Heat Rumors

Heat Notes: LeBron, Draft, Haslem, T. Johnson

The Heat are often mentioned as a potential destination for LeBron James if he decides to leave Cleveland, but Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel doesn’t believe such a move is realistic. Miami, of course, is where James went the last time he parted ways with the Cavaliers. He spent four seasons with the Heat and combined with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to reach the NBA Finals each year.

However, a reunion is extremely unlikely, Winderman notes. The Heat don’t have any cap space to work with and would need to have a massive sell-off or have James opt in and engineer a trade. Winderman estimates Miami would have to part with Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow, Bam Adebayo and the high salary of either Hassan Whiteside or Goran Dragic, which would leave LeBron with a worse supporting cast then he has now in Cleveland.

There’s more news from Miami:

  • Without a pick in this year’s draft, the Heat can’t get prospects to come to Miami, so scouts are going on the road to see them, Winderman writes in a separate piece. Team representatives are headed to Bradenton, Florida, New York City, Atlanta and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, this week to attend workouts being held by agents and trainers. Next week, the scouting staff will be at seven workouts in Los Angeles and one in Las Vegas. “We go there not only to watch that workout, but we also would use that as a mini-Chicago [draft combine], where we interview players,” VP of Player Personnel Chet Kammerer explained. “It’s not us running the workouts, but we’re going to get to look at as many people as we can among our staff.”
  • At age 38, Udonis Haslem hasn’t decided if he will return for another season, but he continues to work out as if he’ll keep playing, Winderman relays in another story. “When you get to this stage of your career and life, you either do it or you don’t,” Haslem said. “You can’t really turn it on and off. It becomes a lifestyle.” Interviewed Saturday, Haslem repeated that he has no interest in coaching but would be intrigued by a front office position.
  • Tyler Johnson won’t try to change his game to live up to the salary increase that’s about to kick in, writes Jordan McPherson of The Miami Herald. The backloaded offer sheet Johnson received from the Nets two years ago increases from $5.88MM this year to $19.25MM in each of the next two seasons. “It doesn’t bother me,” Johnson said. “It’s just a nicer paycheck when I go home.”

2018 NBA Draft Picks By Team

While the Sixers were knocked out of the 2018 playoffs in the Eastern Conference Semifinals by the underdog Celtics, few teams are better positioned in this year’s draft than Philadelphia. The 76ers own six of the 60 picks in the 2018 NBA draft, including a pair of first-rounders.

As our full 2018 draft order shows, the Sixers are one of seven NBA teams that holds more than two selections in this year’s draft. On the other end of the spectrum, eight teams have just one pick in 2018, while two teams – the Heat and Raptors – don’t have any selections.

To present a clearer picture of which teams are most – and least – stocked with picks for the 2018 NBA draft, we’ve rounded up all 60 picks by team in the space below. Let’s dive in…

Teams with more than two picks:

  • Philadelphia 76ers (6): 10, 26, 38, 39, 56, 60
  • Phoenix Suns (4): 1, 16, 31, 59
  • Atlanta Hawks (4): 3, 19, 30, 34
  • Dallas Mavericks (3): 5, 33, 54
  • Orlando Magic (3): 6, 35, 41
  • Denver Nuggets (3): 14, 43, 58
  • Brooklyn Nets (3): 29, 40, 45

Teams with two picks:

  • Sacramento Kings: 2, 37
  • Memphis Grizzlies: 4, 32
  • Chicago Bulls: 7, 22
  • New York Knicks: 9, 36
  • Charlotte Hornets: 11, 55
  • Los Angeles Clippers: 12, 13
  • Washington Wizards: 15, 44
  • San Antonio Spurs: 18, 49
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: 20, 48
  • Utah Jazz: 21, 52
  • Indiana Pacers: 23, 50
  • Los Angeles Lakers: 25, 47
  • Oklahoma City Thunder: 53, 57

Teams with fewer than two picks:

  • Cleveland Cavaliers (1): 8
  • Milwaukee Bucks (1): 17
  • Portland Trail Blazers (1): 24
  • Boston Celtics (1): 27
  • Golden State Warriors (1): 28
  • Detroit Pistons (1): 42
  • Houston Rockets (1): 46
  • New Orleans Pelicans (1): 51
  • Miami Heat (0)
  • Toronto Raptors (0)

Shane Battier Gets Permission To Interview With Pistons

Shane Battier has received permission from the Heat to discuss a possible front office job with the Pistons, tweets Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel.

Battier was among several candidates revealed earlier today to be under consideration for positions in Detroit. He currently serves as director of basketball development and analytics in Miami.

Battier is being groomed for a high-level position with the Heat and may even run the organization someday if he stays there, according to the Five Reasons Sports Network (Twitter link). However, team president Pat Riley is expected to remain in place for several more years, and Battier’s connections to Michigan may be enough to lure him to the Pistons.

Latest On Pistons’ GM/Front Office Search

The Pistons continue to conduct separate searches for a new head coach and a new head of basketball operations, and while it’s possible they’ll hire a coach sooner rather than later, they prefer to address their front office opening first. That would allow the new head of basketball operations to have a say in the head coaching hire.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski provides an update on Detroit’s front office search today, reporting (via Twitter) that NBA executive VP of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe, Grizzlies executive VP of player personnel Ed Stefanski, Rockets executive VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, and Nets assistant GM Trajan Langdon are among the candidates the Pistons are eyeing to run their basketball operations department. Current GM Jeff Bower also remains a candidate to be promoted, Wojnarowski adds (via Twitter).

Most of those executives have received consideration for top front office jobs in the recent past. Rosas, for instance, was cited as a contender for the Hornets’ GM opening this spring. Stefanski was said to be in the mix for the Bucks’ GM vacancy last summer, while Langdon received consideration for the Hawks job around the same time.

In addition to considering those aforementioned candidates for their top basketball operations job, the Pistons are also targeting TNT analyst Brent Barry and Heat director of basketball development and analytics Shane Battier for front office roles, according to Wojnarowski.

Although Bower is currently running the Pistons’ basketball operations department, his contract is set to expire on June 30, so Detroit could end up making several new hires this spring. Should Bower depart, the Pistons may hire a new president of basketball operations, a new GM, and a new head coach.

Kings Announce Sacramento Summer League Schedule

The Kings have made official what was reported last week, announcing today in a press release that they’ll host a three-day Summer League this July called the California Classic Summer League.

The Sacramento Summer League will effectively take the place of the Orlando Summer League, which was cancelled this year. Like the Utah Summer League, the California Classic will serve as a precursor to the league’s main event, the Las Vegas Summer League. All 30 teams are set to play in Vegas this July.

The Sacramento event, which will take place at the club’s Golden 1 Center, will begin on July 2, with games also taking place on July 3 and July 5. No games will take place on Independence Day.

The Lakers, Warriors, and Heat will join the Kings in Sacramento for the inaugural California Classic, with each team playing every other club once. The Kings, who will play the late game all three days, will face the Lakers on July 2, the Warriors on July 3, and the Heat on July 5, with the remaining two teams playing in the earlier game on each of those days.

LeBron's Decision Could Create Trade Market For East Teams

  • The fate of the Eastern Conference depends on what LeBron James decides to do this offseason. If he heads west, it could open new opportunities for other contenders. If the 15-year veteran decides to return to the Cavaliers, it could precipitate a trade market in which teams like the Heat and Wizards could be involved, Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel writes.

Heat Notes: Dragic, Haslem, Spoelstra, Lottery

Goran Dragic has retired from international basketball, but he might be persuaded to change his mind for the 2020 Olympics, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. After helping Slovenia capture the European championship last summer, Dragic plans a much more relaxed offseason this year.

“The people from the federation have been here in Miami; they tried to persuade me,” Dragic said. ‘We had a good meeting. I said my body at that time, I need to think about myself and my career. I gave to my country everything I had. Now it’s time to end.”

Dragic, who turned 32 last week, is hoping a few months of rest will pay off next season. He played 75 games this year, but his numbers declined across the board in scoring, assists and field goal percentage.

There’s more today out of Miami:

  • Udonis Haslem appeared in just 14 games this season, but Dragic says the intangibles he provides makes him worth a roster spot, Jackson adds in the same story. “It’s really tough to explain to people outside what he means to this team,” Dragic said. “Everybody is looking, ‘OK, he’s not playing’ but they don’t know how much he brings to this team, especially with his experience and leadership. A lot of guys in this locker room need leadership like UD, especially Hassan [Whiteside]. I think UD can provide that. He’s there where usually some guys would not be, in the toughest moments, when you need something, he’s there. That’s why everybody loves him.” Haslem, who will turn 38 in June, is headed into free agency and hasn’t decided if he wants to play another season.
  • Don’t expect a coaching change in Miami as long as Pat Riley remains the team president, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Erik Spoelstra is closely tied to Riley’s philosophy, Winderman notes, and the current roster probably wouldn’t fit together without him in charge.
  • The Heat won’t be involved in Tuesday’s lottery, but the results could affect them for years to come, Winderman points out in a separate piece. The lottery will help determine the balance of power at the top of the East, with the Cavaliers owning the Nets’ unprotected first-rounder and the Lakers’ first pick headed to either the Sixers or Celtics. Those teams could add to their talent base or they could use a high lottery pick as a bargaining chip if the Spurs decide to trade Kawhi Leonard.

Rodney McGruder Hopes To Win Back Spot In Rotation

Haslem Open To Front Office Role In Retirement

  • Veteran Heat big man Udonis Haslem hasn’t made a decision about retirement yet but he does know that when that time comes, he has no interest in coaching. He would, however, be open to serving in Miami’s front office, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes.

2018 NBA Offseason Salary Cap Digest: Miami Heat

After having been unable to lure a star free agent to Miami since LeBron James‘ exit, the Heat decided to invest in good – but not great – players during 2017 free agency. That means lucrative new deals for James Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, and Dion Waiters. With Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson also set to get big raises in 2018/19, the Heat don’t project to have cap room this summer and don’t have their first-round pick, so any major roster changes will have to come in trades.

Here’s where things currently stand for the Heat financially, as we continue our Offseason Salary Cap Digest series for 2018:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

  • None

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents

  • Jordan Mickey ($1,839,228 qualifying offer / $1,839,228 cap hold)
  • Total: $1,839,228

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

Projected Salary Cap: $101,000,000

Projected Cap Room: None

  • Even without re-signing Ellington, Wade, or any other free agents, the Heat project to be way over the cap. Their nine guaranteed salaries, McGruder’s non-guaranteed salary, and cap charges for two roster spots add up to a total team salary of $119,457,662. The Heat are likely headed for tax territory unless they can cut costs in a trade or two.

Footnotes:

  1. McGruder’s salary becomes fully guaranteed after June 30.

Note: Rookie scale cap holds are estimates based on salary cap projections and could increase or decrease depending on where the cap lands.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.