Heat Rumors

Heat Have Another Positive COVID-19 Test

Another Heat player has tested positive for the coronavirus, a league source tells Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Reports earlier this week indicated Miami had two other players who came back positive in the most recent round of testing, which forced the team to close its practice facility for a second time Friday.

Jackson isn’t identifying the first two players, but a source says they’re both part of the rotation. Those players are in quarantine and are expected to be ready when the season resumes, even though they won’t travel with the Heat to Walt Disney World next week.

Miami’s Derrick Jones Jr. also tested positive in late June. He remains in quarantine, but is participating in individual workouts assigned by the team.

At least one Heat staff member also had a positive test, a source tells Jackson.

Heat Close Facility For Second Time Following New COVID-19 Case

The Heat have once again closed their AmericanAirlines Arena practice facility for player workouts, reports Ethan Skolnick of 5 Reasons Sports (Twitter link).

According to Skolnick, a second Heat player has tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting the shutdown. Miami previously closed its facility following Derrick Jonespositive COVID-19 test. It’s not clear in this case which player tested positive for the virus, but it’s a rotation player, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter link).

It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Heat keep their building close for workouts until the team travels to the Walt Disney World campus next week. Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald suggests (via Twitter) that the club is likely to resume its workouts in Orlando, where group activities will be permitted for players who return two negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

The Heat are one of a number of teams that have temporarily closed their facilities following positive coronavirus tests. The Nuggets, Suns, Clippers, and Nets are also known to have done so, though some have since reopened.

Coronavirus testing will still take place at AmericanAirlines Arena while the practice facility is closed, Skolnick notes.

Heat Won't Leave Any Players Home

  • All 17 players on the Heat‘s roster, including two-way players, will make the trip to Orlando, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. “We’re bringing all 17 guys for a reason, because we think everyone is healthy and ready,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We think our depth is going to be one of our biggest strengths.” Forward Derrick Jones Jr., the only known Heat player to have tested positive for COVID-19, is in quarantine but doing Zoom workouts at home.

Restart Notes: Older Coaches, Roberts, Power Rankings, Disney Employees

The league won’t prevent older coaches and staff members from working at the Orlando campus, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. “We’ve been assured by the league that no one will be red-flagged by the league from going to Orlando based on age alone,” according to Mavericks coach and NBA Coaches Association president Rick Carlisle. All coaches and staffers will go through a medical screening process, MacMahon adds.

We have more news related to the NBA’s restart:

  • National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts is unconcerned about losing some fans due to the players’ desire to make social justice messages during the resumption of play, she told The Athletic’s Michael Lee. Among other things, the league will paint “Black Lives Matter” on the Orlando courts. “Anybody that says, ‘I’m done with the NBA,’ see ya,” she said. “I can’t even abide someone that says that because we are saying killing Black people is something we need to talk about. If they don’t want to hear that, I don’t really think they have a place in our game.”
  • After perusing each team’s eight “seeding” games prior to the playoffs, The Athletic’s Zach Harper places the Bucks and Lakers in the top two spots in his latest Power Rankings. Harper previously had the Lakers on top. The Clippers and Raptors remained in the third and fourth spots, respectively, with the Heat moving up two notches to No. 5.
  • While NBA teams will be subject to rigorous testing, Disney World employees won’t have similar restrictions, Rich Greenfield of LightShed tweets. There will be no COVID-19 testing of employees at Disney parks before they return to work next week. Instead, they will only be administered temperature checks.

And-Ones: Luxury Tax, Thomas, Scola, Top Defenders

The Trail Blazers have the highest luxury tax bill at $5.9MM, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Team salaries are now frozen after the one-week transactions period that closed late Tuesday. The Heat ($2.9MM), Thunder ($2.5MM) and Timberwolves ($582K) are also over the luxury tax line but the projected $11.9MM total is the lowest since the luxury tax was introduced in 2002/03, Marks notes.

We have more from around the basketball world:

Andre Iguodala Discusses Contract Extension

Andre Iguodala turned 36 years old in January, but that didn’t stop him and the Heat from agreeing to a contract extension when he was dealt to Miami at the February trade deadline. Speaking to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, Iguodala said that the new deal, which provides a $15MM guarantee for 2020/21 and a $15MM team option for ’21/22, was something both sides pushed for at the time of the trade.

“Both sides knew the window we have — my window and the team’s window,” the Heat forward said. “We all know about when teams want cap space. It’s hard to get acclimated with a group of guys in two months. The locker room is a special place. I wanted to be somewhere where I could grow with the guys, a lot of the young talent that I have a good impression of, help them grow, especially Bam (Adebayo), Kendrick Nunn, Tyler (Herro) and Duncan (Robinson). I didn’t want it to be a two-, three-month thing.”

As Jackson points out, the Heat hadn’t expected to be a major player on the 2020 free agent market, so adding $15MM for Iguodala to next season’s books shouldn’t hurt the team. And in the 2021 offseason, the $15MM team option can be turned down with no penalty if the club needs to create cap room.

And-Ones: Uninvited Teams, Orlando, Diversity, Schedules

Several cities are being considered as possible hosts for the eight teams that weren’t invited to Orlando, reports Sam Amick of The Athletic. Participants in a league conference call this week mentioned Las Vegas and Houston, which were both eyed as potential sites for the 22-team field before Orlando was chosen. Amick states that some of the eight teams involved have expressed interest in hosting the event, citing the Timberwolves as a possibility.

Sources tell Amick that the Cavaliers, Pistons and Hawks have been the strongest advocates to the league about setting up some type of eight-team arrangement so their players can have the benefit of competition before next season begins. However, the Knicks have been reluctant because they have so many potential free agents who may refuse to participate. He suggests New York would be more willing to get involved if it could use G League players to fill its roster.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • The NBA isn’t doubting its decision to bring the restart to Walt Disney World, even though coronavirus cases are rising sharply in Florida, according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. He spoke with several league and team officials who expressed confidence in the plan for a bubble environment. Mannix adds that the league might eventually reconsider its policy of not testing some Disney employees, noting that the guidelines issued last week can still be changed.
  • Commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA president Chris Paul are both calling on teams to increase diversity in their coaching and front office hires, writes Mark Medina of USA Today. The league currently has just 11 Black head coaches, nine female assistants and nine Black general managers. “There is no doubt there is more we can do internally, the league and our teams and in terms of our hiring practices,” Silver said on a conference call Friday. “The league needs to do a good job, in particular, when it comes to hiring African Americans at every level in the league. It’s something we have been focused on with our teams.”
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic assesses each team’s schedule for Orlando, finding that the Pelicans have the easiest slate and the Heat have the most challenging. Six of New Orleans’ eight games will be against teams with losing records.

Practice Facility Closed For Workouts Through Weekend

  • The Heat have closed their practice facility for player workouts until at least Monday in the aftermath of Derrick Jones Jr.‘s positive COVID-19 test, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets. Jones, whose positive test was revealed on Thursday, is eventually expected to rejoin the team for the league’s restart in Orlando. A Heat staff member has also tested positive, Jackson adds in a separate tweet.

Derrick Jones Jr. Tests Positive For Coronavirus

Heat wing Derrick Jones Jr. has tested positive for COVID-19, becoming Miami’s first player known to have contracted the virus, according to a report from Barry Jackson and Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

Jones has been asymptomatic and expects to join the Heat for the resumption of the 2019/20 season at Walt Disney World this summer once he has been medically cleared to do so, per Jackson and Chiang. He’ll have to self-quarantine for the time being and will need to return two negative coronavirus tests, at least 24 hours apart, before being cleared to travel to Orlando next month.

Jones, a minimum-salary player during the first four years of his NBA career, will be a free agent this fall and appears to be in line for a substantial raise. However, he previously stated that his contract situation wouldn’t dissuade him from playing in Orlando, and it sounds as if his positive coronavirus test won’t either, assuming his condition doesn’t worsen.

This year’s Slam Dunk Contest winner, Jones has averaged a career-high 24.5 minutes per contest in 51 games for the Heat, averaging 8.9 PPG, 4.2 RPG, and 1.1 SPG with a .514 FG% in his regular rotation role.

Reports of NBA players testing positive for COVID-19 have been popping up with increasing frequency this week because teams began mandatory testing on Tuesday in advance of next month’s restart. Nikola Jokic, Malcolm Brogdon, and three Kings players (Jabari Parker, Buddy Hield, and Alex Len) are among the others who have tested positive.

Southeast Notes: Fournier, Bertans, Gordon

Evan Fournier is not a fan of Wizards forward Davis Bertans sitting out of the NBA’s return. The Magic wing tweeted, “This is what’s wrong with the NBA nowadays” in response to the report that Bertans wasn’t going to Orlando.

Seriously tho. If you think its ok to sit and watch your teammates play while you re perfectly healthy its says a lot about you,” Fournier continued in a second tweet.

Bertans, who is one of multiple NBA players expected to sit out the resumed season in Florida, will be a free agent at the end of the season, though the Magic are not expected to have the cap space to make a reasonable offer to the 27-year-old power forward, so Fournier will not have to worry about Bertans joining his team.

Here’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Heat swingman Derrick Jones plans to play when the NBA returns, as Anthony Chang of The Miami Herald relays. Jones will hit free agency after the season and figures to be in line for a significant raise after earning the minimum during his first four NBA seasons.
  • Trading Aaron Gordon for a perimeter threat could be the best way to maximize the talent on the Magic, John Hollinger writes for The Athletic. Trading away Gordon would allow Jonathan Isaac more playing time.
  • Clint Capela, who was traded to the Hawks at the trade deadline, recently spoke about what it takes to win in the league, which is something he’ll look to help his young teammates learn. “The main goal is really to be a winning team, have this winning mentality, be able to night in, night out go get wins,” Capela said (via Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution). “…It doesn’t matter if you play good or bad, but you have to have that dog mentality to make stops, to at least get a win.”