Miami Heat

NBA Teams That Still Have 2017/18 Cap Room

During the 2016 NBA offseason, when the salary camp jumped from $70MM to $94MM, 27 teams had cap room available, with only three clubs operating over the cap all year. A more modest cap increase this year to $99MM meant that fewer teams had cap space to use. So far, 14 teams – less than half the league – have used cap room to sign players.

Of those 14 teams, several have since used up all their cap room, including the Celtics, Knicks, Jazz, Lakers, and Timberwolves. However, there are still several teams around the NBA that have room available, or could create it without waiving and stretching any players on guaranteed salaries.

With the help of data from HeatHoops and Basketball Insiders, here’s a quick breakdown of teams that still have cap room available, along with their estimated space:

  • Atlanta Hawks: $4.6MM. The Hawks could gain slightly more space by waiving Luke Babbitt, whose salary is only partially guaranteed, but Atlanta just signed Babbitt, so that’s not a likely move.
  • Brooklyn Nets: $6.6MM. The Nets could gain slightly more space by waiving Spencer Dinwiddie, whose minimum salary contract is mostly non-guaranteed. However, I expect Brooklyn to keep Dinwiddie on its roster.
  • Denver Nuggets: $2.8MM. With Mason Plumlee‘s cap hold still on their books, the Nuggets’ cap room is fairly negligible. Denver could get up to about $8.6MM by renouncing Plumlee, but there’s no indication that’s in the plans.
  • Indiana Pacers: $7.6MM.
  • Philadelphia 76ers: $15.1MM. The Sixers could create even more space by waiving a player on a non-guaranteed contract, but the team isn’t about to part with Robert Covington, Richaun Holmes, or T.J. McConnell.
  • Phoenix Suns: $6.3MM. Alex Len‘s cap hold is taking up $12MM right now, and Phoenix is carrying a pair of non-guaranteed contracts (Elijah Millsap and Derrick Jones), so in theory the Suns could get all the way up to $21.2MM in space by renouncing Len and cutting those non-guaranteed players.
  • Sacramento Kings: $4.3MM.

The following two teams are essentially capped-out, but could create a very small amount of room if necessary:

  • Miami Heat: The Heat could create close to $1MM in space by waiving Rodney McGruder and Okaro White, whose salaries aren’t fully guaranteed. That almost certainly won’t happen.
  • Orlando Magic: The Magic are currently under the cap by about $550K, and could create up to about $1.34MM in space by waiving Khem Birch, whose salary is mostly non-guaranteed. Again, that’s not likely.

The following two teams are technically operating over the cap at the moment, with various trade and mid-level exceptions pushing them over the threshold, but they could create room if they choose to go under the cap:

  • Chicago Bulls: The Bulls could immediately create about $13.5MM in room by renouncing the rest of their MLE and the $15MM trade exception generated in the Jimmy Butler deal. If the team chose to waive David Nwaba, who is on a non-guaranteed deal, and renounced its free agent cap holds, including Nikola Mirotic‘s, that figure would increase to about $25.8MM.
  • Dallas Mavericks: Even without renouncing Nerlens Noel‘s cap hold, the Mavericks could get to $11.6MM in cap room by waiving their non-guaranteed players and dipping below the cap. Removing Noel’s cap hold on top of that could get the Mavs up over $22MM in room, but there’s been no indication that Dallas plans to go that route.

Dwyane Wade May Be A Bad Fit

A Dwyane Wade reunion with the Heat would create rotation and chemistry issues, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel explains in his latest mailbag. A buyout agreement between Wade and the rebuilding Bulls is possible, though not close to happening. It’s widely assumed Wade would seriously consider returning to Miami but the Heat already have plenty of options at the guard spots, Winderman notes. Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters, who was re-signed this summer, are the starters and Tyler Johnson is being paid lavishly to be the main backup. Josh RichardsonRodney McGruder and Wayne Ellington are also viable rotation options and if Wade were to close out games, coach Erik Spoelstra would have a tough dilemma deciding which player loses those minutes, Winderman continues. In fact, the Heat brass and coaching staff may privately be wishing they’re not faced with the prospect of Wade getting bought out and looking to re-join them, Winderman adds.

Jordan Mickey, Heat Close To Agreement

The Heat and forward Jordan Mickey are close to an agreement on a two-year contract, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets. Mickey would receive the guaranteed minimum of $1.5MM for the upcoming season and the team would hold an option on the second year, Charania adds. Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel confirms that the club is planning to sign Mickey (Twitter link) and that the contract is not a two-way deal.

Mickey was drafted 33rd overall in 2015 by the Celtics. He appeared in 16 games with them as a rookie and saw the court in 25 games, including one start, last season. The 6’8” power forward averaged 1.5 PPG and 1.4 RPG in 5.6 MPG in 2016/17.

The Heat, who are over the cap, have 12 players on guaranteed deals, two with partial guarantees, plus another on a non-guaranteed contract. He projects as the No. 3 power forward behind another former Celtic, Kelly Olynyk, and James Johnson.

The Celtics waived Mickey in mid-July in order to clear cap space and sign Gordon Hayward to a maximum salary contract. Mickey had an non-guaranteed contract with Boston for the upcoming season. He went unclaimed and became an unrestricted free agent but had little success finding a team until the Heat came calling.

When Mickey wasn’t playing in Boston the last two seasons, he was suiting up for the G-League’s Maine Red Claws. He averaged 18.6 PPG, 9.7 RPG, and 3.8 BPG in 35 G League contests.

Udonis Haslem Discusses Potential Reunion With Dwyane Wade

Veteran forward Udonis Haslem is the latest Heat player to express interest in bringing back Dwyane Wade if he agrees to a buyout in Chicago, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Interest in the possibility was reignited with a report Wednesday that Wade and the Bulls could part ways at some point this season.

Wade has a $23.8MM salary and doesn’t seem to fit on a team that started rebuilding by trading Jimmy Butler and not re-signing Rajon Rondo. A buyout is always a possibility, tweets K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune, but the Bulls haven’t changed their position that it would have to be “advantageous” to them, meaning Wade would have to give up a substantial amount of money.

He would have several options if that happens, with one obvious choice being a return to Miami, where he spent the first 13 seasons of his NBA career.

“I talk to D-Wade every day,” Haslem said today on radio station WQAM. “My advice to D-Wade and his advice has always been to me is, ‘Take it one day at a time. Just take it one day at a time, step by step.’ We kind of understand the direction that Chicago is going in. We kind of understand the direction that Dwyane wants to go in the last couple of years of his career. The business side of things sometimes doesn’t always allow both sides to co-exist.”

On Tuesday, Heat center Hassan Whiteside sent out a GIF on social media indicating he would like to see Wade return, and Dion Waiters endorsed the idea on Twitter in July.

The Heat are well over the salary cap after re-signing Waiters and James Johnson this summer and adding Kelly Olynyk in free agency. However, they have retained their mid-level exception, which gives them up to $4.3MM to offer Wade.

Winderman notes that a crowded backcourt could hinder the move, with Waiters and Goran Dragic cemented as starters and Tyler Johnson, Josh RichardsonRodney McGruder and Wayne Ellington in reserve. There’s also the possibility that Wade could find a reunion with LeBron James in Cleveland more desirable than a return to Miami.

Josh Richardson Extension Comparibles; James Johnson's Value

The contract extension that 2015 second-round pick Josh Richardson is eligible for with the Heat would value him similarly to NBA role players Matthew Dellavedova and Cristiano Felicio, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel writes.

Considering that Richardson is an established high character rotation piece already familiar with the Heat’s system, such an investment wouldn’t exactly be excessive.

Through two seasons with the Heat, Richardson has averaged 8.4 points on .374 shooting from beyond the arc. His length and ability to contribute on the defensive end make him one of the team’s most well-rounded assets.

As we wrote earlier this week, Richardson may be wise to wait until the June 2018 deadline before making his decision. If he doesn’t accept the four-year, $42MM extension with the Heat he’ll be a restricted free agent come July 1, 2018.

Kelly Olynyk Talks Miami, Free Agency, Whiteside

Kelly Olynyk signed a four-year, $50MM deal with the Heat this offseason, but he insists that his decision to come to Miami was about more than just the money. Coach Erik Spoelstra has used wings and big men as the team’s primary ball handler in the past, which is something that intrigues Olynyk.

“It’s awesome,” Olynyk said (via Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel) “Just that freedom to be able to play easy and free and not super-regimented is huge. I think it helps everybody out. It helps everybody’s skills, to be able to just kind of go with the flow and make things happen. That’s something that looking at Miami and talking to Spo and what his vision is and how they play, it’s something that’s very intriguing.”

The Gonzaga product talked about how he couldn’t have anticipated the ups and downs of free agency and added that he’s thrilled with his ultimate decision.

“You never really know about free agency until you actually go through it, and you don’t realize how crazy it really is,” Olynyk said. “But I’m blessed with an opportunity to be down here, really excited to get started down here.”

Olynyk has already found the practice courts and was able to get some work in alongside his new teammates in Miami. Hassan Whiteside was one of the players who were able to hit the practice courts with Olynyk and the two big man have already developed a friendship.

“He’s a great guy, a great character, a super nice guy,” Olynyk said of Whiteside. “But he’s a beast. I’m really excited to play with him and be able to play with a guy of his size and his abilities on the floor, defensively, offensively, on the glass. He’s awesome to be around and [I’m] really looking forward to playing with him.”

Olynyk, who plays both power forward and center, should see major minutes next to Whiteside this upcoming season. The 26-year-old is a career 36.8% shooter from behind the arc, something that will allow Miami to play the two 7-footers at the same time while maintaining good spacing.

And-Ones: Mexico City, Schedule, Llull, Thompson

The Nets will be involved in both games in Mexico City next season, the NBA announced today on its website. Brooklyn will face the Thunder on December 7th, followed by the Heat on December 9th at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico. The games will be the 25th and 26th in the country, more than other other nation besides the United States and Canada. “They will also mark the 25th anniversary of our first game in Mexico City, a milestone in our relationship with our Mexican fans and a further indication of our desire to strengthen our ties to Mexico and Latin America,” said commissioner Adam Silver.

There’s more news from around the league:

  • The NBA has sent a memo to all its teams explaining the changes in next season’s schedule, relays Brian Windhorst of ESPN. The season will start a week earlier, giving teams more days off with the goal of eliminating the practice of healthy players being rested. The new schedule also cuts out stretches of four games in five days and reduces the number of single-game road trips, among other improvements.
  • Spanish guard Sergio Llull, whose rights are owned by the Rockets, suffered an ACL injury today that will force him to miss EuroBasket and Euroleague for his Real Madrid team, tweets international basketball writer David Pick. Llull sent out a tweet thanking his fans and promising that he will return to action. Houston purchased Llull’s rights from Denver in 2009, but has been unable to convince the 29-year-old to leave Spain.
  • Hollis Thompson, who spent time with the Sixers and Pelicans last season, is in “advanced negotiations” with Olympiacos in Greece, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Thompson began the season with Philadelphia and played 31 games before being waived in early January. He signed a pair of 10-day contracts with New Orleans in February and March, appearing in nine games, but wasn’t retained when the second deal expired.

Poll: Which Southeast Team Had Best Offseason?

For multiple teams in the Southeast, the 2017 offseason was more about retaining their own players than going out and making a major splash via trade or free agency. That was especially true for the reigning division champs in Washington.

Not only did the Wizards match Brooklyn’s four-year, maximum salary offer sheet for Otto Porter — the club also completed another four-year, maximum salary extension, locking up John Wall far beyond the remaining two years on his current contract. Washington also made other minor changes to its roster, adding Jodie Meeks and Tim Frazier, but the team’s major moves involved keeping its current core intact.

The same can be said about the Heat, who pursued Gordon Hayward, but missed out and quickly shifted their focus back to their own free agents, finalizing new long-term contracts with James Johnson and Dion Waiters. Miami also made the biggest investment in the division on an outside free agent, striking a four-year, $45.6MM deal with Kelly Olynyk, which could be worth even more via incentives.

The Hawks brought back Ersan Ilyasova and Mike Muscala on new deals, but opted not to re-sign their top free agent, letting Paul Millsap go to Denver. The move was one of several made by Atlanta that will re-shape the roster for 2017/18. Dewayne Dedmon, Miles Plumlee, and Marco Belinelli are among the newly-added Hawks, while Tim Hardaway, Dwight Howard, Thabo Sefolosha, and Mike Dunleavy are a few of the players who left Atlanta this summer.

The Hornets were on the other end of a major trade with Atlanta, landing Howard in exchange for Belinelli and Plumlee. The cap-strapped Hornets didn’t have a lot of flexibility to make upgrades, but the additions of Howard, Malik Monk, and Michael Carter-Williams are intriguing moves for a club that underperformed in 2016/17.

Meanwhile, the Magic didn’t make any big-money investments in free agency, but landed Jonathon Simmons, Shelvin Mack, Arron Afflalo, and Marreese Speights on affordable deals, and added a tantalizing athlete in Jonathan Isaac in the draft.

What do you think? Which Southeast team has had the best offseason so far? Vote in our poll and then head to the comment section to share your thoughts.

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Previously:

Southeast Notes: Wall, G League, Heat, Magic

After agreeing to a four-year extension worth $170 million with the Wizards, which kicks in during the 2019 season, John Wall will be the face that runs the place for the foreseeable future. The super-max deal puts Wall in an elite class among his NBA peers and now he will have to be a leader for a talented team that has been on the cusp of an extended playoff run the last few years.

In a new in-depth feature, Michael Lee of The Vertical speaks to Wall and breaks down his future in the nation’s capital. While pursuing a deal to play in a large media market is enticing to many NBA players, Wall says he’s comfortable staying with the only team he’s ever suited up for.

“I think a lot of players want to be in a certain place. Who wouldn’t want to be in L.A.? Who wouldn’t want to be in Miami? Those are amazing cities. Well, I’m in one of the best cities you want to be, in D.C. So I’m fine,” Wall said.

While the entirety of Lee’s piece is worth the read, the fact that Wall’s role with the Wizards and expectations have soared into the forefront.

Below you can read additional tidbits of news surrounding the Southeast Division:

  • In a pair of Ask Ira columns on Monday and Tuesday, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel addressed several Heat-related topics. Winderman discusses how the Heat roster would look if Willie Reed had been re-signed, the team’s 2017/18 lineup, A.J. Hammons‘ possible G League stint, and Josh Richardson‘s future.
  • The Magic announced on Tuesday that the team’s new G League affiliate – the Lakeland Magic – has named Anthony Parker the general manager and Stan Heath the head coach. Parker has served as a scout in Orlando for the last half decade, while Heath sports an accomplished record as a college head coach.

Willie Reed Charged With Domestic Battery

Recently acquired Clippers center Willie Reed was charged with misdemeanor domestic battery, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. In addressing the incident, the NBA will call upon its new policy on domestic violence.

Incorporated in the league’s new collective bargaining agreement, active as of July 1, is a new protocol for investigating and dealing with such situations. While the league hasn’t specifically outlined predetermined punishments, the policy states that potential aggravating factors could influence the disciplinary action taken by the league.

To see the league’s full Policy on Domestic Violence, see Exhibit F of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (PDF hosted at NBPA’s website).

Two things listed as potentially aggravating factors include the player having prior allegations or convictions of prohibited conduct and the presence of a minor. Both apply in the case of Reed, as outlined in Winderman’s piece.

Reed, who played last season with the Heat, was booked in Miami-Dade on Sunday and was bailed out by former teammate Okaro White.

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