Heat Rumors

Hassan Whiteside Plans To Opt In For 2019/20

Barring an unforeseen development in the coming days, Heat center Hassan Whiteside intends to opt into the final season of his contract, exercising his 2019/20 player option, a league source tells Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

Picking up that option will make Whiteside the Heat’s highest-paid player for next season, locking in a salary of $27,093,018, per Basketball Insiders. The veteran big man will subsequently be on track to reach unrestricted free agency during the summer of 2020.

Whiteside, who turned 30 years old last Thursday, averaged 12.3 PPG and 11.3 RPG with 1.9 BPG in 72 games (53 starts) for the Heat last season. While his numbers were solid, Whiteside’s 23.3 minutes per game represented his lowest mark since he arrived in Miami in 2014.

Whiteside hasn’t been thrilled about his reduced role and inconsistent minutes over the last two seasons. Still, despite expressing a little dissatisfaction with his playing time, he was always considered a virtual lock to exercise his player option to stick with the Heat — he’d have no chance of matching his $27MM salary for ’19/20 on the open market.

With option salaries for both Whiteside and Goran Dragic on their books for next season, the Heat’s guaranteed salary commitments will increase to nearly $130MM for just eight players, plus a $3.64MM cap hold for their first-round pick. The team figures to thoroughly explore ways to cut costs during the offseason to avoid ending up in tax territory with a roster that missed the playoffs this past season.

As our player option decision tracker shows, 10 players have already opted in for the 2019/20 season, with Whiteside and Dwight Powell (Mavericks) both planning to do so as well.

Here are a few more brief Heat notes:

  • According to Jackson, the Heat and Grizzlies discussed a possible Mike Conley trade, but didn’t see eye to eye on compensation and those talks went nowhere. The two sides didn’t rule out the possibility of revisiting discussions later in the summer.
  • Jimmy Butler has told confidants that he’d be happy to meet with the Heat in free agency if the team wants to make a pitch, tweets Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Miami doesn’t project to have any cap room available this offseason though, so the idea of Butler joining the team is an extreme long shot.
  • University of Miami prospect Dewan Hernandez cancelled a workout with the Heat due to scheduling issues and an overcrowded workout calendar, writes Jackson.

Heat Notes: Draft, Ellington, Langford

Should the Heat enter the sweepstakes for the No. 4 overall pick? Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel believes it depends on the cost.

The scribe isn’t a fan of the team sending away Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, or Bam Adebayo in a deal, though if a trade was structured around one of their player-friendly contracts, such as Dion Waiters or James Johnson, an additional player and the No. 13, moving up would make more sense.

Here’s more from Miami:

  • The Heat could use Wayne Ellington back, but luxury tax concerns may put him out of the team’s price range, Winderman notes in the same piece. Miami began last season with great depth in the backcourt but that’s no longer the case after the team sent Ellington, Rodney McGruder, and Tyler Johnson away and watched Dwyane Wade retire.
  • Romeo Langford (Indiana) met with the Heat today, Evan Daniels of 247 Sports tweets. Langford’s busy day also includes a meeting with the Pelicans. He has previously visited Cleveland, Atlanta, and Minnesota.
  • The Heat also worked out Sekou Doumbouya (France), according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (Twitter link). Doumbouya is expected to go in the lottery.

Cavaliers Notes: Garland, Sexton, Culver, Smith

The Cavaliers were well represented at Darius Garland‘s private workout Friday night in Los Angeles, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Cleveland officials had been hoping for a close-up look at the Vanderbilt point guard, whose Klutch Sports representatives limited his availability early in the pre-draft process.

There’s no guarantee Garland will still be on the board when the Cavs pick at No. 5, as the Pelicans now hold the fourth pick and are reportedly receiving strong interest from teams looking to move up. There are questions surrounding Garland’s durability after he played just four games in college before suffering a meniscus injury, but many teams view him as a potential All-Star because of his exceptional shooting and ball-handling, along with the ability to take charge of an offense.

The No. 4 pick may be more unpredictable now that the Lakers are sending it to New Orleans in the Anthony Davis trade, Fedor adds. The Suns and Bulls might trade up for Garland if they believe he’s significantly better than Coby White, while the Hawks, who own the eighth and 10th picks, may decide to move up for Jarrett Culver.

The Cavs wouldn’t be afraid to team Garland with last year’s No. 1 pick, Collin Sexton, even though that would be an undersized backcourt with a pair of 6’2″ guards. Fedor notes that the organization is early enough in the rebuilding process that draft decisions will be based more on talent than fit.

There’s more from Cleveland, all courtesy of Fedor:

  • Even though the Cavaliers were hoping for a top three pick, they’re confident they can add a contributor at No. 5. De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish are on their radar as well as Garland and Culver.

Heat Notes: Team Needs, No. 13, Waiters

The Heat should be interested in acquiring wing players with length, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. The team’s current starting small forward, Josh Richardson, is listed at 6’6″ and in today’s NBA, that’s considered short for the position.

“The switch-ability is key,”an Eastern Conference scout tells Winderman. “That is critical, especially for the three-four. People, when they think about that, he’s going to guard threes, but can he guard fours?

“Players at the three…they tend to merge either way, either closer to fours or as wings. People do not talk about pure threes anymore.”

Here’s more from Miami:

  • In a separate piece, Winderman wonders if Oregon’s Bol Bol is worth the gamble for Miami. The Heat own the No. 13 overall pick in the upcoming draft.
  • The Heat could use the No. 13 overall pick to offload some payroll from the roster, Winderman hears (in an additional piece). Dion Waiters, who has been speculated as a trade target of the Warriors, and James Johnson stand as two possible candidates to be moved.
  • Conditioning was an issue for Waiters this past season, Winderman notes. Coach Eric Spoelstra touched on it at the end of the season. “When he gets in optimal shape, he’s going to also be able to get to the basket when he needs to,” Spoelstra said. “He was still able to do that at times, not consistently enough during the course of a game and through contact and through fatigue.”

Draft Updates: Oni, Langford, Bitadze, Bone, Harris

Yale wing Miye Oni returned to the Bucks’ practice facility for a second workout on Saturday, ESPN’s Jordan Schultz tweets. Oni averaged 17.1 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 3.6 APG during his junior season. The 6’6” Oni is hoping to become the first Ivy Leaguer drafted since 1995, Schultz adds.

We have more draft info:

  • Indiana freshman swingman Romeo Langford is meeting with the Heat this weekend, Schultz reports in another tweet. Miami possesses the No. 13 pick and Langford is ranked No. 14 overall by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.
  • International prospect Goga Bitadze is visiting the Celtics, Pistons and Hornets in the days leading up to Thursday’s draft. according to a tweet from Hawks website writer Kevin Chouinard. The 6’11” Bitadze, 19, led the EuroLeague and Adriatic League in blocks on both a per-game and per-minute basis. He is ranked No. 17 overall by Givony.
  • The Wizards worked out Tennessee guard Jordan Bone on Saturday, according to a team press release. The point guard is No. 56 on Givony’s list.
  • Forward Terry Harris worked out for the Knicks on Thursday, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News tweets. He also visited the Nets this week and will work out for the Mavericks and Jazz, Bondy adds in another tweet. He played for North Carolina A&T in his senior year, averaging 8.1 PPG. He is the younger brother of Sixers free agent forward Tobias Harris.

The Timing Of Goran Dragic's Player Option Decision; Miami's Lack Of Shooting Guards

Goran Dragic Picks Up Player Option

Goran Dragic has picked up his $19.2MM player option for the 2019/20 season, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (Twitter link). Rade Filipovich, Dragic’s agent, said the point guard “wants to stay in Miami forever,” Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets.

Dragic had until June 29 to make a decision, though the Heat have been operating under the assumption that he would make this move. Miami now has roughly $102.6MM in guaranteed salary on the books for the 2019/20 season.

Rumblings that the Heat are looking for a point guard upgrade didn’t stop Dragic from picking up his option. Dragic is now eligible to be traded.

The Heat originally traded for the veteran point guard at the 2015 trade deadline, giving up four players and pair of picks in the deal. Norris Cole, Danny Granger, Shawne Williams, and Justin Hamilton were all sent to Phoenix — none of those players are on an NBA roster anymore.

The Suns used the 2018 pick they received from the deal to select Zhaire Smith and packaged him along with Miami’s 2021 selection—the other pick Phoenix received from the Dragic deal—to move up and take Mikal Bridges (the Clippers now own Miami’s 2021 selection via the Tobias Harris trade).

Prior to picking up his option, Dragic did not receive any assurances from Pat Riley that the Heat would not trade him, per Jackson (Twitter link). However, Riley also didn’t indicate that trading him was the plan.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Southeast Notes: Frazier, Washington, Langford

Melvin Frazier underwent successful surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right tibia, the Magic announced on their Twitter feed. The No. 35 overall pick from the 2018 draft played in just 10 games for Orlando during his rookie season.

Here’s more from the Southeast Division:

Southeast Draft Notes: Hornets, Heat, Magic, Hawks

The Hornets have looked into the possibility of moving up in the draft from their current spot in the lottery at No. 12, tweets Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Bonnell acknowledges that it may be difficult for Charlotte to put together the sort of trade capital necessary to make a deal happen, but says GM Mitch Kupchak is active.

Meanwhile, the Hornets will continue to explore their draft options by bringing in six more prospects for workouts tomorrow, according to the team. Marques Bolden (Duke), Tacko Fall (UCF), Jaylen Hoard (Wake Forest), Jalen Hudson (Florida), and Luka Asceric (Mega Bemax) are among the players set to participate.

Here are a few more draft-related items from around the Southeast:

Draft Updates: Green Room, Culver, Samanic, More

The NBA continues to invite potential first-round picks to the Green Room for next Thursday’s draft, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, who tweets that Nassir Little (UNC), Romeo Langford (Indiana), and Tyler Herro (Kentucky) were the next invitees after the initial nine-player group.

According to Givony (Twitter links), Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga), Brandon Clarke (Gonzaga), PJ Washington (Kentucky) also received Green Room invites, as did international prospect Sekou Doumbouya. That brings us to 16 prospects who are expected to be in the Green Room on draft night, with four others still expected to be invited, per Givony.

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • Within his latest mock draft, Jeremy Woo of SI.com cites league sources who say that both the Suns and Hawks are high on Texas Tech swingman Jarrett Culver. However, it’s possible that neither team will have a shot at him without trading up — Woo has Culver coming off the board at No. 5 to the Cavaliers in his mock.
  • Croatian forward Luka Samanic has a busy workout schedule, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link), who adds the Warriors and Spurs to the list of teams Samanic has auditioned for. He also has workouts lined up with the Hawks and Bucks.
  • UCF guard Aubrey Dawkins has worked out for the Celtics, Pelicans, Knicks, and Raptors, and still has the Mavericks, Rockets, and Hornets on his workout schedule, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic.
  • Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com (Twitter links) provides a pair of updates on pre-draft workouts for prospects, reporting that Chris Silva (South Carolina) is working out for the Heat and Spurs, while Shamorie Ponds (St. John’s) worked out for the Cavaliers and Mavericks and has the Sixers and Rockets on tap.