Miami Heat

Assistant GM Adam Simon Profiled; Celtics Never Offered Nets Pick For Winslow

Dion Waiters Wants To Remain With Heat

Dion Waiters holds a $3MM player option to remain with the Heat for the 2017/18 season. He’s likely to turn that down, but it doesn’t mean he’s looking for a new team.

“I want to be there,” Waiters said of Miami on The Hochman and Crowder Show on WQAM (h/t Anthony Chiang of the Palm Beach Post). “When that time comes and we sit down, we just got to make it happen. Let’s get it over with as quick as possible.”

The Philadelphia native cites “Heat culture” as a reason he wants to return to South Beach next season.

“The things that they preach to us and really speaking it into existence, and being able to really buy in and see the results,” Waiters added. “I think once you start seeing the results, you start to trust the process more. That was my whole thing. My thing was about seeing the results. When I listen and I’m locked in, you see the results. And as far as my body, just being able to maintain the weight that I lost to help my play was huge for me.”

Waiters had a productive year one in Miami. He scored 15.8 points per contest and Chaing envisions him signing a contract with annual values around $15MM. The shooting guard made just under $3MM this season and he’s made slightly under $20MM during his five-year career.

Miami can carve out approximately $38MM in cap room this summer. Pat Riley has been known to chase stars and if one wants to join the Heat on a max contract, the team wouldn’t have the flexibility to add Waiters on a lucrative deal. Despite the threat of a bigger fish joining the team, the 25-year-old is optimistic about his chances of returning to the franchise.

“I think I’ll be back [with the Heat],” Waiters said. “We just got to make it work and hopefully everything can come together full circle.”

2017 NBA Draft Lottery Results

The Celtics will pick first overall in the 2017 NBA draft, having won Tuesday night’s lottery one night after they advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. The C’s, who exercised their rights to swap with the Nets, entered the lottery with the best odds (25.0%) to land that No. 1 overall pick.

The Lakers were the other big winners in the lottery, moving up to No. 2, ensuring that they’ll keep both this year’s pick and 2019’s first-rounder. Had Los Angeles’ pick fallen outside of the top three, it would have been sent to the Sixers, and the Lakers would’ve owed their unprotected 2019 first-rounder to Orlando. Instead, the Lakers will keep this year’s pick and 2019’s, and will send Philadelphia their unprotected 2018 first-round selection.

The Kings also moved up into the top three, but the Sixers will acquire that pick, exercising their right to swap with Sacramento. The Kings will pick at No. 5, which is where Philadelphia would have selected. Sacramento will also land the Pelicans’ selection at No. 10. That New Orleans selection was acquired by the Kings in February’s DeMarcus Cousins trade and was top-three protected.

The Suns are the night’s biggest losers, having moved from No. 2 in the lottery standings down to No. 4 overall. The Magic, Timberwolves, and Knicks each moved down one spot as well.

Here’s the full lottery order for the 2017 NBA draft:

  1. Boston Celtics (via Nets)
  2. Los Angeles Lakers
  3. Philadelphia 76ers (swapped with Kings)
  4. Phoenix Suns
  5. Sacramento Kings (swapped with Sixers)
  6. Orlando Magic
  7. Minnesota Timberwolves
  8. New York Knicks
  9. Dallas Mavericks
  10. Sacramento Kings (via Pelicans)
  11. Charlotte Hornets
  12. Detroit Pistons
  13. Denver Nuggets
  14. Miami Heat

Tonight’s lottery results are fascinating on a number of levels, but particularly so for two of the NBA’s most-storied franchises, the Celtics and Lakers. Boston is in position to either pick a player like point guard Markelle Fultz, considered by draft experts to be a future star, or to dangle that No. 1 overall pick in a trade for an established veteran star next month. The Celtics are coming off a season in which they earned the top seed in the East, and they also own the Nets’ unprotected first-round pick in 2018, so the franchise is extremely well-positioned for the future.

As for the Lakers, they’ll breathe a sigh of relief after hanging onto their 2017 first-rounder, and they’re in position to create a union that has been the subject of much speculation in recent weeks. UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball is widely viewed as the second-best prospect in this year’s draft, and he and his father LaVar have made no secret of the fact that Lonzo wants to play for the Lakers. Tonight’s lottery results make that a very real possibility.

The Kings are another winner tonight, having moved up from No. 8 to No. 5 and having also held onto the Pelicans’ pick at No. 10. Sacramento will be in a great position to pick two cornerstone pieces to kickstart the club’s rebuilding process.

Southeast Notes: Wall, Porter, Gortat, Waiters, Ball

During the Wizards‘ Game 7 loss to the Celtics, Washington’s bench was outscored 48 to 5. That glaring disparity was certainly not lost on John Wall, writes Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. In fact, Wall’s last words before leaving the court Monday night were, “Forty-eight to five,” which he then repeated before departing with, “Our bench had five points.”

Here’s more out of the Southeast:

  • Despite the immense disappointment Wizards players are feeling after their Game 7 defeat, players expressed confidence that the team can continue to compete at a high level if it can keep its best players together. Otto Porter, a restricted free agent this offseason, is considered by teammates Wall, Bradley Beal, and Markieff Morris to be a vital part of the team’s core, reports Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Morris tells Buckner that Porter is worth a max contract and he hopes that he gets it.
  • As reported earlier today, Marcin Gortat feels underappreciated by the Wizards and may request a trade.  More details and quotes on Gortat’s feelings can be found via Candace Buckner of The Washington Post.
  • Impeding Heat free agent Dion Waiters said that the Heat do not need Lonzo Ball because they are covered at the point guard position with Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson, and “other [players],”  reports Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Waiters also offered advice for Ball: “He’s got to go somewhere where he’s able to play his game. He’s got to go somewhere where he’s able to make mistakes. Because I think in this game today, he’s got to be able to make mistakes and have a coach who allows you to make mistakes, and you can learn from it.”
  • Luke Babbitt‘s future with the Heat is written about by Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Winderman concludes that, while Babbitt likely will not be an offseason priority for the Heat, the team will consider him because of his Bird Rights and skill set.

NBA Confirms Lottery Reps, Will Announce All-NBA Teams On Thursday

The NBA confirmed each team’s representatives today for this year’s draft lottery, which will take place on Tuesday night. As confirmed by the league (via Twitter), here are this year’s reps for lottery teams:

  1. Boston Celtics: Wyc Grousbeck (owner)
  2. Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker
  3. Los Angeles Lakers: Magic Johnson (president of basketball operations)
  4. Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid
  5. Orlando Magic: Frank Vogel (head coach)
  6. Minnesota Timberwolves: Andrew Wiggins
  7. New York Knicks: Walt Frazier (MSG Network broadcaster)
  8. Sacramento Kings: Dave Joerger (head coach)
  9. Dallas Mavericks: Michael Finley (assistant VP of basketball operations)
  10. New Orleans Pelicans: Alvin Gentry (head coach)
  11. Charlotte Hornets: Rich Cho (GM)
  12. Detroit Pistons: Jeff Bower (GM)
  13. Denver Nuggets: Gary Harris
  14. Miami Heat: Alonzo Mourning (VP of player programs)

Additionally, the NBA also announced that it will reveal several award winners and award finalists later this week. The league will unveil its three All-NBA teams on Thursday. Then, prior to the Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Friday, the NBA will name its three finalists for each major award: MVP, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, Most Improved Player, and Coach of the Year.

Those individual awards won’t be officially announced until June 26, during the NBA’s inaugural awards broadcast on TNT. However, the All-NBA announcement on Thursday will be an intriguing one. A team’s ability to offer a player a more lucrative Designated Veteran Extension hinges on whether or not he earns an All-NBA nod. So teams like the Pacers and Jazz will be watching very closely to see if Paul George and Gordon Hayward earn All-NBA spots and become eligible for those super-max extensions.

Cavaliers Notes: Lue, Brown, Blatt, Defense

A broken hand suffered by reserve center Edy Tavares has reinforced Tyronn Lue’s decision not to scrimmage during the Cavaliers’ long break, writes Marla Ridenour of The Akron Beacon Journal. Lue is working to keep the Cavs focused during a nine-day layoff as they await the winner of the Celtics-Wizards series. Lue admits the team is “itching to play” as he guides the players through walkthroughs, but he won’t consider scrimmages because of the injury risk. Point guard Kyrie Irving supports the decision. “An incident happened in practice where somebody got hit in the hand and it just wasn’t good,” Irving said. “I was about to come out and play five-on-five and the incident happened three seconds later as T-Lue comes out of the door. Naw, I’m not for scrimmaging right now until the game.”

There’s more news today as the wait continues in Cleveland:

  • Mike Brown and David Blatt have both prospered since being fired by the Cavaliers, notes Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. Brown took two years off after his dismissal, passing on chances to become a lead assistant with the Thunder and head coach at Nevada-Las Vegas. Last summer, he became the Warriors’ top assistant and has assumed head coaching duties with Steve Kerr sidelined for health reasons. Brown could wind up coaching against the Cavs in the NBA Finals. Blatt, who was fired midway through last year’s championship season, is the highest-paid coach in Europe, guiding Darussafaka Dogus in the Turkish League. He led the club to its first-ever Euroleague playoff berth.
  • After struggling on defense all season, the Cavaliers have improved on that end in the playoffs, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. The Cavs ranked 22nd in defensive efficiency during the season, but are fourth since the postseason began. Still, Lue jokes that he wishes the players could remember their defensive assignments as well as they remember their pre-game handshake routines.
  • The Cavaliers are among the teams showing interest in Arizona shooting guard Rawle Alkins, according to Sam Amico of Amicohoops. Cleveland doesn’t have a pick in this year’s draft, but could buy a late selection like it did last year to obtain Kay Felder. The Cavaliers, Thunder, Pelicans and Heat have all contacted Alkins’ high school coach to get more information, according to Adam Zagoria of Fanrag Sports (Twitter link).

Heat Need To Rebuild Draft Future; Important Contract Dates Ahead

  • The Heat should consider trading down in the draft if they don’t get lucky in Tuesday’s lottery, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. After barely missing the playoffs on a tie-breaker, Miami has the worst odds of any lottery team. The Heat have just a 0.5% chance to land the No. 1 pick and only a slightly better shot at slots two and three. While options such as Justin Jackson, Ivan Rabb, John Collins or T.J. Leaf might be tempting at No. 14, Winderman believes Miami would be better off trying to rebuild its draft future. The Heat owe their first-round picks in 2018 and 2021 to Phoenix and don’t have a second-round pick until 2022.
  • The Heat have some important contract dates in the next few weeks, Winderman notes in the same piece. Josh McRoberts, Dion Waiters and Willie Reed all have a June 29th deadline to decide whether to opt out for next season. Josh Richardson‘s $1,471,382 salary for 2017/18 becomes fully guaranteed a day later, as does Okaro White‘s $1,312,611 figure on July 1st. Winderman expects McRoberts to opt in for $6MM, Waiters and Reed to both opt out and the team to guarantee Richardson’s salary while getting White to defer his guarantee date.

Heat Notes: McRoberts, Waiters, Johnson

The Heat could have between $33MM and $43MM in cap space this offseason depending on what happens with Wayne Ellington, who’s on a $6.27MM non-guaranteed contract for next season, and Josh McRoberts, who has a player option worth roughly $6.02MM, Bobby Marks of The Vertical writes. Marks notes that McRoberts is likely to opt in, but the team could utilize the stretch provision to generate additional cap space. The big man was only able to play in 22 games for Miami this season because of various foot injuries.

Here’s more from Miami:

  • Dion Waiters and James Johnson had excellent debut seasons for the Heat and Marks (same piece) projects both players to earn an annual salary above the $8.4 mid-level exception on their next deals. Teams over the cap will have that amount to spend, though teams that enter the offseason season with cap space will only have the $4.3MM mid-level at their disposal (after their cap space has been exhausted). Miami falls into the latter category.
  • Pat Riley, who signed a five-year extension to stay on as the team’s president last year, will continue to split his time between Malibu, California and Miami, Florida, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel relays. Winderman notes that it’s not uncommon for high-ranking executives to work in cities where their teams do not reside.
  • It may not make sense for the Heat to move up in the draft, Winderman opines in a separate piece. Miami will be without a first-round pick next year as a result of the Goran Dragic deal and Winderman believes it may not be wise to further mortgage the future.

Heat Notes: Ellington, Carmelo, Gay, Draft

While a few of his Heat teammates – including Dion Waiters and Josh McRoberts – hold player options for the coming season, Wayne Ellington doesn’t have the same sort of control over his future with the team. Ellington’s $6.27MM salary for 2017/18 is non-guaranteed, so he’ll have to count on Miami keeping him on its roster. And as he tells Tom D’Angelo of The Palm Beach Post, Ellington is hoping to stick around.

“This is the place that I want to be,” Ellington said. “This is the place that feels like home to me; that feels really good to me. I feel like the things that we accomplished on the court show that. So we’ll see what happens, man, but I have a good feeling.”

Ellington scored a career-high 10.5 PPG off the bench for the Heat this season, making 2.4 three-pointers per game at a 37.8% rate. As D’Angelo notes, the club would like to clear as much cap room as it can this summer to pursue outside help and retain its own free agents, but Ellington looks like a solid bargain at $6MM+, so it would be a surprise to see him go anywhere.

Here’s more from out of Miami:

  • One person in touch with the Heat tells Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald that he doesn’t expect the Heat to pursue Carmelo Anthony as a trade target this offseason. As Jackson explains, Anthony’s onerous salary and trade kicker make him an unappealing option for the club.
  • Rudy Gay may be a more realistic target for the Heat, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. However, Winderman doesn’t think Miami would be in on Gay if he’s hoping to match or exceed the $14MM+ salary he’s turning down for 2017/18. Miami’s plans for Justise Winslow and the club’s ability to bring back James Johnson would also be complicating factors.
  • Since the Heat often trade first-round picks and rarely finish in the lottery, the team’s scouting department doesn’t have many chances to target top prospects in the draft. So with an opportunity to pick in the lottery this season, Miami can’t afford to swing and miss, Winderman writes in a separate Sun Sentinel piece. “We probably don’t draft a guy who’s really a project and feel like he’s two or three years away,” said Chet Kammerer, the Heat’s VP of player personnel. “We are not going to gamble quite as much as some other organization because they have two picks in the first round every year. So they look at it a little bit different.”

Tyler Johnson Possibly Being Moved?

The Thunder may look to free up cap space this summer to lure a superstar free agent to pair with possible 2017 MVP Russell Westbrook. Trading big man Enes Kanter could be one option, as he’s owed $17.9MM next season; however, the Heat would likely not be a trade partner, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel says in his latest Ask Ira column.

Winderman is asked if a potential Tyler Johnson-for-Kanter swap makes sense given both players’ lofty contracts. However, Johnson will make just $5.9MM next season, so a hypothetical swap would cut down Miami’s cap space from $37MM to $25MM next season. Also, the Heat will likely pursue new deals with James Johnson and Dion Waiters, and committing significant dollars to Kanter is not conducive to keeping that core intact.

While the allure of having Hassan Whiteside and Kanter manning the frontcourt sounds enticing, Winderman notes that neither man is an outside shooter, which would clog the paint for the Heat.

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