Heat Rumors

Heat Sign Max Strus

The Heat have signed free agent wing Max Strus, the team announced today in a press release. The club’s roster is now at 19 players.

While terms of the deal weren’t disclosed in Miami’s announcement, it figures to be a non-guaranteed training camp contract. Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald tweets that Strus will compete with Paul Eboua, Breein Tyree, and possibly one more player to claim the Heat’s second two-way contract slot. Gabe Vincent currently occupies one of those two slots.

Strus, 24, spent last season on a two-way contract with the Bulls. The former DePaul standout appeared in 13 games for the Windy City Bulls in the G League and two contests for Chicago in the NBA before a torn ACL prematurely ended his season. He suffered that injury more than 11 months ago, so presumably, if Miami is comfortable signing him, he’ll be ready to go for training camp.

Southeast Notes: Heat, Beal, Wizards, Magic, Hayward

If Giannis Antetokounmpo opts to sign a five-year, $228MM super-max contract extension with the Bucks over these next few weeks, Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal will likely become the No. 1 target for the Heat, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes.

Miami has diligently preserved cap space for the summer of 2021, when superstars such as Antetokoumnpo could reach free agency and ultimately meet with the team. The Heat did choose to sign centerpiece Bam Adebayo to a five-year extension and limit their cap space last week, with Adebayo and Antetokounmpo sharing the same agent.

Beal, 27, averaged a career-high 30.5 points per game this past season, shooting 46% from the floor and 35% from downtown. The Heat have several trade assets that could be used in a deal, including Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn and Kelly Olynyk. Antetokounmpo has yet to make a decision thus far.

There’s more from the Southeast Division tonight:

  • Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington lists five questions for the Wizards entering training camp this week. John Wall reportedly requested a trade earlier this month, with general manager Tommy Sheppard recently downplaying the report and insisting their relationship remains intact. Besides Wall, the team must also decide who to start at small forward next season, with Rui HachimuraDeni Avdija and Troy Brown Jr. being the most likely candidates.
  • Josh Robbins of The Athletic examines whether the Magic tend to overvalue their own players. Orlando finished with the eight-best record in the Eastern Conference at 33-40 last season, losing point guard D.J. Augustin to Milwaukee in free agency. The team retained Evan Fournier after he exercised his $17.15MM player option, however, with the 28-year-old averaging a career-high 18.5 points per game last season.
  • Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer explores the implications from the Hornets agreeing to a four-year, $120MM deal with Gordon Hayward, breaking it down from a cap and roster perspective. Charlotte officially acquired the former NBA All-Star in a sign-and-trade with the Celtics on Sunday.

Southeast Notes: Adebayo, Bertans, Rondo, Mane

Heat president Pat Riley said signing Bam Adebayo to an extension was an easy decision, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. At age 23, Adebayo has already become one of the league’s best big men, averaging 15.9 points, 10.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists last season while making his first All-Star appearance.

“One of the most important things a franchise can do is to make sure that your best, youngest, cornerstone players sign on the dotted line,” Riley said. “Getting Bam his extension was a no-brainer for us because we know he will be around for years to come. That’s great for the Heat, great for the fans and great for Bam.”

Adebayo will only receive a full super-max deal, paying him 30% of the salary cap, if he earns MVP honors, tweets John Hollinger of The Athletic. That figure is 28.5% if he is a first-team All-NBA selection and 27.5% if he wins Defensive Player of the Year. If none of those things happen, Adebayo will be paid 25% of the cap. Those figures are confirmed by Chiang, who adds that Adebayo’s new contract doesn’t contain any player or team options (Twitter link).

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Re-signing Davis Bertans gives the Wizards one sure thing on a roster filled with uncertainty, states Ava Wallace of The Washington Post. Bertans developed into one of the NBA’s most dangerous three-point shooters during his first season in Washington and was rewarded with a five-year, $80MM contract. “There’d been talk from (general manager Tommy Sheppard) and the Wizards that they wanted me to stay,” Bertans said. “But until it comes to free agency, you actually get the call that the team wants you, you can’t be sure. I was happy that it wasn’t just some talk from Tommy and the whole team, that they really, really wanted me to come back.”
  • Rajon Rondo‘s new contract with the Hawks includes a $750K incentive if he plays at least 33 games and the team reaches the playoffs, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders.
  • Karim Mane, who signed a two-way contract with the Magic on Friday, has similarities in his game to Victor Oladipo and Jrue Holiday, observes Josh Cohen of NBA.com. Mane is relentless on defense, excelling in traps, and is hard for defenders to stay in front of when he drives to the basket.

Heat Re-Sign Udonis Haslem

NOVEMBER 28: The new contract is official, the Heat announced on Twitter.

“It’s great to have UD back,” team president Pat Riley said. “His role is so critical for our team. Besides being able to still play, UD keeps everyone together in the locker room and on the road, teaching and mentoring.” (Twitter link from Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald)

NOVEMBER 20: The Heat have agreed to a new deal with veteran big man Udonis Haslem, Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press tweets. Haslem will officially return for an 18th consecutive season with the team.

Haslem, 40, committed to re-signing with the Heat earlier this month, bypassing potential retirement. He’s won three championships during his time with Miami (2005-06, 2011-12 and 2012-13), transitioning into a veteran role with the club this the past decade.

Several Heat players have raved about Haslem’s impact in the locker room as the team’s captain, particularly during the club’s impressive postseason run in Orlando. Miami was expected to explore its options and keep Haslem around in some capacity — even if he did choose to retire. On the court, he’s only appeared in 44 regular-season games since the 2016-17 campaign.

In addition to Haslem, the Heat also managed to strike deals with free agents Goran Dragic and Meyers Leonard early in free agency. The team still has Jae Crowder, Derrick Jones Jr. and Solomon Hill on the open market, with Crowder starting in the playoffs and the latter two seeing inconsistent time.

Jae Crowder Signs Three-Year Deal With Suns

NOVEMBER 28, 3:37pm: Crowder has officially signed, per team press release.

NOVEMBER 21, 1:03pm: The Suns have reached an agreement to sign Jae Crowder to a three-year contract, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter). The deal will be worth just shy of $30MM, tweets Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Phoenix will use its full mid-level exception to complete the signing.

Crowder, who finished the season in Miami, reportedly explored a new deal with the Heat, but was seeking a guaranteed multiyear commitment that the Heat weren’t comfortable with, per Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link).

League sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link) that Crowder also drew interest from the Mavericks, Timberwolves, Clippers, and Hornets, but that Phoenix’s offer was ultimately too good to pass up.

Crowder, 30, provides value as a three-and-D player who has the size to guard bigger wings. He also played some of his best basketball at exactly the right time in his contract year.

After being traded from the Grizzlies to the Heat at last season’s deadline, the veteran forward made 44.5% of his threes for Miami in 20 games to finish the season, then started all 21 postseason contests as the Heat came within two wins of a title.

Having secured a commitment from Crowder and having traded for All-Star point guard Chris Paul earlier in the week, the Suns are looking like an intriguing playoff contender in the Western Conference this season. The team finished five games below .500 in 2019/20, but had an impressive 8-0 run in the Walt Disney World bubble, increasing expectations for ’20/21.

Paul and Crowder will join a promising group that includes star guard Devin Booker, former No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton, and young wings Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson, among others. The Suns also still hope to re-sign restricted free agent forward Dario Saric, per John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Heat Sign Bam Adebayo To Maximum-Salary Extension

NOVEMBER 28, 3:18pm: Adebayo has officially signed the contract, according to a team press release.

NOVEMBER 24, 2:39pm: The Heat and Adebayo have agreed to terms on the extension, reports ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Twitter link). It’s straight five-year deal, with no player or team option, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald (Twitter link).

Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link) confirms that Adebayo’s new maximum-salary extension will have Rose Rule language and could start at up to 30% of the 2021/22 cap rather than 25%, as detailed below.

NOVEMBER 24, 12:29pm: The Heat are moving forward with a contract extension for fourth-year big man Bam Adebayo, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter link). Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press confirms (via Twitter) that the club is in the process of extending Adebayo’s deal.

Adebayo was one of two dozen players eligible for a rookie scale extension entering the offseason. Coming off a breakout year, he looked like one of the most deserving candidates for a new deal, along with Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell, and De’Aaron Fox, all of whom have agreed to maximum-salary extensions in recent days.

However, the Heat’s salary cap situation complicated the team’s decision. Miami has been focused on preserving as much cap room as possible for the 2021 offseason, and a new deal for Adebayo will increase his cap charge from a hold worth about $15MM to a new salary worth at least $28MM (f he gets the max), eliminating the possibility of a max-salary slot for a free agent.

The fact that the Heat are now moving forward on an extension for Adebayo could mean a number of things. Maybe Adebayo wasn’t waiting a year for his new contract; maybe the Heat remain confident that if a star like Giannis Antetokounmpo is available and wants to play in Miami next year, they’ll be able to figure it out even without the necessary cap room, like they did for Jimmy Butler in 2019; or maybe the Heat believe Antetokounmpo is becoming more likely to sign a super-max extension with the Bucks and remain in Milwaukee.

According to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link), someone who knows Giannis well told him that the reigning MVP would be impressed by the Heat extending Adebayo early rather than making him wait until next year. Still, if Antetokounmpo is moving closer to accepting a deal with the Bucks, Adebayo’s agent Alex Saratsis would certainly know about it — he also represents Giannis.

Whatever the thinking, it’s good news for Adebayo, who was a full-time starter for the Heat in the first time in 2019/20 and responded with an All-Star performance, averaging 15.9 PPG, 10.2 RPG, and 5.1 APG in 72 games (33.6 MPG).

He also helped anchor Miami’s defense, blocking 1.3 shots per game and averaging 1.1 steals as well. His play was crucial in helping the Heat reach the NBA Finals, though his ability to contribute in that series against the Lakers was compromised by a neck injury.

The Heat are expected to give Adebayo a five-year maximum-salary contract that will match the ones signed by those other young stars from his draft class, as Winderman reports. That would put the 23-year-old on track to earn at least $163MM and as much as $195.6MM over the life of the deal, based on current cap projections. The new contract will begin in 2021/22, once his rookie deal expires.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NBA Teams With Hard Caps For 2020/21

The NBA salary cap is somewhat malleable, with various exceptions allowing every team to surpass the $109,140,000 threshold once their room is used up. In some cases, teams blow past not only the cap limit, but the luxury-tax limit of $132,627,000 as well — the Warriors project to have a nine-figure tax bill this season as a result of their spending.

The NBA doesn’t have a “hard cap” by default, which allows a club like Golden State to build a significant payroll without violating CBA rules. However, there are certain scenarios in which teams can be hard-capped, as we explain in a glossary entry.

When a club uses the bi-annual exception, acquires a player via sign-and-trade, or uses more than the taxpayer portion ($5,718,000) of the mid-level exception, that club will face a hard cap for the remainder of the league year.

When a team becomes hard-capped, it cannot exceed the “tax apron” at any point during the rest of the league year. The tax apron was set $6MM above the luxury tax line in 2017/18 (the first year of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement) and creeps up a little higher each time the cap increases. For the 2020/21 league year, the tax apron – and hard cap for certain clubs – is set at $138,928,000.

More than half the teams in the NBA have been willing to hard-cap themselves this offseason, and in some cases, it will significantly impact a team’s ability to add further reinforcements later in the league year. The Bucks and Lakers are among the teams right up against the hard cap, which may prevent them from being players in free agency during the season unless they can shed salary.

For other clubs, the hard cap is just a technicality that won’t affect their plans. The Hawks and Thunder are among the hard-capped clubs that will have zero practical concerns about reaching that threshold in 2020/21.

Listed below are the hard-capped teams for the 2020/21 league year, along with how they created a hard cap.

Atlanta Hawks

Boston Celtics

Charlotte Hornets

Dallas Mavericks

Denver Nuggets

Detroit Pistons

  • Acquired Jerami Grant from the Nuggets via sign-and-trade.

Houston Rockets

Los Angeles Clippers

  • Using non-taxpayer mid-level exception on Serge Ibaka.

Los Angeles Lakers

Miami Heat

Milwaukee Bucks

New York Knicks

Oklahoma City Thunder

Phoenix Suns

  • Using non-taxpayer mid-level exception on Jae Crowder.

Portland Trail Blazers

Toronto Raptors

Utah Jazz

Washington Wizards

  • Using non-taxpayer mid-level exception on Robin Lopez.

This list could continue to grow during the offseason if other teams acquire a player via sign-and-trade, use more than the taxpayer portion of their mid-level exception, or use their bi-annual exception.

Heat Sign Precious Achiuwa To Rookie Deal

The Heat have officially signed first-round pick Precious Achiuwa to his rookie contract, tweeting out a photo today that shows the rookie forward putting pen to paper.

The No. 20 overall pick in last Wednesday’s draft, Achiuwa signed for 120% of his rookie scale figure, the maximum possible amount permitted by the league, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). That’ll result in a $2.58MM first-year salary with an overall value of $12.51MM on his four-year contract.

[RELATED: Rookie Scale Salaries For 2020 NBA First-Round Picks]

In his first and only college season at Memphis, Achiuwa was one of the nation’s most impressive freshmen, averaging 15.8 PPG, 10.8 RPG, and 1.9 BPG while shooting 49.3% from the floor in 31 games (30.4 MPG). He was named the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year.

We’re tracking all of this year’s draft pick signings right here.

Southeast Notes: Bradley, Adebayo, Gallinari, Pasecniks, MCW

Introduced on Tuesday as a newly-signed member of the Heat, guard Avery Bradley cited the oft-lauded “Heat culture” as one of the key reasons why he wanted to join the team, as Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald write.

“I always felt like if I ever got an an opportunity to play here, I would fit in perfect,” Bradley said. “Once the opportunity presented itself, I knew I would take advantage of it. I’m excited because I do feel like I’m a perfect fit. We all know what it means to be a Miami Heat player — the passion, the dedication it takes to be a part of this culture. I think our team is going to be really good. I’m excited to be part of Miami and part of a great culture like this. I felt wanted.”

Maurice Harkless, who also officially signed with Miami this week, said talking to former Portland teammate Meyers Leonard helped convince him to join the Heat.

“The big thing that Meyers said and he talked about all the time was just the people in the organization and how everyone carried themselves and how everyone came to work every day,” Harkless said. “It’s just what everybody else talks about, the culture. He really embraced it and he spoke highly of everything that goes on in this organization. Hearing that from him, it made my decision a lot easier.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • After reaching an agreement with the Heat on a maximum-salary extension on Tuesday, Bam Adebayo told reporters – including Chiang and Jackson – that he never really had a conversation with the team about waiting until next year to sign his new deal. “Me and (Heat president Pat Riley) met one on one, and we kind of talked through it,” Adebayo said. “We both thought it was the right decision.”
  • The third year on Danilo Gallinari‘s new $61.5MM contract with the Hawks will only be partially guaranteed, according to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic, who tweets that the forward will be assured of $5MM of his $21.4MM salary in that final year (2022/23).
  • The Wizards and big man Anzejs Pasecniks have agreed to push back his salary guarantee deadline from this week to February 1, reports ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). Pasecniks, who currently has a $350K guarantee on his $1.5MM salary, may have been waived if Washington had been forced to make an immediate decision.
  • Michael Carter-Williams‘ new two-year deal with the Magic features two fully guaranteed seasons worth $3.3MM apiece, according to Marks (Twitter link).

Western Contract Details: Grizzlies, KCP, Hood, Thunder

John Konchar‘s new deal with the Grizzlies, which will use part of the team’s mid-level exception, is guaranteed for the first two seasons, according to Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). In 2022/23, only $840K of Konchar’s full $2.3MM salary is guaranteed, and his $2.4MM salary for ’23/24 is non-guaranteed, Smith adds.

Konchar was one of a handful of Grizzlies who signed a multiyear contract that isn’t fully guaranteed on the back end. As Smith explains (via Twitter), De’Anthony Melton‘s four-year contract, which has a descending structure, only has a partial guaranteed of $1.5MM on his $8MM salary for 2023/24.

Meanwhile, Jontay Porter, who got a three-year deal, has a partial guarantee of $300K on his $1.95MM salary for 2021/22, then has a non-guaranteed $2MM salary in ’22/23, per Smith (Twitter link). Porter’s contract also came out of Memphis’ MLE.

Here are a few more contract details from around the Western Conference, all courtesy of Smith: