘s cap hit will balloon from $5.9MM next season to $19.2MM in 2018/19. That creates a sense of urgency for a big move this summer. Miami will also have its draft pick this season, although the team appears out of the running for a top choice, but two of the next four Heat first-rounders belong to the Suns from the Goran Dragic trade.

There’s more this morning out of Miami:

  • Dragic, who once seemed a likely trade candidate because of his contract and the Heat’s poor record, has become indispensable as a team leader, Winderman writes in a separate piece. With Miami contending for a playoff spot, Dragic’s salary of more than $54MM over the next three seasons doesn’t seem nearly as oppressive. “Winning means something to him,” said coach Erik Spoelstra. “And that’s where you start with leadership, is bringing other people with you to make winning that important. And it’s uncomfortable for the majority of leaders, to take that first step. And that’s where he’s been very open to his growth.”
  • The Heat are focused on making the playoffs and are more likely to be buyers than sellers as the deadline approaches, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders.
  • Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald asked two Eastern Conference scouts to rate Miami’s roster. They believe Dion Waiters will get offers of $10MM to $12MM per year when he hits free agency this summer, James Johnson is better than anyone believed and will probably get at least $10MM per year as a free agent and Tyler Johnson’s production is warranting the four-year, $50MM offer that the Heat matched last summer.

Georges-Hunt’s 10-Day Deal With Heat Expires

The 10-day contract that Marcus Georges-Hunt signed with the Heat expires today and the team currently doesn’t have a roster spot to keep him, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel.

The 6-5 shooting guard signed with Miami on February 8th after the Heat were granted a hardship exception. The league approved the exception because Miami had four players — Chris Bosh, Justise Winslow, Josh McRoberts and Josh Richardson — sidelined by long-term injuries. However, Richardson is expected to return after the All-Star break, so the team no longer qualifies for an extra roster spot.

The exception could be granted again if another player suffers an injury that will keep him out at least two weeks. The Heat could also open a roster spot via trade before Thursday’s deadline or by waiving Bosh, who hasn’t played all season because of ongoing problems with blood clots. Bosh has been out of action for more than a year, so Miami can seek a medical retirement at any time, but the Heat are expected to wait until after March 1st so Bosh won’t be eligible for the playoffs with another organization.

Georges-Hunt didn’t see any court time during his 10 days with Miami. He was sent to the Heat’s affiliate in Sioux Falls on Thursday so he would be eligible for today’s D-League All-Star Game, where he had eight points and four assists.

Hunt went undrafted in 2016 after four years at Georgia Tech. He signed with the Celtics in August, but was waived before the start of the season.

Recent Success Shouldn't Deter Heat From Long-Term Plan

Pat Riley has to do more than just appease paying customers, writes Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel, the team president needs to steward the future of the Heat franchise. That means, despite the 13-game win streak that has suddenly put Miami within striking distance of the playoffs, the club would be wise to approach the February 23 trade deadline with caution.

This summer will be a pivotal one for the Heat, Winderman writes, citing things like Chris Bosh‘s contract situation and the fact that the club has already traded two of the club’s next four first-rounders as reasons why they ought to be smart about how they structure the team heading forward. The draft matters now more than ever, he adds, suggesting that hasty moves to load up on short-term assets this week would only hurt their 2017 draft position.

Winderman notes that the camaraderie in the Heat locker room is similar to that of the upstart 2004/05 Heat team anchored by a rookie Dwyane Wade, Lamar Odom and Caron Butler. That team started slow but rallied to become a playoff team. Tellingly, it wasn’t long after the turnaround when Riley opted to cash in his chips in the blockbuster deal that netted Shaquille O’Neal.

  • It wasn’t long ago when Heat forwards Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson appeared to be reasonably untouchable, writes Ira Winderman in a separate piece for the Sun Sentinel, but Miami’s recent improvement may have altered that. Now that the club isn’t in position to land a Top 3 pick, Winderman says, the club might consider holding onto Goran Dragic more than anybody else.

Southeast Notes: Battier, Beal, Ibaka, Ross, Mahinmi

Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel wondered if Shane Battier, recently hired as the Heat‘s Director of Basketball Development and Analytics, will eventually assume leadership of the franchise from Pat Riley. For the interim, Winderman writes, Battier’s position will be the “first step” toward a post-Riley front office. Battier will work alongside Andy Elisburg and Nick Arison, executives with an advanced “business-of-basketball” acumen. While there is no reason to believe Riley is ready to step away from the game, Winderman could see Riley moving into a role similar to Jerry West’s with the Lakers; an executive board member who isn’t accountable for mundane, day-to-day front office operations.

More from around the Southeast…

  • Jared Dudley of the Suns stuck up for his former teammate, claiming Bradley Beal was snubbed of an All-Star roster spot. “The @NBA tells us players that winning matters! Wizards are the hottest team in the NBA! Bradley Beal is healthy and balling!”, Dudley tweeted on Thursday. (Twitter link) Keely Diven of CSN Mid-Atlantic argued that Carmelo Anthony received the All-Star nod due to his ability to attract media attention. Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today gave further insight to ‘Melo’s selection, noting that Anthony received more votes from coaches than Beal.
  • Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders described it as “a little obvious” that Serge Ibaka did not bond with his teammates in Orlando. Ibaka, who was dealt to Toronto on February 14, didn’t mesh with the playing styles of Orlando’s younger players (Twitter link). By Kyler’s account, it seems that Ibaka’s teammates “had real issues” with the 27-year-old, and welcomed a change.
  • Terrence Ross told Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders that he embraced the “fresh start” in Orlando. “I was kind of aware that something could have been happening before the deadline so it wasn’t too shocking,” Ross said. “At the same time, being drafted to a team and playing for one team, it’s a little different, but I’m enjoying the process. It’s a good opportunity. It’s a new fresh start for me and I’m looking forward to it. I just kind of hope we can bring some of that experience I got in Toronto and bring it here, and really just helping wherever I can.” Ross, who has averaged 10.4 points through 54 games in 2016/17, is in the first season of a three-year, $31.5MM contract.
  • Jason Smith will likely see a dip in minutes as the Wizards ease Ian Mahinmi into the lineup, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post writes. Smith, who has averaged 7.8 points with 4.8 rebounds over his last six games, has been a serviceable back-up to starter Marcin Gortat“What he’s [Smith] done the last two or three months is what he’s done his entire career and he’s been terrific,” said Coach Scott Brooks. “But if you have a good team, everybody’s going to have to sacrifice. It’s not just Jason, starters are going to have to sacrifice.”

NBA D-League Recalls/Assignments: 2/16/17

  • The Heat assigned power forward Okaro White and small forward Marcus Georges-Hunt to Sioux Falls, Chris Reichert of The Step Back tweets.  This  will make both eligible for the D-League All-Star game, Reichert adds. White has appeared in 14 games with the Heat, averaging 4.2 PPG and 2.5 RPG while impressing enough during 10-day contracts to earn a two-year deal. Georges-Hunt signed a 10-day contract on February 8th after spending most of the season with the D-League’s Maine Red Claws, where he averaged 16.4 PPG.

Heat Hire Shane Battier To Front Office Role

The Heat have hired Shane Battier as their Director of Basketball Development & Analytics, according to a team press release.

“We believe Shane is an incredible example of our Heat program, not only for the present, but also for the future,” team president Pat Riley said. “He embodies everything that we are looking for in our players and staff. We feel he will help us tremendously with his experience and knowledge of the game. Shane is an out-of-the-box thinker and will bring a fresh expertise that can help us evolve as a franchise.”

Battier, who played three seasons in Miami, will be involved with the development of analytics in evaluating talent and that will include college prospects, free agents, and current players, according to the team.

“I am thrilled to be joining the front office of the Miami Heat,” said Battier. “I look forward to working with the Arison family, learning from a Hall of Fame executive in Pat Riley, General Manager Andy Elisburg and of course my old coach, Erik Spoelstra. My goal, as is the entire organizations, is to bring another championship back to Miami.”

Trade Deadline Outlook: Southeast Division

In the days leading up to the February 23 trade deadline, Hoops Rumors will be taking a closer look at each of the NBA’s 30 teams, by division. We’ll be identifying each team as a buyer, seller, or something in between, and discussing which teams and players are most likely to be involved in deals this month. We’ve already covered the Atlantic and Northwest. Today, we’re examining the Southeast.

Buyers:

The Wizards (33-21) have been one of the NBA’s best teams since the first 10 games of the 2016/17 season, but their roster probably isn’t quite deep or talented enough to match up to a healthy Cavaliers squad in the playoffs. Washington doesn’t exactly have a huge collection of promising young players to dangle in trade talks, but the team does have all of its future first-round picks, and could use at least one of them to strengthen its rotation. A deal similar to last year’s Markieff Morris acquisition wouldn’t move the needle enough to make the Wizards conference favorites, but it would make the club a little more dangerous in the postseason without mortgaging much of its future.

The Southeast’s second-place team, the Hawks (32-24), looked like sellers a month ago, but the team is prepared to buy now, and has several future draft picks and expiring contracts to dangle in trade discussions. As some observers have pointed out, Atlanta actually looks like a good fit for Carmelo Anthony, matching up better as a trade partner for the Knicks than most of Carmelo’s preferred destinations. Anthony’s no-trade clause makes a move to the Hawks extremely unlikely though, so the team will have to look elsewhere for scoring help on the wing or in the backcourt.

Read more

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 2/15/17

After a quiet Tuesday in terms of D-League moves, we have a few assignments and recalls to pass along for Wednesday. Here’s the latest:

10:15pm:

  • The Raptors have recalled Bruno Caboclo from Raptors 905, the team announced in a tweet. The third-year forward has played just eight NBA games this season.
  • The Grizzlies have recalled guard Wade Baldwin, center Deyonta Davis and forward Jarell Martin from their affiliate in Iowa.
  • The Heat are sending Okaro White to their Sioux Falls affiliate so he will be eligible for the D-League All-Star Game, tweets Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel.

1:31pm:

  • The Pelicans have recalled rookie forward Cheick Diallo from the D-League, the team announced today in a press release. Diallo had been playing for Charlotte’s D-League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm, since New Orleans doesn’t have an affiliate of its own. He averaged 17. 0 PPG and 11.3 RPG in six games with the Swarm.
  • Rookies Chinanu Onuaku and Kyle Wiltjer have been recalled from the D-League by the Rockets, according to the team (Twitter link). The duo helped lead the Rio Grande Valley Vipers to a dramatic win on Tuesday, totaling 55 points and 16 rebounds between them.
  • The Pacers have recalled Rakeem Christmas from the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the team announced today in a press release. The D-League’s All-Star break is now underway, which is why Christmas and others are being recalled to their NBA teams today.

Florida Notes: Ibaka, Ross, Wade, Riley

The Magic are viewing last summer’s trade for Serge Ibaka as a “calculated risk” that didn’t work out, relays Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. To obtain the veteran power forward, Orlando sent Victor Oladipo and Ersan Ilyasova to Oklahoma City, along with the 11th pick in the 2016 draft, which became Domantas Sabonis. Less than a year later, the Magic shipped Ibaka to the Raptors in exchange for Terrence Ross and a pick that will fall toward the end of the first round. Ibaka played 56 games for the Magic, averaging 15.1 points and 6.8 rebounds per night, but the team was just 21-36 with him on the roster.

“I think if you go back in time, you look at what was needed for us in the frontcourt and some of the voids we thought we had on the roster,” explained GM Rob Hennigan. “Then, you balance that with the logjam we had at the two guard at the time with Evan [Fournier] and Victor, we felt like it made sense. Sometimes you have to take a few shots down the field. Sometimes it pans out; sometimes it won’t. I applaud our aggressiveness. I think given the same situation, circumstantially, we would make the same trade. Sometimes, things don’t work out as you plan. I think it’s important to be proactive in trying to rectify that too.”

There’s more NBA news from the Sunshine State:

  • Ross was inactive for tonight’s game, according to a tweet from the Magic. The team wasn’t notified before game time that both players passed their physicals and the deal was finalized, according to Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link).
  • The Heat had been tied to Ibaka in trade rumors, but weren’t interested in trying to top Toronto’s offer, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. They were reluctant to give up much for a player who will be a free agent after the season and who may be older than his listed age of 27. Also, Miami wasn’t able to offer a first-round pick this year because its 2018 first-rounder may be shipped to Phoenix. Winderman notes that Tyler Johnson can block any trade until July and that most of the roster wouldn’t have enticed the Magic. The writer believes Josh Richardson would have been Miami’s best offer.
  • A call from Heat president Pat Riley might have convinced Dwyane Wade to stay in Miami, the Bulls star says in a podcast with Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Wade opted to sign with Chicago last summer after negotiations with the Heat stalled. “I love Pat and I know he loves me,” Wade said. “The fact that we didn’t talk, that hurt. That was my deciding factor when it came down to the end of the day and he didn’t show he wanted me there. I know the Arison family loved me and wanted me there. I know Spo [coach Erik Spoelstra] wanted me there.”

Knicks, Lakers Top Forbes’ NBA Franchise Valuations

The Knicks have been one of the NBA’s most dysfunctional teams this season. On the court, the team has gone just 23-33, with $72MM man Joakim Noah failing to make a significant impact, and Jeff Hornacek and Phil Jackson not always on the same page when it came to the use of the triangle. Off the court, things have been even worse, with Jackson criticizing star forward Carmelo Anthony, and owner James Dolan at odds with former Knicks star Charles Oakley.

On the west coast, the Lakers haven’t been much better, racking up a 19-38 record, good for the No. 14 seed in the West. The team hasn’t made as many off-court headlines, but the structure of the front office is currently up in the air, with new advisor Magic Johnson publicly declaring that he wants to be the one calling the shots on roster decisions.

Despite the problems in New York and Los Angeles, the Knicks and Lakers remain the NBA’s two most valuable franchises, according to a report from Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes. The Knicks and Lakers are the only teams valued at more than $3 billion by Forbes.

Team valuations are up around the league, with the Warriors leading the way among this year’s increases — according to Forbes, the Dubs are 37% more valuable that they were at this time in 2016. In total, 18 teams have a valuation exceeding $1 billion, which is up from 13 teams last year and just three teams in 2015. The average NBA franchise is now worth $1.36 billion, according to the report.

Here’s the full list of NBA franchise valuations, per Forbes:

  1. New York Knicks: $3.3 billion
  2. Los Angeles Lakers: $3 billion
  3. Golden State Warriors: $2.6 billion
  4. Chicago Bulls: $2.5 billion
  5. Boston Celtics: $2.2 billion
  6. Los Angeles Clippers; $2 billion
  7. Brooklyn Nets: $1.8 billion
  8. Houston Rockets: $1.65 billion
  9. Dallas Mavericks: $1.45 billion
  10. Miami Heat: $1.35 billion
  11. Cleveland Cavaliers: $1.2 billion
  12. San Antonio Spurs: $1.175 billion
  13. Toronto Raptors: $1.125 billion
  14. Phoenix Suns: $1.1 billion
  15. Sacramento Kings: $1.075 billion
  16. Portland Trail Blazers: $1.05 billion
  17. Oklahoma City Thunder: $1.025 billion
  18. Washington Wizards: $1 billion
  19. Orlando Magic: $920MM
  20. Utah Jazz: $910MM
  21. Detroit Pistons: $900MM
  22. Denver Nuggets: $890MM
  23. Atlanta Hawks: $885MM
  24. Indiana Pacers: $880MM
  25. Philadelphia 76ers: $800MM
  26. Memphis Grizzlies: $790MM
  27. Milwaukee Bucks: $785MM
  28. Charlotte Hornets: $780MM
  29. Minnesota Timberwolves: $770MM
  30. New Orleans Pelicans: $750MM

For comparison’s sake, Forbes’ 2016 valuations can be found right here.

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