Heat Rumors

And-Ones: Offseason, Tampering Rules, FA Signings

In a roundtable discussion, Howard Beck, Chris Mannix, Robin Lundberg, and Rohan Nadkarni discussed the best, worst, most surprising, and most intriguing moves of the 2022 NBA offseason, agreeing on some issues and sharing opposing views on others.

For instance, while Beck and Mannix both view the Rudy Gobert blockbuster as the best roster move of the summer, Beck makes the case that the Jazz‘s side of the deal was the offseason’s top move, while Mannix argues for the Timberwolves‘ side.

Beck, Lundberg, and Nadkarni, meanwhile, all named the Hawks‘ acquisition of Dejounte Murray as the summer’s most intriguing roster move, while Beck and Lundberg agree that Kevin Durant‘s trade request with four years left on his contract was the offseason’s worst move. From a basketball perspective, Durant would be best off staying in Brooklyn and playing for a Nets team that looks capable of contending for a title, Beck writes.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The NBA’s tampering rules aren’t exactly working as intended, but it’s unclear if there’s any obvious way to fix them, writes Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. “The threat of harsher penalties and random audits doesn’t even make teams flinch,” one source told Todd. “And at this point, if we investigated every possible instance of tampering, the whole league would come to a screeching halt and nothing would ever get done.” According to Todd, multiple front office executives that she spoke to expressed support for moving free agency ahead of the draft, among other changes to the current system.
  • David Aldridge of The Athletic wrapped up his series on which teams improved the most and least this offseason by listing his picks from 20 to 11 and from 10 to one. The Sixers were Aldridge’s choice for the team that made the best roster upgrades, followed by the Hawks, Nuggets, Celtics, and Timberwolves.
  • Dan Devine of The Ringer shines a light on seven under-the-radar free agent agreements that he’s intrigued by, including the Heat‘s three-year deal with Caleb Martin, the Timberwolves‘ acquisition of Kyle Anderson, and the Pistons‘ investment in Marvin Bagley III.

Southeast Notes: Oladipo, Durant, Wagner, Maker

Victor Oladipo, who re-signed with the Heat this summer on a two-year deal worth approximately $18MM, has only appeared in 12 regular season games since he was acquired from Houston at the 2021 trade deadline, but he’s ready to return to top form, he told Vince Carter on the VC podcast (hat tip to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald).

He’s calling it his “Revenge Tour.”

“When I say revenge, I’m taking about God’s revenge,” Oladipo said. “They messed up my surgery, I sat back. I tore my quad, I sat back. But now it’s my time to rise, I truly believe that. So that’s the revenge tour. That’s what it’s all about. It’s one day at a time, it’s a constant grind every day. That’s what I’m focused on doing.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Kevin Durant‘s ultimatum to the Nets could be a potential boost for the Heat in trade talks, Chiang speculates. Brooklyn might decide to lower its asking price before having the awkward situation drags into training camp. The Heat have been unwilling to part with center Bam Adebayo or Jimmy Butler in a Durant deal. Adebayo is not currently eligible to be included in a Durant trade unless the Nets also trade Ben Simmons to the Heat or another team due to the Designated Rookie Extension rule. Miami’s current trade package would be highlighted by Tyler Herro.
  • Magic big man Moritz Wagner won’t play for Germany in the World Cup qualifiers or FIBA ​​EuroBasket 2022 due to an ankle injury, according to Eurohoops.net. The severity of the ankle injury wasn’t revealed but Wagner expressed disappointment that he won’t be able to participate. “The fact that my ankle isn’t healed is difficult to accept at first, but it’s part of the game,” he said in a statement released by the German federation. “This team is special and I’m looking forward to watching the boys play and supporting them.”
  • The plan for Makur Maker is to play with the Wizards’ G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go, during the upcoming season,  Ava Wallace of the Washington Post. Maker was signed to an Exhibit 10 contract on Wednesday. The contract will allow Maker to receive a bonus worth up to $50K if he’s waived during the preseason and then spends at least 60 days as an affiliate player.

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Surenkamp, Herro

The Wizards were among the worst three-point shooting clubs in the NBA in 2021/22, ranking dead last in attempts, 26th in makes, and 23rd in conversion rate. Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington examines to what extent the team may have addressed its long-range woes via its summer personnel moves, and how reasonable it is to expect incumbent players to boost their output going forward.

New additions Monte Morris and Will Barton are both solid three-point shooters on volume. Hughes speculates that development from young former lottery selections Rui Hachimura and Deni Avdija could help the Wizards in 2022/23. Second-year small forward Corey Kispert nailed 38.6% of his long-range looks following the All-Star break last season following a slow start. Should that trend continue, the 6’7″ wing could help improve Washington’s collective triple tally.

Hughes notes that star shooting guard Bradley Beal slumped during an injury-plagued season last year, connecting on a career-low 30% of his 5.3 attempts from deep. Across 51 games split between the Mavericks and Wizards, sharpshooting center Kristaps Porzingis also had a career-worst three-point conversion rate of 31%. If either former All-Star can inch closer to his prior three-point level, the team would benefit.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets have a familiar face – Jordan Surenkamp – sticking around for a second season as the head coach for their NBA G League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm, per Rod Boone of the Charlotte Observer. “From an organizational standpoint, I’m very clear understanding the goals that the organization has for Greensboro,” Surenkamp said. “I’ve developed really strong relationships with the front office even going back to my days as video coordinator. So the lines of communication, clarity, all of that is there.”
  • Assuming the Heat are unwilling to part with All-Defensive center Bam Adebayo, 2022 Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro could be the most appealing piece the team considers movable, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. All-Stars Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell, plus big men like Myles Turner, John Collins, Harrison Barnes and Jae Crowder, are still among Miami’s potential trade targets.
  • In case you missed it, JD Shaw discussed the Heat‘s 2022/23 season prospects in a recent Community Shootaround.

Eastern Notes: Lowry, Murray, Banchero, Grant, Turner

Kyle Lowry‘s name has surfaced in trade rumors, mainly due to the Heat’s interest in Kevin Durant. In a recent podcast with longtime NBA All-Star Vince Carter, Lowry says he doesn’t feel the need to address trade talk (hat tip to Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald).

“I hear it. I don’t respond to it,” Lowry said. “I have my social media, but I’m not even on my social media right now, to be honest with you. I only did this interview because you’re my man.”

Lowry’s salary could prove valuable if Miami is successful in dealing for Durant or another high-priced star such as Donovan Mitchell. Lowry, who is entering the second year of a three-year, $85MM contract, has not considered retirement, saying he’ll play “until I can’t.”

“This is how I think personally. When you tell your brain something, it starts to do it,” he said. “So for me, I’ll say: ‘I’m going until I can’t.’ Why not? Until I don’t want to wake up at 5 or 6 in the morning to go work out.”

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • New Hawks guard Dejounte Murray and the draft’s top pick, the Magic’s Paolo Banchero, exchanged words on and off the court after taking the court at Isaiah Thomas‘ annual summer pro-am, Kurt Helin of NBC Sports relays. Murray faked out Banchero before doing a self alley-oop, then took to social media to give the rookie more grief. Banchero responded by saying that Murray had unfollowed him, while adding some choices words of his own.
  • When the Pistons signed Jerami Grant to a three-year contract two years ago as a free agent, many observers were baffled as to why the rebuilding team took that route. In hindsight, it worked out quite well for Detroit, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. Grant’s professionalism and work ethic rubbed off on the Pistons’ young players and the subsequent trade with Portland this summer helped GM Troy Weaver make a draft-night deal for lottery pick Jalen Duren.
  • Despite being the subject of trade rumors for months, Pacers center Myles Turner loves Indiana and is excited to play with Tyrese Haliburton, according to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto. Haliburton is the first true pass-first point guard Turner has played with, Scotto notes. Turner is entering his walk year and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Nets’ Durant Reportedly Reiterates Trade Request, Gives Tsai Ultimatum

In a face-to-face meeting with Nets owner Joe Tsai in London on Saturday, star forward Kevin Durant reiterated his desire to be traded and gave Tsai an ultimatum, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

According to Charania, Durant told the Nets owner that he needs to choose between trading him or firing general manager Sean Marks and head coach Steve Nash. Durant said that he doesn’t have faith in the team’s direction, sources tell The Athletic.

Charania says his sources described Saturday’s meeting as “transparent and professional,” adding that the Nets have “direct knowledge of the reasons behind Durant’s request” and have reason to believe he’ll be resolute in his stance. People around the NBA have speculated about the possibility that the two-time Finals MVP won’t report to training camp if the Nets don’t make a deal within the next seven weeks, per Charania.

Sources tell The Athletic that Brooklyn has spoken to nearly every team in the NBA about a possible Durant trade, but no club has met the Nets’ “sky-high” asking price. According to Charania, the Celtics, Heat, and Raptors are widely viewed as the most legitimate suitors for the 33-year-old, who is entering the first season of a four-year, maximum-salary extension.

Charania cites sources who say that Tsai and the Nets have “made clear privately that they will take every last asset from a team that trades for Durant.” However, it’s hard to see how the team has the leverage to make that sort of deal, given these latest developments in the summer saga.

Of course, Marks and Nash held their current positions when Durant signed that four-year extension a year ago, and the star forward was believed to have played a role in Nash’s hiring in the first place, back in 2020. It’s unclear why Durant has soured to such a significant extent on Brooklyn’s leadership group.

It’s possible Durant’s dissatisfaction is related, at least in part, to the team’s handling of his good friend Kyrie Irving. The Nets refused to allow Irving to be a part-time player during the first half of last season when vaccine requirements prohibited him from playing home games. The club then opted against offering Kyrie a lucrative long-term extension this offseason.

While recent reports have indicated that Irving plans to be a Net to start the 2022/23 season, there’s a belief that Brooklyn will seriously consider trading him if and when the team finds a Durant deal it likes.

25 Of NBA’s 30 Teams Have Made At Least One Offseason Trade

Since the 2022 NBA offseason began, 26 trades have been made, as our tracker shows. A total of 25 teams have been involved in those 26 deals, with 15 clubs (half the league) completing multiple trades.

The Raptors, Heat, Bulls, Pelicans, and Clippers are the only teams that have not been part of at least one trade since their seasons ended this spring. While most of those clubs were pretty active in free agency, it has been an especially quiet offseason in New Orleans, where the Pelicans also haven’t made a single free agent signing.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Timberwolves have been the NBA’s most active team on the trade market this summer, with new president of basketball operations Tim Connelly putting his stamp on the franchise in his first few months on the job. After making four draft-night deals in June, Minnesota finalized the offseason’s biggest trade by acquiring Rudy Gobert from the Jazz just over a month ago.

The Hawks and Knicks, with four deals apiece, have been the next most active teams on the trade market. A pair of Atlanta’s moves were minor, but the other two – acquiring Dejounte Murray and sending Kevin Huerter to Sacramento – will have a major impact on the team going forward. As for New York, most of Leon Rose‘s deals involved shuffling around draft picks and clearing cap room for the team’s free agent signings of Jalen Brunson and Isaiah Hartenstein.

Here are a few more details on this summer’s 26 trades:

  • The Pacers, Pistons, Nuggets, Grizzlies, and Kings have each made three trades. The other teams to make multiple deals are the Hornets, Thunder, Jazz, Trail Blazers, Mavericks, Rockets, and Spurs, with two apiece.
  • That leaves the Sixers, Nets, Celtics, Cavaliers, Bucks, Magic, Wizards, Lakers, Warriors, and Suns as the clubs that have each completed just one trade.
  • All 26 of this offseason’s trades have consisted of just two teams, with no three- or four-team deals made so far. A draft-night agreement involving the Hornets, Knicks, and Pistons was originally reported as a three-team trade, but was ultimately completed as two separate deals.
  • Not a single player has been signed-and-traded so far during the 2022 offseason. That’s pretty surprising, since 27 free agents changed teams via sign-and-trade in the three years from 2019-21 and only four teams used cap room this offseason — sign-and-trades are typically more common in years when most clubs are operating over the cap.
  • Eight first round picks from the 2022 draft were traded this summer, and four of those were dealt twice: Jalen Duren (Charlotte to New York to Detroit); Walker Kessler (Memphis to Minnesota to Utah); Wendell Moore (Dallas to Houston to Minnesota); and TyTy Washington (Memphis to Minnesota to Houston).
  • Another dozen second round 2022 picks changed hands this offseason, including one that was on the move twice (No. 46 pick Ismael Kamagate from Detroit to Portland to Denver).
  • A total of 15 future round picks (2023 and beyond) were included in trades this summer, including a pair that changed hands twice. Six of those first round picks were unprotected, while nine included protections.
  • Another 19 future second round picks (2023 and beyond) were also traded, with two of those 19 dealt twice. All but one of those traded second rounders was unprotected.

Community Shootaround: Heat Outlook

With the dog days of summer upon us, the NBA’s offseason news cycle has slowed to a halt. Most of the major free agents have signed new contracts, summer league has passed, and many executives are just returning from post-summer league vacations. Contending teams across the league — particularly in the Eastern Conference — have seemingly improved.

The Celtics added Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari to provide depth behind their elite starting lineup, the Sixers signed P.J. Tucker to add toughness and versatility, and the Bulls bolstered their bench with veterans Goran Dragic and Andre Drummond. The Bucks did their part by standing pat and retaining all their key pieces. The Hawks added Dejounte Murray, and the Raptors shouldn’t be counted out. For as long as Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant play, neither should the Nets.

Among the missing teams, of course, is the Heat. Miami finished first in the East last season with a 53-29 record. The team made the conference finals and took the Celtics to seven games despite dealing with several injuries. Kyle Lowry, Max Strus, Jimmy Butler, P.J. Tucker, Tyler Herro and Gabe Vincent – six of the top seven in Erik Spoelstra‘s playoff rotation – were all battling health issues during the series.

Miami showed it should be taken seriously. However, with Philadelphia prying Tucker away, a hole remains in the team’s starting group. Veteran forward Markieff Morris is still a free agent. As it stands, Butler will most likely be the team’s starting power forward. With the Sixers getting bigger, Milwaukee sporting a lengthy lineup that features Giannis Antetokounmpo at the four and the Nets potentially going big, trouble may await the Heat if they stand pat.

Many Eastern contenders have the flexibility to play bigger, as well. For example, the Bucks ended their first-round series against the Bulls by playing Antetokoummpo, Bobby Portis and Brook Lopez together, overwhelming Chicago with their size. The team similarly made Miami (and Butler) struggle in the 2021 playoffs due to its length.

The Heat did re-sign Caleb Martin, but at 6’7″, he remains an undersized power forward. Third-string forward Haywood Highsmith is still in the process of proving himself. Miami still has time to trade for a power forward, or it could re-sign a player like Morris, but as it stands, the team is one of the smallest in the league. Unless it commits to playing in transition and blitzing more defensively, it’s hard to foresee another first-place finish in the Eastern Conference.

We want to know what you think. How do you view the Heat’s current outlook? If the season started today, who should they start at power forward? Since the team has two open roster spots (one if Udonis Haslem re-signs), which players would you target to help replace Tucker? If the Heat can’t acquire a superstar like Durant, where should they turn to instead? Take to the comments section below and voice your opinions!

Heat Notes: Trade Possibilities, Eastern Conference, Mexico City Game

Beyond re-signing many of their own free agents, the Heat have remained relatively quiet this summer, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Miami enjoyed a successful 2021/22 campaign, and found itself one win shy of qualifying for their second NBA Finals appearance in three years.

Aside from the big fish – Nets All-Star forward Kevin Durant and Jazz All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell – there are many other viable trade candidates the team could look to add this summer after having lost starting power forward P.J. Tucker in free agency, says Winderman. He lists players like Pacers big man Myles Turner, Hawks power forward John Collins, Kings forward Harrison Barnes, Hornets power forward Gordon Hayward, and Suns power forward Jae Crowder – a starter on Miami’s 2020 Finals team – as potentially attainable frontcourt players who could help the Heat replace Tucker.

Winderman notes that Miami has three big pieces it could include in a trade: swingman Duncan Robinson and his $16.9MM salary; extension-eligible 2022 Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro; and the ability to send out up to three first-round draft picks, plus this year’s No. 27 pick, Nikola Jovic. Winderman acknowledges that emptying the team’s coffers to get a less starry component than Durant or Mitchell could leave the team’s front office feeling as if it missed out.

There’s more out of South Beach:

  • Though the Heat’s competitors in the Eastern Conference have, on paper, made moves to improve their rosters, Winderman wonders in a recent reader mailbag if the gains made by Miami’s East rivals may have been somewhat overstated. Though Winderman concedes that the acquisitions made by the Celtics and Hawks were fairly major, he thinks that the rest of the competitive portion of the conference made merely supplemental moves.
  • When the NBA’s full schedule is announced later this month, it will reveal that the Heat are set to play their second Mexico City regular season contest in five seasons, Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes in a separate piece. As Winderman details, Miami will play at an elevation even more extreme than the NBA’s normal high, Denver, at 5,280 feet above sea level — Mexico City stands 7,350 feet above sea level. This Mexico City return game is among several international contests the league is scheduling during the preseason and regular season for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Games are also scheduled to take place this year in Abu Dhabi, between the Hawks and Bucks, during the October preseason and in Paris, between the Bulls and Pistons, in January.

Eastern Notes: Haslem, Robinson, Wizards, Pistons, Pacers, Washington

The Heat have a standing offer out to veteran big man Udonis Haslem, which means it’s up to the 42-year-old if he wants to return next season, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel confirms in his latest “Ask Ira” mailbag.

Haslem has played fewer than 20 games in each of his past six seasons, but he plays an immense role in developing the team’s young players. He’s also served as a locker room leader, owning 19 years of NBA experience and winning three championships. He’s previously stated he has no interest in coaching.

Within the same article, Winderman also considered Duncan Robinson‘s status as a trade candidate, suggesting that Miami is unlikely to move Robinson for only a modest upgrade. With Robinson set to make $17MM this season, the Heat would likely need him for salary-matching purposes in order to acquire an impact player, so the club will be patient as it explores the trade market.

Here are some other notes from the Eastern Conference:

International Notes: Jokic, Antetokounmpo, Yurtseven, Pokusevski, Jovic

Nuggets star Nikola Jokic is looking forward to representing Serbia on the basketball court for the first time in three years, writes Johnny Askounis of EuroHoops. The two-time MVP will join the national team for a pair of 2023 FIBA World Cup qualifying games, hosting Greece August 25 and traveling to Turkey August 28.

“I feel great, similar to every time I reunite with these guys. I just met some of them,” Jokic said in advance of the Serbian team’s training camp. “We are preparing, we just started and we will see how far we can go. Up first are the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers and the goal of helping Serbia qualify to the World Cup.”

Jokic also plans to participate in EuroBasket next month, and he could return for both the 2023 World Cup and the 2024 Olympics if Serbia qualifies. Jokic cited a special pride in being able to play for his home nation.

“It means a lot, I talked with my family, it’s a totally different feeling when you play for the national team,” Jokic said. “I felt different when I came here than when I go to Denver.”

There’s more international news to pass along:

  • Another MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and his brother and Bucks teammate, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, are in Athens waiting to join the Greek team for training camp, per Aris Barkas of EuroHoops. An agreement limits NBA players to 28 days of preparation before major FIBA tournaments and 14 days before the Olympics. The other Antetokounmpo brothers, Alex and Kostas, are already training with Greece. New Mavericks signee Tyler Dorsey is under the same restrictions as Giannis and Thanasis and can’t start training until Thursday.
  • Heat center Omer Yurtseven elected not to join the Turkish national team’s training camp in Italy, but he didn’t inform team officials of his decision or seek permission in advance, according to a EuroHoops report. The decision was made by Yurtseven rather than the Heat, the story adds, as the rookie center chose to stay in Miami and focus on preparing for training camp. The report notes that Yurtseven was suspended for eight games in 2018 for skipping national team activities without providing notice.
  • Thunder forward Aleksej Pokusevski and Heat rookie Nikola Jovic were denied permission by their respective teams to join Serbia for EuroBasket and the World Cup qualifiers, Askounis states in a separate story. Hawks forward Bogdan Bogdanovic is also unavailable because he’s recovering from knee surgery.