Heat Rumors

Latest On Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler wants to sign a five-year maximum deal with a new team next year, which is why he wants out of Minnesota this season, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Butler, who is expected to opt out of his current contract next summer, is limited to four years and about $140MM if he changes teams in free agency. However, his Bird rights will transfer in any trade, so if a team deals for him, it can make a five-year offer in the neighborhood of $190MM.

Butler was hoping for a larger extension offer from the Wolves than the four-year, $100MM+ deal he turned down in July, Charania adds. However, Minnesota was prohibited by CBA rules from offering more than that amount this offseason.

Executives from other teams believe a Butler trade will happen at some point this season, but it’s not clear where he will go or when it might happen. Butler identified the Knicks, Nets and Clippers as his preferred locations when making his trade request, but the Wolves are under no obligation to grant his wishes. Another report tonight identified the Clippers as the early front-runner.

Brooklyn and L.A. seem motivated to try to land Butler, Charania adds, while New York is reluctant to part with draft picks and young players. The Celtics have the assets to make a play for Butler, but don’t need him with Gordon Hayward‘s return from ankle surgery. Charania suggests the Sixers may also check into Butler’s price tag.

There’s more to pass along as teams line up for a shot at Butler:

  • Butler didn’t put the Lakers on his list, reportedly because he isn’t interested in a complementary role to LeBron James, but even if he wanted to go there the team would have difficulty putting together an offer for the next three months, according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. L.A.’s roster is filled with newly signed free agents who aren’t eligible to be traded until December 15. The team would need to send out at least $16MM to match salaries and has a limited pool of players to pick from. Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram would give them a combined $13.2MM, but the Lakers aren’t likely to part with two young stars when they can offer a max deal next summer. They could have kept Luol Deng for salary matching purposes, but Pincus states that Butler was never a priority for the organization.
  • The Nets have young talent, a couple of large expiring contracts and their first-round pick for the first time since 2013, notes Michael Scotto of The Athletic. Caris LeVert is considered a core piece of the organization, but Brooklyn may be willing to part with the versatile guard for a player like Butler. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is coming off his best NBA season, but will be eligible for restricted free agency next summer. Impending free agents Kenneth Faried ($13.76 million) and DeMarre Carroll ($15.4 million) could both be useful to match salaries.
  • The Heat would love to acquire Butler, but may not have the assets to make a deal work, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson and Hassan Whiteside could all be traded one-for-one for Butler, adds Anthony Chiang of The Herald, but he states that Minnesota will be looking for younger talent such as Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow and Bam Adebayo.
  • Oddsmaker Bovada lists the Timberwolves as 3/2 favorites to still have Butler when the season starts, relays Sean Highkin of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). The Sixers are next in line at 11/4, followed by the Knicks at 15/4, the Lakers at 5/1 and the Nets and Celtics each at 15/2.

Latest On Jimmy Butler

With training camps around the corner, the NBA rumor mill has sprung back into action today, as word broke that four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler is seeking a trade out of Minnesota. Butler even has a few specific destinations in mind, having reportedly told the Timberwolves that he’d have interest in being dealt to the Nets, Knicks, or Clippers.

In his full report on the Butler situation, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski provides several more tidbits on the All-NBA wing, so let’s dive in and round up the highlights…

  • Butler’s list of preferred landing spots could expand based upon the willingness of the Timberwolves and rival teams to negotiate a deal, league sources tell Wojnarowski.
  • For now, Tom Thibodeau and the Timberwolves have little interest in dealing Butler, preferring to keep him and attempt to make a deeper playoff run in 2018/19, says Wojnarowski. Thibodeau’s “tenuous” status with team owner Glen Taylor may play a part in that stance, according to Woj, who notes that it would be tough for Minnesota not to take a step backward in the short term by trading Butler.
  • Butler is into the idea of playing a central role for a big-market club, per Wojnarowski. The Lakers are a less appealing option now that LeBron James is on the roster, since Butler would be playing second fiddle there.
  • The Clippers, Nets, and Knicks have varying levels of interest in Butler, each “prioritizing him in different ways,” writes Wojnarowski. All three teams will have substantial cap room next summer, so acquiring Butler (who will have a $30MM+ cap hold) could hinder their ability to pursue other stars.
  • According to Wojnarowski, the Heat are another team with interest in Butler. Going after him in free agency likely won’t be an option for Miami, since the club doesn’t project to have cap space in 2019.
  • While initial reports suggested that there were teams with whom Butler would be willing to sign an extension, Wojnarowski clarifies that the former Bull wants to be sent to a team that would plan on re-signing him to a five-year max contract as a free agent in 2019. Such a deal is currently projected to be worth nearly $190MM — it remains to be seen if any team would make such a huge investment in a player who will be 30 years old when he reaches free agency.

Dion Waiters Unlikely To Be Healthy To Start Season

After missing much of the 2017/18 season with an ankle injury, Dion Waiters won’t be available for the start of training camp and likely won’t be ready to play on opening night, Heat president Pat Riley said today (Twitter link via Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel).

“Dion will not be returning to the court until the Heat medical team and training staff deem him healed, rehabbed and physically conditioned for all basketball activities,” Riley added (Twitter link via Winderman).

While there’s no indication that Waiters’ absence will extend well into the 2018/19 season, this is still bad news for the Heat, who re-signed the veteran guard to a lucrative four-year contract last summer despite being aware of his potential ankle issues (Twitter link via Winderman). The 26-year-old was limited to just 30 games in the first season of that four-year deal, and now seemingly won’t be available to start the second year.

Despite Waiters’ absence, the Heat will have no shortage of options at the shooting guard spot. Newly re-signed veteran Dwyane Wade will rejoin a deep group of twos that also could include Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson, Wayne Ellington, Rodney McGruder, and Derrick Jones.

Heat Officially Re-Sign Dwyane Wade

The Heat have officially re-signed Dwyane Wade to a new contract, the team confirmed today in a press release. Word broke over the weekend that Wade had decided to return to Miami for one more season.

“We are very delighted that Dwyane decided to return,” Heat president Pat Riley said in a statement. “I believe that Dwyane can play a big part in us winning, that’s what he is all about. I’m glad he’s back.”

Wade, 36, has spent nearly all of his 15-year NBA career with the Heat since being selected with the fifth overall pick in the 2003 draft. While he had brief stints with the Bulls and Cavaliers in recent years, all of Wade’s best seasons have come in Miami, including his 12 All-Star appearances, eight All-NBA nods, and three NBA championships.

Having rejoined the Heat down the stretch last season, Wade showed he was still capable of contributing to the club, averaging 12.0 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 3.1 APG in 21 regular season contests. He also looked like his old self in Game 2 of the Heat’s first round series against Philadelphia, leading the club to its only playoff victory with 28 points in 26 minutes.

Wade’s new – and likely final – contract with the Heat will be worth the veteran’s minimum ($2,393,887) for one season. Because the deal will only count for about $1.51MM on Miami’s cap, the tax impact will be reasonably modest, increasing the team’s projected tax bill by just shy of $2.6MM.

With Wade officially back in the fold, the Heat have 14 players on fully guaranteed contracts and may leave the 15th spot on their roster open to start the season to avoid further increasing their tax bill.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade was “strongly considering” retirement last week before Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and a few other people were able to convince him to change his mind, according to an Associated Press report.

Wade, 36, held off on announcing a decision all summer before releasing a Twitter video on Sunday in which he revealed his intention to play one more season. There was personal and family business to sort out, Wade explained, as well as negotiations with the team to reach an agreement that was agreeable to both sides. He goes into detail in the video to lay out the lifestyle considerations that influenced his decision.

“Can I physically do it? Can I physically get out of bed every day to do this? Can I deal with every step hurting in the morning? Can I deal with the travel? Can I be away from my family? Is it selfish for me to want to continue to be away from my family?” Wade asked.“These things to you guys may seem small. But to me, they’re real. I feel like my family have put me first for so many years, for good reasons. But there comes a point in time when we’ve all got to think about someone else, especially the ones around you that have supported you, supported your dreams, supported your journey like my family have.”

Wade is the most popular and accomplished player in Heat history, leading the franchise in career points, assists, steals and games played. He spent 13 years in Miami before leaving for Chicago in 2016 because he was unhappy with what the Heat were offering him in free agency. Wade later moved on to Cleveland, then received a hero’s welcome from Heat fans when he was traded back to Miami in February. He became a valuable reserve, averaging 12.0 points per night in 21 games while helping the Heat reach the postseason.

Wade made it clear in his announcement that there won’t be another decision to make next summer. He plans to retire once this season is complete, saying, “I’ve given this game everything that I have, and I’m happy about that, and I’m going to give it for one last season, everything else I have left.”

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

  • Wade opted to accept a $2.4MM veteran’s minimum contract rather than demand any of Miami’s $5.3MM taxpayer mid-level exception. The financial implications of that decision are huge for a team already in luxury tax territory, tweets salary cap expert Albert Nahmad. With tax payments figured in, the total cost of re-signing Wade will be about $4MM. If he had demanded the full MLE, the price would have risen to between $14MM and $17MM. Wade will be the team’s 14th guaranteed contract, raising the total salary to about $130MM. That projects to a $9.7MM tax bill that could rise to $11.7MM or fall to $7.3MM depending on bonuses that the league considers likely [1,700 minutes plus making the playoffs for Kelly Olynyk] and unlikely [70 games played for Dion Waiters].
  • Wade’s return will make it harder for any of the Heat’s younger players to earn a roster spot, Nahmad adds (Twitter link). The 14 players with guaranteed contracts are considered virtual locks to make the club, while the 15th spot could be kept open. Duncan Robinson and Yante Maten enter camp on two-way contracts, but they will get competition to keep those deals from Briante Weber, Marcus Lee, Malik Newman and Jarnell Stokes, who all have Exhibit 10 contracts.
  • Wade wants to continue to have a significant role with the Heat in his final season, but he will be facing a different environment than he did at the end of last season, notes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. The Heat aren’t sure if Waiters will be physically ready when training camp starts next week, but he will return at some point after having ankle surgery last year. That creates a huge logjam at shooting guard, where Josh Richardson, Tyler Johnson, Rodney McGruder, Derrick Jones, Wayne Ellington will compete with Wade and Waiters for playing time.
  • Wade’s return could help put the Heat in contention for Jimmy Butler if the Timberwolves opt to trade him, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel, although he downplays the effect their friendship might have with Wade entering his final season. Winderman suggests an offer of Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow and an unprotected 2019 first-rounder.

Dwyane Wade To Return For Final Season

7:59pm: The Heat have offered Wade the $2.4MM veteran’s minimum and Wade plans to accept it, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald reports.

7:07pm: Veteran guard Dwyane Wade has decided to return for one final season with the Heat. The 36-year-old announced and explained his decision through a video he released on Twitter.

Wade cites a desire to spend more time with his family as one of the driving forces behind the decision.

After starting his career with 13th consecutive seasons in Miami, Wade spent the 2016/17 campaign with his hometown Bulls, followed by a partial season with the Cavaliers and eventually a late season return to the Heat in 2017/18.

Wade averaged 12.0 points in 22.2 minutes per game after returning to the Heat last season and raised those to 16.6 and 25.4, respectively, in Miami’s five 2018 playoff games.

At this point, there’s still no indication what Wade’s final contract with the club will look like although it’s likely to fall within the $2.4MM veteran’s minimum and the $5.3MM taxpayer MLE.

In either scenario, the acquisition will have substantial luxury tax implications.

Heat Notes: Wade, Winslow, Ellington

The Heat should follow the Spurs’ lead in putting together a contract for Dwyane Wade, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. When Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili were nearing the end of their careers, San Antonio gave them deals that were guaranteed for two years, even if they played just one more season.

Winderman suggests Miami should go all in on an effort to re-sign Wade, offering its entire $5.3MM taxpayer mid-level exception as the starting point for a two-year contract. That would give Wade more than $10MM in guaranteed money, which would be tough to turn down and would help compensate him for past years in which he played under his market value.

The downside is the effect the deal would have on the luxury tax. Miami is already about $5MM over the tax threshold without Wade on the roster and faces a similar situation for 2019/20 if Hassan Whiteside [$27MM], Tyler Johnson [$19.2MM] and Goran Dragic [$19.2MM] all opt in to their current contracts. Short of giving Wade all or part of the MLE, the only alternative is a veteran’s minimum deal that would pay him just $2.4MM.

  • If Wade doesn’t continue playing and Dion Waiters isn’t completely healthy when training camp starts, the Heat should contact some of the free agent wings who are still available, Winderman states in a separate column. The ideal situation, he adds, would be someone willing to join the team for camp without a guaranteed contract.
  • The Heat’s collection of large salaries may mean a delay in trying to re-sign Justise Winslow, Winderman states in another column. Winslow is eligible for an extension now, but with seven players already earning more than $10MM per year, Miami may decide to hold off on making an offer and deal with Winslow in free agency next summer.
  • Wayne Ellington didn’t get much interest on the free agent market, but he will serve a valuable role for the Heat once again, writes Shane Rhodes of Basketball Insiders in a season preview on Miami. Ellington, who re-signed with the team for $6.27MM, averaged 11.2 points per game last year and shot 39.2% from 3-point range.

Author Claims LeBron Wanted Riley To Coach In Miami

Early in his first season in Miami, LeBron James sent a message to Heat president Pat Riley that he should take over coaching duties from Erik Spoelstra, author Ian Thomsen claims in a new book. That story is among several contained in “The Soul of Basketball: The Epic Showdown Between LeBron, Kobe, Doc, and Dirk That Saved the NBA,” which Thomsen promoted in a recent appearance on Zach Lowe’s podcast (Hat tip to Dane Delgado of NBC Sports).

Spoelstra was in his third year as head coach when a rift reportedly developed between him and James during a 9-8 start. After a loss to the Mavericks, James dropped a subtle hint to Riley that he wanted him back behind the bench.

“[I] asked how things were progressing,” Riley recalls in the book. “They just said, ‘We’re not feeling it, or something like that.’ We talked about the typical things we have to do, have patience, all that stuff. And I remember LeBron looking at me and he said, ‘Don’t you ever get the itch?’

“And I said, ‘The itch for what?’ He said, ‘The itch to coach again.’ I said, ‘No I don’t have the itch.’

“He didn’t ask any more questions and I didn’t offer any more answers but I know what it meant and I always go back and wonder what he was thinking at that time. He walked out scratching at his leg like it was itching.”

Riley, of course, remained in the front office as Spoelstra led Miami to four straight NBA Finals and a pair of championships. James was involved in a similar scenario after returning to Cleveland, where he reportedly clashed with coach David Blatt, who was eventually replaced by Tyronn Lue.

Waiters May Not Be Ready For Opener

Heat shooting guard Dion Waiters may not be ready for the beginning of the regular season, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Teammate Briante Weber told Jackson that Waiters, who underwent ankle surgery in January, has not participated in any contact work or pickup games with his teammates. With Dwyane Wade continuing to waffle on whether he’ll re-sign with the team, Miami could pursue other free agent options, Jackson adds, with Jamal Crawford, Mario Chalmers and Joe Johnson among a pool of potential targets.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Hawks center Dewayne Dedmon, who suffered an avulsion fracture in his left ankle last week, has shed his walking boot, according to a team press release. He will now participate in weight-bearing rehabilitation and then be re-evaluated in two weeks. Dedmon, who will make $7.2MM this season, will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.
  • The Magic are close to hiring Bill Pope as their director of pro personnel, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. Pope currently holds a similar position with the Kings.
  • Tomas Satoransky will enter camp as the Wizards’ backup point guard but there’s no guarantee he’ll remain in the rotation, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes in a player profile. Satoransky had trouble holding onto that spot last season and newcomer Austin Rivers and Troy Brown Jr. can play the point behind John Wall if needed. There’s also more depth at the wing, reducing the chances of Satoransky seeing action at those positions, Hughes adds.

Dwyane Wade Still Hasn’t Made A Decision On Playing

Dwyane Wade was evasive about his playing future in a public appearance Thursday in Miami to promote a new restaurant, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. He reiterated to reporters that he will definitely remain with the Heat if he continues his career, but he hasn’t made a decision yet.

“I wish I had an answer for you. I don’t have it today,” Wade said. “… A lot goes into it. We’ve kind of talked about it over the course of my career. So you guys can play the tape back and hear the same answers over and over again. But a lot goes into it.”

Wade was a valuable reserve in Miami after the Cavaliers traded him back to his long-time home in February, averaging 12.0 PPG in 21 games. He reportedly wants to feel comfortable with his role on the team before committing to another year, which likely includes an increase in playing time from the 22.2 minutes per game he saw last season.

There’s also the matter of money. The Heat are over the cap, but have a $5.3MM taxpayer mid-level exception still available. If they don’t want to give Wade at least part of that, the best they can offer is the $2.4MM veteran’s minimum.

“You’ve got to call my agent and ask him,” Wade responded when asked what the team is offering. “I haven’t dealt with the money part of it.”

The Heat have been holding a roster spot open for Wade all summer, and they would like an answer soon with training camp opening in a week and a half. However, Wade doesn’t seem to be influenced by any deadlines.

“Whichever day the decision comes, it comes,” he said. “And that’s the right day, whatever date that is.”