Heat Rumors

Eastern Notes: Heat, Spoelstra, Mokoka, Osman

With the NBA declaring it will strongly enforce free agency rules pertaining to tampering going forward, Ira Winderman examines what this message means and how it could affect the Heat’s 2021 summer plans in a story for the Sun Sentinel. Miami is expected to have enough salary-cap space to sign a second max player by then, with several expensive contracts set to expire.

Many league observers believe the Heat had Jimmy Butler locked up ahead of the June 30 free agency start this summer, but as seen with players such as Kemba Walker (Celtics), Kyrie Irving (Nets) and Kevin Durant (Nets), several other teams around the league took a similar approach with free agents.

The rules, as explained by Winderman, are simple: Teams are not allowed to contact players until the official start of free agency.

Tampering has been an increasingly prevalent issue in today’s NBA, with members of the league office actively exploring how to improve the problem. The NBA’s Board of Governors unanimously voted on new rules to reportedly make tampering penalties stricter going forward, as noted in a recent Hoops Rumors story.

Miami was also thought to have LeBron James and Chris Bosh committed to deals before the free agency period opened back in 2010, but as Winderman notes, officials inside the organization denied these claims and investigations outside the team didn’t lead to any evidence of tampering.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference tonight:

  • The Heat could benefit from head coach Erik Spoelstra effectively selling his bench to certain players this season, Winderman notes in a separate story for the Sun Sentinel. Spoelstra will have a number of options to choose from in his rotation, including whether to star Justise Winslow or Goran Dragic at point guard, Kelly Olynyk or James Johnson at power forward and more.
  • Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago previews what Adam Mokoka could bring to the Bulls this season, with the 21-year-old currently on a two-way contract. Mokoka averaged 9.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists in summer league with Chicago, playing in a total of five games.
  • Joe Gabriele of NBA.com examines Cedi Osman‘s mindset entering his third season with the Cavaliers. Osman, 24, is looking to build off an international experience with Turkey in the FIBA World Cup this summer. He averaged 13 points, 4.7 rebounds and 32.2 minutes in 76 games with Cleveland last season.

Heat Notes: Roster, Nunn, Adebayo, Mulder

Because of hard-cap restrictions, Miami’s training camp roster is virtually set now that Daryl Macon has been signed to the 20th spot, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The Heat can’t exceed a $138.9MM salary limit, and they are so close to that figure that they can’t offer players like Macon more than an Exhibit 10 contract. As things currently stand, Miami will be limited to 14 players on its final roster, with the remaining six battling for a pair of two-way contracts.

The only way to create some flexibility would be to waive Kendrick Nunn, who has just a $150K guarantee on his $1,416,852 salary. However, Winderman doesn’t expect that to happen because the rookie guard showed promise in Summer League and the front office can’t afford to waste $150K. Miami can’t convert Nunn’s contract to a two-way deal without first waiving him and taking the chance that he might be claimed by another team.

There’s more from Miami:

  •  At 22, Bam Adebayo has most of his career ahead of him, but he already feels like a “Heat Lifer” after the team picked up the fourth-year option on his rookie-scale contract, relays Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Adebayo became the first player from the 2017 draft class to earn that distinction, as Miami made it official more than a month ahead of the October 31 deadline. “They’re pushing me to be more of a leader,” Adebayo said. “So, yeah, I do feel like I’ve become a Heat Lifer type of guy and just being more involved and having like a (Udonis Haslem) responsibility when it comes to my teammates.”
  • Team USA won’t have many good memories from this year’s World Cup, but Adebayo believes he benefited from his experience as part of the Select Team in Las Vegas, Chiang adds. “Just the atmosphere, because everybody that comes from different teams are like No. 1 or No. 2 options,” Adebayo explained. “So just being out there with a lot of guys and just hearing the stories from the locker room, their perspective and just sharing mine. It’s just like a cool ordeal.”
  • Mychal Mulder, who signed with the Heat earlier this week, was named to the G League Elite Roster for the 2019 NBA G League International Challenge in Uruguay, Winderman tweets. However, he skipped the event to focus on training camp.

Heat Sign Daryl Macon

The Heat have signed free agent guard Daryl Macon to a contract, the team announced today in a press release. We noted in an earlier story that Macon was the frontrunner to fill the 20th and final spot on Miami’s offseason roster.

As an undrafted rookie out of Arkansas in 2018, Macon signed a two-way contract with the Mavericks and spent the 2018/19 season in the organization before being waived in July. Although he only appeared in eight NBA games for Dallas, he was a key part of the club’s G League affiliate, averaging 19.0 PPG, 5.9 APG, and 3.5 RPG in 41 games (34.4 MPG) for the Texas Legends.

Because the Heat are hard-capped, they couldn’t offer Macon more than an Exhibit 10 contract, making him one of six camp invitees who have now signed that form of one-year, non-guaranteed deal with the team. Since Miami’s 14 regular season roster spots are essentially set, those six players will compete for the Heat’s two two-way contract slots.

Big men Kyle Alexander and Chris Silva, swingman Davon Reed, combo guard Jeremiah Martin and shooting guard Mychal Mulder are also in the running for the team’s two-way openings.

Heat Notes: Macon, Mulder, Butler, Bonuses

Point guard Daryl Macon appears to be the favorite to get the 20th invitation to the Heat‘s training camp, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Macon played for Miami’s Summer League team last year after going undrafted, but turned down the Heat’s offer of an Exhibit 10 contract to sign a two-way deal with the Mavericks. He got into eight games with Dallas, but spent most of the season with the Texas Legends in the G League.

The Mavs waived him in July, and he has spent the past two weeks doing on-court work with the Heat, a source tells Jackson. If Macon does join the team for camp, he will be part of a six-way competition for the two-way contract slots, along with big men Kyle Alexander and Chris Silva, swingman Davon Reed, combo guard Jeremiah Martin and shooting guard Mychal Mulder. Those who aren’t signed will likely be ticketed for the organization’s G League team in Sioux Falls. Jackson notes that because of hard cap restrictions, the Heat can’t sign any of those six players to standard contracts.

There’s more from Miami, all courtesy of Jackson:

  • Bam Adebayo had advance knowledge that the Heat were going to sign Mulder, his former teammate at Kentucky. Mulder is an intriguing physical prospect because although he stands just 6’4″, his hands are larger than Adebayo’s and he has a 44-inch vertical leap. He averaged 13.7 PPG and shot 41.3% on 3-pointers in the G League last season with Windy City. “That’s one of my guys. I kind of knew before he knew,” Adebayo said. “I gave him like a heads up, just so he wouldn’t be surprised or he didn’t expect something.”
  • Appearing on Zach Lowe’s ESPN podcast, J.J. Redick raved about his experiences with former Sixers teammate Jimmy Butler, whom the Heat acquired in a four-team deal as the centerpiece of their offseason. “I love Jimmy and would play with Jimmy again,” Redick said. “I don’t know how much longer I’m going to play basketball, but if there was ever an opportunity to link up with him again, I’d be happy to jump on board with that. He is, I think, in the upper tier of two-way players and really in the upper tier of offensive players, period. … The narrative about Jimmy being a bad guy, I just don’t buy it. It’s not true.”
  • Jackson also passes along a note from ESPN’s Bobby Marks about contract incentives that could raise Miami’s tax bill. Dion Waiters would get a $1.2MM bonus for playing at least 70 games, while Kelly Olynyk has a $400K incentive for reaching the playoffs and another $1.4MM if he plays 1,700 minutes. If all those marks are reached, the Heat’s bill will rise from $3.8MM to $8.3MM.

Heat Sign Guard Mychal Mulder

The Heat have signed guard Mychal Mulder, according to a team press release.

It figures to be an Exhibit 10 contract, as the hard-capped Heat have a pair of open spots on their camp roster.

Miami’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, acquired Mulder from the Windy City Bulls in exchange for the rights to Charles Cooke and the South Bay Lakers’ first-round draft pick earlier in the day. Cooke has committed to play in Italy this season, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel tweets.

Mulder appeared in 47 games with the Windy City Bulls last season and averaged 13.7 PPG, 4.1 RPG and 1.6 APG in 32.9 MPG. Mulder shot 41.2% from three-point range. He also played regularly for the Bulls’ G League affiliate the previous season.

Mulder went undrafted in 2017 after playing two seasons at Kentucky. He worked out for the Timberwolves in June.

NBA Teams With Most, Fewest Guaranteed Salaries

At this point in the offseason, the majority of the NBA’s teams are carrying either 13 or 14 players on guaranteed salaries. Teams will have to pare down their rosters to no more than 15 players on standard contracts once the regular season begins, so having 13 or 14 players on guaranteed deals now gives those clubs the flexibility to allow one or two non-guaranteed players to make the team — or to carry an open roster spot into opening night.

However, there are currently a dozen teams around the league carrying fewer than 13 guaranteed salaries or more than 14. With the help of our roster counts tool, here’s a look at those teams, with details on what they might be thinking as the 2019/20 season nears:

Fewer than 13 fully guaranteed salaries:

  • Houston Rockets (10)
  • Miami Heat (12)
  • Toronto Raptors (12)
  • Utah Jazz (12)

With only 10 players on fully guaranteed salaries, the Rockets may have some competition for their final few roster spots in training camp. For now Isaiah Hartenstein and Gary Clark – each of whom have partial guarantees – look like good bets to earn spots, with Ben McLemore perhaps the frontrunner for the 13th spot. Anthony Bennett, Chris Clemons, Michael Frazier, William McDowell-White, and Shamorie Ponds are candidates to fill out the roster, though I wouldn’t be surprised if Houston eventually acquires a veteran or two with its open spots.

[RELATED: 2019/20 Non-Guaranteed Contracts By Team]

Duncan Robinson‘s and Kendrick Nunn‘s partial guarantees put them in good position to earn the Heat‘s 13th and 14th roster spots. The hard-capped club won’t have room for a 15th player to start the season.

Royce O’Neale is a lock to make the Jazz, and Georges Niang seems like a safe bet too. William Howard and Stanton Kidd could be the prime contenders for the 15th spot if Utah wants a full roster.

For the Raptors, second-round pick Dewan Hernandez, veteran point guard Cameron Payne, and returning role players Chris Boucher and Malcolm Miller are the top candidates for the final two or three openings on the regular season roster.

More than 14 fully guaranteed salaries:

  • Brooklyn Nets (15)
  • Dallas Mavericks (15)
  • Indiana Pacers (15)
  • Memphis Grizzlies (15)
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (15)
  • New York Knicks (15)
  • Phoenix Suns (15)
  • San Antonio Spurs (15)

The Grizzlies were the only team carrying more than 15 guaranteed salaries, but a buyout agreement with Dwight Howard changed that. If they reach a similar deal – or find a trade – involving Andre Iguodala, their roster count would dip to 14 fully guaranteed contracts.

The Nets, Mavericks, Pacers, Timberwolves, Knicks, Suns, and Spurs could shake things up with roster moves before the season begins, particularly if any of those teams is impressed by a non-guaranteed camp invitee. But for now, their regular season rosters look pretty set with their 15 players on guaranteed salaries.

Winslow Eager To Play Point Guard; Spoelstra To Examine Options For Starting Group

Heat Notes: Reed, Herro, Beasley, Butler

Davon Reed will have a chance for stability for the first time in his NBA career when he competes for one of the Heat’s two-way slots in training camp, writes Shandel Richardson of The Athletic. A second-round pick by the Suns in 2017, Reed spent most of his rookie season in the G League, appearing in 21 games with Phoenix. Last year, the shooting guard signed a two-way contract with the Pacers and got into 10 NBA games.

Reed, who spent four years at the University of Miami, inked a training camp deal with the Heat last week and is looking forward to the opportunity with an organization that has seen past two-way players Duncan Robinson and Derrick Jones Jr. both earn standard contracts.

“I haven’t really been given a huge window, be it (due to) injuries or being released from Phoenix at the beginning of last season,” Reed said. “I kind of had to start over at a late time. The obstacles have been against me. I’m just taking everything in stride. I’m looking forward to being with this team and giving it my all, and (I hope to) have an immediate impact.”

There’s more this morning from Miami:

  • The addition of Jimmy Butler makes it less likely that rookie Tyler Herro will win a starting job right away in the Miami backcourt, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Butler moves the Heat into a win-now philosophy, meaning that Herro will have to work his way into a starting position. Winderman doesn’t expect him to start at all this season, unless the team is short-handed because of injuries.
  • Michael Beasley may be available again after Joe Johnson took his spot with the Pistons, but the Heat won’t bring him back, at least not right away, Winderman adds in the same column. Miami is hard-capped and the roster is virtually set after re-signing Udonis Haslem. If Beasley does return, it won’t happen before January.
  • Butler isn’t a superstar, but he gives team president Pat Riley someone to build the team around, observes Shaun Powell of NBA.com. Although Riley made a play for Russell Westbrook and Kyrie Irving this summer, he’ll be content with Butler after the Heat didn’t have an All-Star last season apart from Dwyane Wade, who was an honorary choice.

Goran Dragic Talks Trade Rumors, Butler, Health

Shortly after free agency opened on the night of June 30, the Heat appeared to have a trade in place to send Goran Dragic to Dallas in order to help make room under the team’s hard cap for swingman Jimmy Butler. However, a miscommunication between the Heat and Mavericks scuttled the deal, and while Dragic remained on the trade block for at least another day or two, he’ll ultimately return to Miami to start the 2019/20 season.

As Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald relays, Dragic missed out on much of that trade-rumor drama on the first night of free agency, since he was asleep in Slovenia when those reports surfaced.

“Of course, the next day, in the morning, I received a lot of texts,” Dragic said. “It was a little bit crazy, because at first you didn’t know if the deal went through or not. So a lot of my friends called me and were asking me. But I did not have a clue, because I had just woke up.”

Interestingly, Dragic said he didn’t speak to his agent or the Heat about the trade rumors and opted to “just let it go” when it became clear he’d be staying put. As he prepares to enter a contract year, Dragic expressed enthusiasm about Miami’s offseason moves (“I think we’re a better team”) and touched on a handful of other topics.

Here are some highlights, via Chiang:

On the acquisition of Jimmy Butler:

“I mean, he’s a great competitor. You can see that on the court. I don’t know him personally, but as a player, when I play against him he’s really a tough defender, he’s really vocal on the floor. I think he sets an example for the other players. I think he’s a huge addition for us, especially to lead this group. He can play on both ends, defense and on offense. He’s a great addition to our team.”

On the health of his right knee, which was an issue in 2018/19:

“I’m good, I’m good. I was working hard. My leg is way stronger than last year. Basically the right leg is stronger than the left one. I’m doing some basketball drills, some lifting weights. Everything is going like we planned.”

On his upcoming free agency in 2020:

“If I’m honest, I don’t even think about it, because I’m more in the present, because I’m trying to get back to being healthy this year. So this is my priority, just to stay focused and do my job. And when the time is going to come, then I’m going to think about my future. So, it doesn’t make sense to think it right now, because the season still didn’t start. And I haven’t felt how my body is going to react. So, we’ll see.”

Heat Notes: Adebayo, Richardson, Spoelstra, Arena

Exercising Bam Adebayo‘s fourth-year option displayed faith in a player that many in the Heat organization expect to show huge improvement this season, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Adebayo will make $5.1MM during the 2020/21 season and will be eligible for a rookie scale extension next summer. His role figures to increase after Miami traded away Hassan Whiteside in July.

“First off, he’s going to get more minutes, more exposure,” Goran Dragic told Jackson. “He already got tested, and we know what he can do. He’s a great player, great screener, roll to the basket. He brings a lot of energy to the team and I feel like this year is going to be different. More minutes, more responsibility. Everybody feels like, including me, that he’s ready for this big step in his career.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Of all the moves the Heat made this offseason, Dragic sees the trade of Josh Richardson as the most surprising, Jackson adds in the same story. The fifth-year swingman was shipped to the Sixers as part of a complex four-team deal to acquire Jimmy Butler. Richardson is a valuable two-way player who is coming off his best season, posting a 16.6/3.6/4.1 line. “With Josh, I was a bit surprised,” Dragic said. “I was sad to see him go. But at the same time, I think he’s going to do well in Philadelphia. He’s a great player, great team player who is great around guys in the locker room.”
  • Coach Erik Spoelstra expressed appreciation for the support he has gotten from the Heat organization during an appearance with Doc Rivers on a recent edition of Adrian Wojnarowski’s ESPN podcast. “I think (owner) Micky (Arison) and (team president) Pat (Riley) are two of the best tandems in ownership and president in all of sports,” Spoelstra said. “… They understand the need for stability. They will weather storms, and we all struggled that first year. I struggled quite a bit, particularly in that Finals series. … The ownership and my bosses, I love who I work for because they do have my back.”
  • American Airlines won’t renew naming rights for the Heat’s arena, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The team will be in the market for a new title sponsor after a 20-year arrangement.