Heat Rumors

Eastern Notes: Martin-Garrett, Spoelstra, Bucks, Noah

The top-heavy Heat could benefit from their two-way players proving their NBA mettle sooner rather than later. Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel wonders if either of their two two-way players, guards Caleb Martin or Marcus Garrett, could find their way onto Miami’s 15-man roster by the end of the year.

Because of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, two-way player rules no longer have restrictions on how frequently two-way players can practice or travel with their NBA clubs. Winderman thinks Garrett will see more run with the Heat’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, but that Martin could carve out a fringe rotation role at the next level.

The 6’5″ Martin played his first two years with the Hornets, and holds career averages of 5.3 PPG, 2.5 RPG and 1.3 APG, with shooting splits of .391/.315/.682.

There’s more out of the East:

  • Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra could be a finalist to succeed Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich in future international competitions, opines Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Spoelstra coached the Select Team, comprised of young up-and-coming American players, who faced off against Team USA ahead of their gold medal run this summer.
  • The Bucks could look to more carefully manage the minutes of Olympic champions Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton, coming off the club’s championship run, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic in an extensive mailbag. Nehm anticipates that second-year forwards Jordan Nwora and Mamadi Diakite, as well as reserve point guard George Hill, will benefit the most from the resting of Holiday and Middleton.
  • Retiring former Bulls All-Star center Joakim Noah will be celebrated by Chicago during an October 28 Bulls-Knicks contest. The Knicks are led by Noah’s former Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, and feature his former Chicago teammates Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. The Bulls are currently led by Noah’s old college coach, Billy Donovan, with whom Noah won two straight NCAA titles with the University of Florida in 2006 and 2007. Noah was a two-time All-Star and the 2014 Defensive Player of the Year while with the Bulls.

Eastern Notes: Martin, Mills, Bucks, Heat

New Heat two-way forward Caleb Martin cited the team’s reputation, culture, and successful development history as key reasons why he joined the franchise, as Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald details. Martin, who spent the last two seasons with the Hornets, will join undrafted guard Marcus Garrett as Miami’s two-way players entering the season.

“The culture and the reputation were the big things that caught my eye,” Martin explained. “Obviously, the coaching staff and just everybody that’s involved over here. One of the things they said was they’re big on development. They’re going to work with me and do the best they can to make me the best player I can be. They think this is a great spot for me in terms of my playing style and I agree with that.”

Miami has a well-documented history of developing players — Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson being two of the most recent examples — something that Martin simply couldn’t ignore as a free agent.

“You hear a lot of great things about the organization in Miami,” he said. “It’s clear that they bring in winning players and a winning culture, and they do a great job of molding guys and developing guys through their program. Obviously, those were all key points for me when it’s time to choose somewhere to go.”

Here are some other notes from the Eastern Conference today:

Kasib Powell Named G League Coach

Kasib Powell has been named the Heat’s new G League head coach, according to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald.

Powell spent two seasons with Sioux Falls as a player and earned the 2007/08 G League MVP award. Eric Glass, who coached the Skyforce during the 2019/20 season, has rejoined the Heat’s staff.

Heat Notes: Offseason Moves, Oladipo, Two-Ways

The Heat‘s addition of Kyle Lowry represented one of the biggest splashes of the NBA offseason, and the team’s five-year commitment to Duncan Robinson and signing of P.J. Tucker were also major moves. Those transactions helped earn Miami a grade of A-minus from Zach Harper of The Athletic for the team’s offseason work.

Although Harper believes the Heat got better this summer, he suggests the club still has a couple holes on its roster, arguing that another lead guard to back up Lowry and another reliable outside shooter would be worthwhile additions. Unfortunately, Miami already has 14 players on guaranteed contracts and doesn’t have room to add a 15th right now without going into the tax. However, if Victor Oladipo gets healthy in the second half, he could provide much of what the Heat are missing.

Caleb Martin Signs Two-Way Contract With Heat

1:53pm: The Heat have officially signed Martin, the team announced in a press release.

12:48pm: Free agent forward Caleb Martin is signing a two-way contract with the Heat, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

Martin is known as a defense-oriented hustle player and holds career averages of 5.3 points and 2.5 rebounds in 16 MPG over two seasons with the Hornets.

Charlotte waived Martin last month before his salary for the 2021/22 season could become guaranteed. Charania notes that Caleb will now be competing against his twin brother Cody Martin in the same division — Cody remains a member of the Hornets.

Both of the Heat’s two-way contracts are now filled, after the team previously signed former Kansas guard Marcus Garrett. Once Martin’s deal is official, Miami will have a full 20-man preseason roster.

Eastern Notes: Heat Roster, Bosh, Simmons, Clifford

Now that the Heat have significantly reshaped their roster in the offseason, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel examines how willing Miami is to add a 15th player. Though Winderman allows that there are still players in free agency whose additions could improve the on-court product, he notes luxury tax worries could preclude the Heat from adding someone just yet. Winderman adds that a future trade could be the club’s route to making further roster tweaks changes instead.

The Heat’s most significant offseason change was undoubtedly the epic sign-and-trade agreement with 35-year-old veteran point guard Kyle Lowry. Miami also added versatile forward P.J. Tucker, fresh off a title run with the Bucks, and big man Markieff Morris, in addition to re-signing sharpshooter Duncan Robinson, reserve centers Dewayne Dedmon and Omer Yurtseven (though Yurtseven did not play a game with the Heat, he was on the roster at the end of the 2020/21 season), and guards Victor OladipoMax Strus and Gabe Vincent. Additionally, Miami inked All-NBA swingman Jimmy Butler to a lucrative maximum contract extension.

There’s more out of the East:

  • 2021 Hall of Fame inductee Chris Bosh could very well have wound up with the Bulls in 2010 free agency. Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel explores the Heat‘s backup plans had the club been unable to secure Bosh’s services. Winderman reveals that, at one point during the 2010 free agent hunt, Bosh relayed to an NBA executive that he would be joining Chicago. Had that transpired, Miami would have pivoted to adding some of the other All-Stars available that summer. “If, in fact, C.B. would have gone somewhere else, we had been recruiting Amar’e [Stoudemire] and we had recruited Joe Johnson,” Heat team president Pat Riley said of his next contingency moves. “It could have worked with Dwyane [Wade] and with LeBron [James], that that team would have been successful. But I don’t know if it would have been as successful as it was with Chris, because Chris was the ultimate complement.”
  • There is currently no end in sight for the Sixers‘ standoff with All-Star Ben Simmons. During a podcast conversation with Darren Wolfson of SKOR North, Brian Windhorst of ESPN indicated that he expects Simmons to remain away from the team through at least the start of the forthcoming 2021/22 NBA season.
  • Newly-added Nets coaching consultant Steve Clifford recently explained his anticipated role with the club, per Ernie Clark of the Bangor Daily News. “I’m here [in Brooklyn] a lot this month and through training camp, and I’ll be more of a resource,” Clifford said. “I’ll be watching a lot of film but most of the time I’ll still be living in Orlando. I’ll visit with the team once or twice a month and just take direction from [head coach] Steve Nash, whatever he wants me to do.” Clifford was previously a head coach with the Magic and Hornets across the past eight NBA seasons.

How Bulking Up Could Benefit Tyler Herro

  • Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel examines how bulking up could be beneficial for Heat guard Tyler Herro. The third-year Kentucky product has prioritized getting stronger during the offseason, something that could certainly help him defensively. On the offensive end, Herro has averaged 14.3 points and 2.8 assists in 109 regular-season games to this point, playing 28.8 minutes per contest.

Heat Add Potter, Smart, Smith To Camp Roster

The Heat have added forward Micah Potter and guards Javonte Smart and Dru Smith to their training camp roster, according to a team press release.

Potter appeared in six Summer League games with Miami and averaged 7.3 PPG and 3.5 RPG. He went undrafted out of Wisconsin.

Smart averaged 5.5 PPG, 2.8 RPG and 2.2 APG with Miami’s summer league squad. Smart played three seasons at LSU, becoming just the seventh player in school history to record at least 1,200 points, 300 assists and 111 steals.

Smith, who attended Missouri, also appeared in six Summer League games with the Heat and averaged 8.0 PPG, 2.5 APG and 1.17 SPG.

All three were signed to Exhibit 10 deals, bringing Miami’s camp roster to 19, one below the limit, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets.

Exhibit 10 contracts give NBA teams a chance to bring players to training camp and get a look at them without guaranteeing them a regular season roster spot or any real salary. All three could potentially earn a $50K bonus if they remain on the Sioux Falls Skyforce roster for at least 60 days. The Skyforce are the Heat’s G League affiliate.

The trio could also be competing for Miami’s open two-way slot.

Cavaliers Sign RJ Nembhard

10:00pm: The Cavaliers have officially signed Nembhard to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal, per RealGM.

3:01pm: The Cavaliers have reached an agreement on a deal with undrafted free agent RJ Nembhard, according to our JD Shaw (Twitter link), who reports that Nembhard will compete for a roster spot in training camp.

Nembhard was a redshirt junior for TCU in 2020/21 and averaged 15.7 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 4.0 APG in 24 games (34.9 MPG). The 6’5″ guard boosted his three-point percentage to 33.9% and made the All-Big 12 Third Team.

News of Nembhard’s agreement with the Cavaliers comes as a bit of a surprise, since Adrian Wojnarowski reported shortly after the draft that the rookie had agreed to a deal with the Heat. However, Woj’s report didn’t specify that Nembhard would attend training camp with the Heat — the 22-year-old played for Miami’s Summer League team, but it appears he’ll sign his first NBA contract with the Cavs rather than the Heat.

The Cavaliers have been busy in the last week, having signed Tacko Fall and Tre Scott to training camp deals and agreed to terms with Mitch Ballock as well. Like those camp invitees, Nembhard figures to receive a non-guaranteed contract that could put him in the mix for a two-way contract or even a spot on the 15-man roster. He’d also be a candidate to join the Cavs’ G League affiliate, the Cleveland Charge, if he’s cut before the regular season begins.

Heat Notes: Garrett, Okpala, Lowry, Aldridge, Herro

Heat rookie Marcus Garrett may take over KZ Okpala‘s role as a defensive specialist off the bench, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Garrett was a standout for Miami’s Summer League team and signed a two-way contract this week.

The Heat gave up three future second-round picks to acquire Okpala in a 2019 draft-day trade, but he has struggled with his shot during his first two NBA seasons. He connected at 37.5% from the field and 24.0% from three-point range in limited playing time last year. Winderman states that Garrett’s point-of-attack defense may be a better fit for the team and speculates that the playing time will go to whichever player produces more on offense.

There’s more from Miami:

  • The opportunity to win a title was the main reason that Kyle Lowry chose the Heat in free agency, Winderman relays in a separate story. Lowry explained his reasoning in a recent appearance on CJ McCollum‘s podcast. “For me, it’s only championships or bust,” he said. “Going to Miami, that was a situation where I feel like this is what they want to do. I have a close friend, Jimmy Butler, there and I feel like Miami, that’s what they want to do. It’s about winning championships.” Lowry later added, “If you aren’t playing for championships, what are you playing for? And that’s the only thought process that went into my free agency, is where do I go to become a champion?”
  • The Heat’s history with players who have serious medical conditions may have made them reluctant to pursue LaMarcus Aldridge, Winderman adds in another piece. Aldridge received medical clearance this week to return to the NBA after being forced into retirement when he was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat in April. He signed with the Nets, the team he joined after a buyout agreement with the Spurs last season. Miami has gone through similar health scares with Chris Bosh and Alonzo Mourning.
  • Picking up Tyler Herro‘s option for 2022/23 was an easy decision, but the Heat will face a tougher choice next summer when he’s eligible for a rookie scale extension, observes David Wilson of The Miami Herald. More than three quarters of Miami’s projected cap space through the 2023/24 season is tied up in Lowry, Butler, Bam Adebayo and Duncan Robinson, so extending Herro could result in a huge tax bill.