- The Heat assigned power forward Okaro White and small forward Marcus Georges-Hunt to Sioux Falls, Chris Reichert of The Step Back tweets. This will make both eligible for the D-League All-Star game, Reichert adds. White has appeared in 14 games with the Heat, averaging 4.2 PPG and 2.5 RPG while impressing enough during 10-day contracts to earn a two-year deal. Georges-Hunt signed a 10-day contract on February 8th after spending most of the season with the D-League’s Maine Red Claws, where he averaged 16.4 PPG.
After a quiet Tuesday in terms of D-League moves, we have a few assignments and recalls to pass along for Wednesday. Here’s the latest:
- The Raptors have recalled Bruno Caboclo from Raptors 905, the team announced in a tweet. The third-year forward has played just eight NBA games this season.
- The Grizzlies have recalled guard Wade Baldwin, center Deyonta Davis and forward Jarell Martin from their affiliate in Iowa.
- The Heat are sending Okaro White to their Sioux Falls affiliate so he will be eligible for the D-League All-Star Game, tweets Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel.
- The Pelicans have recalled rookie forward Cheick Diallo from the D-League, the team announced today in a press release. Diallo had been playing for Charlotte’s D-League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm, since New Orleans doesn’t have an affiliate of its own. He averaged 17. 0 PPG and 11.3 RPG in six games with the Swarm.
- Rookies Chinanu Onuaku and Kyle Wiltjer have been recalled from the D-League by the Rockets, according to the team (Twitter link). The duo helped lead the Rio Grande Valley Vipers to a dramatic win on Tuesday, totaling 55 points and 16 rebounds between them.
- The Pacers have recalled Rakeem Christmas from the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the team announced today in a press release. The D-League’s All-Star break is now underway, which is why Christmas and others are being recalled to their NBA teams today.
Okaro White‘s new two-year deal with the Heat will feature a guaranteed prorated minimum salary for the rest of 2016/17, but the details of his 2017/18 salary are a little more complicated.
According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, White’s minimum salary ($1.3MM) for next season is currently non-guaranteed. However, he’ll get a 25% guarantee if he remains on the team through July 1, with another 25% becoming guaranteed on August 1. If White earns a spot on Miami’s opening-night roster, his full salary will become guaranteed.
Because he won’t have to wait until January for his full salary to become guaranteed, White is in a better spot than most players on similar deals — if the Heat don’t want to commit to his full salary, they’ll have to waive him in the summer, or by the start of the season, which would allow him more time to catch on with another club in the NBA or elsewhere.
Let’s round up a few more Heat-related notes…
- Dion Waiters, who has played a key role in the Heat’s current 11-game winning streak, isn’t certain whether he’ll be able to play in the club’s next game after spraining his left ankle, per Jackson. Meanwhile, another Heat player battling a foot injury, Josh Richardson, hopes to play at least once for the team before this month’s All-Star Game, Jackson writes.
- After being waived by the Heat on Monday, Derrick Williams sent out the following tweet: “Pat Riley is a man of his word. Ultimate respect.” According to Jackson (via Twitter), that message stemmed from the fact that Williams’ release was a mutual decision. The former second overall pick wanted a chance to get more minutes with another team, and the Heat were willing to give him that opportunity by cutting him rather than hanging on to him in an effort to find a trade partner.
- Within his latest mailbag, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel explores whether Goran Dragic might be the Heat’s point guard of the future, and discusses whether the club might get a chance to reunite with Briante Weber down the road.
3:50pm: The Heat have confirmed in a press release that they’ve re-signed White and waived Williams.
10:44am: Okaro White‘s second 10-day contract with the Heat expired on Sunday night, but the team won’t waste any time in bringing him back into the fold, opening up a roster spot to do so. According to Shams Charania of The Vertical (via Twitter), the Heat will waive veteran forward Derrick Williams and will sign White to a two-year contract.
Miami had been carrying 16 players on its roster, having been afforded a hardship exemption by the NBA due to four separate major injuries. Justise Winslow and Chris Bosh are expected to miss the rest of the season, while Josh McRoberts and Josh Richardson had also been sidelined for weeks. However, with Richardson set to return to the lineup, the team needed to pare its roster down to 15 players, and didn’t want to lose White.
A former FSU standout, White was in camp with the Heat in the fall, but didn’t crack the club’s regular season roster at the time. After playing well for Miami’s D-League affiliate (18.4 PPG, 8.7 RPG in 23 contests), White was called up to the NBA squad again, and has looked good in nine games for the Heat, averaging 4.1 PPG and 2.6 RPG in 16.4 MPG. The team is 9-0 in those games.
As for Williams, the Heat reportedly tried to find a trade partner to accommodate a deal for the former No. 2 overall pick, but came up empty-handed. Williams, who signed a one-year deal with Miami last summer, has appeared in 25 games this season, making 11 starts. He has averaged 5.9 PPG and 2.9 RPG in those contests, with a career-low .394 FG%, and has fallen out of the rotation in recent weeks, despite the team’s injury woes.
[RELATED: Salary Cap Snapshot: Miami Heat]
Because they used their room exception on Dion Waiters during the offseason and are now over the cap, the Heat’s options for signing White are limited. The team has a disabled player exception worth just under $1.3MM available, but it can only be used for a one-year deal, and White will sign a two-year pact. That means he’ll receive a minimum salary, which works out to about $210K for the rest of this season, and $1.32MM for next season, per Bobby Marks of The Vertical (Twitter link). White’s 2017/18 salary won’t be fully guaranteed.
Meanwhile, Williams’ $4.598MM salary will continue to count against the Heat’s cap unless he’s claimed off waivers by another team. His contract could be appealing to a team below the salary floor, since it would move that club nearly $4.6MM closer to the floor, despite the fact that his remaining salary is significantly lower than that.
Now finishing up his second 10-day contract, 24-year-old Okaro White has impressed in his time with Miami. The former Seminole has played in nine games this season, including a stellar performance (10 points, seven rebounds, four blocks) against the Nets.
White’s contract expires today, and according to a report from Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel, the team is undecided about his future on the roster. The Heat are facing a roster crunch, as Josh Richardson is set to return from injury after missing 13 games with a foot injury. NBA teams are permitted to sign players to a maximum of two 10-day contracts before signing them for the rest of the season, or releasing them. The Heat can offer White a two-year contract at most, due to their salary cap position.
Veteran forward Derrick Williams appears to be a candidate to be cut to clear room for White. Williams, who was inked to a one-year, $4,598,000 contract over the offseason, has played sparingly under head coach Erik Spoelstra– accumulating eight DNPs over Miami’s last 10 games. Amid roster speculation, Williams traveled with the team for their upcoming road trip.
If Spoelstra’s quote is any indication, White appears to have made a lasting impression on Miami’s front office.
“You can see why we like him,” Spoelstra said of White. “He’s a Miami Heat guy, a lot of intangibles, those winning plays that we keep on talking about.”
Heat forward Derrick Williams expects to travel with the team for Monday’s game at Milwaukee, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Miami must make a roster decision when rookie forward Okaro White‘s second 10-day contract expires Sunday, and trading or waiving Williams has been discussed. White was added as a 16th player when the NBA approved a hardship exception. That exception remains in effect, but league rules prevent teams from signing an extra player for the rest of the season without opening a roster spot.
Coach Erik Spoelstra said no decision has been made on White, and it’s possible that the Heat may release him on Sunday and hope to re-sign him later (Twitter link). White has been getting about 15 minutes a night in his eight games with Miami and is averaging 4.0 points and 2.5 rebounds. Williams has fallen out of the team’s rotation, even with its injury problems. He signed a one-year, $4.598MM deal over the summer, so waiving him wouldn’t create a significant financial burden.
There’s more today from South Florida:
- Josh Richardson could be with the team when the road trip starts Monday, tweets Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Richardson’s ankle sprain was part of the reason the Heat were awarded the hardship exception, so a roster move will be necessary when he returns.
- James Johnson is moving into consideration for the Most Improved and Sixth Man awards, Winderman writes in a mailbag column. His stellar play this year and Miami’s recent success will also serve to drive up his price in free agency. The 29-year-old forward signed a one-year, $4MM deal last summer.
- As Miami climbs back into the playoff chase, Goran Dragic seems less likely to be moved before the February 23rd deadline, Winderman contends in a separate piece. There was once talk that the Heat would try to find a taker for Dragic and the more than $54MM he has left on his contract over the next three seasons. However, he has averaged nearly 22 points per game since returning from back spasms in early January and the Heat have started winning.
The Heat are currently exploring ways to keep Okaro White on their roster when his second 10-day contract expires, and one avenue the team has looked into involves trading Derrick Williams, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. If Miami can’t find a taker for Williams, releasing him is also something the club will consider, says Jackson.
Williams, who signed a one-year deal with the Heat last summer, has appeared in 24 games this season, making 11 starts. He has averaged 6.1 PPG and 3.0 RPG in those contests, with a career-low .393 FG%, and has fallen out of the rotation in Miami in recent weeks, despite the fact that the team is missing a handful players due to injuries.
The Wizards are among the teams that might have interest in Williams, a source close to the player tells Jackson. But Washington would likely only seriously consider Williams if he were released. Jackson points out that teams below the salary cap floor could also take a look at claiming Williams off waivers if he’s cut, since more than half his $4.598MM salary has already been paid, but his full cap hit would count toward the salary floor.
As for White, he has emerged as a potential keeper for the Heat after having played a key role during the team’s recent winning streak. The rookie forward has averaged 4.6 PPG and 2.9 RPG in seven games (17.1 MPG), with an impressive shooting line of .526/.455/1.000.
White joined the Heat as a 16th man after the team was awarded a hardship exception. Such an exemption is available to clubs who have at least four players out with long-term injuries. Miami will likely continue to meet the criteria to carry a 16th player, since Justise Winslow, Chris Bosh, Josh Richardson, and Josh McRoberts aren’t close to a return.
However, an NBA spokesman confirmed to Jackson that league rules prevent Miami from simply signing White to a rest-of-season deal as a 16th man, meaning a roster move will be required if the club wants to hang onto him. White’s second 10-day deal will expire on Sunday night.
The recent play of 10-day contract signee Okaro White has the Heat reconsidering their roster. Originally added as a 16th man via a league hardship provision, White has had so much of an impact on the team that the franchise is reluctant to see him go now that Josh Richardson has returned to health.
“I can assure you that White has made himself a keeper,” he writes in a Heat mailbag.
In five games with the Heat, White has proven an ability to contribute across the board. More importantly, with White in the rotation, the team hasn’t lost a game. Though they remain 14th in the Eastern Conference with their 17-30 record, the six-game win streak has given the team momentum.
There’s more out of the Southeast Division:
- Since starting the year 3-9, the Wizards have emerged as a contender in the East. At the center of it all has been John Wall, finally getting the opportunity to play at full health, writes Howard Fendrich of the Associated Press. “This charge, the last seven or eight weeks,” head coach Scott Brooks said Thursday, “is because of [Wall’s] ability to lead us and get to the paint and give us a lot of open shots.”
- Citing Friday’s loss to their former teammate Courtney Lee and the Knicks, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes that the Hornets need to make a trade. “It doesn’t have to be splashy,” he says, just something that will “infuse some energy and scoring into the rotation.”
- The Wizards have no intention of adding a big man if Ian Mahinmi will be deemed healthy enough to play during the final stretch of the season, writes J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic. With regard to Mahinmi’s health, however, they’ll have to wait and see. During the summer, Mahinmi was signed to a four-year, $60MM deal. He’s played just one game of action with the team in 2016/17.
- Like any star that returns to their hometown, Stephen Curry was asked about the possibility of him signing with the Hornets via free agency, writes Anthony Slater of The Mercury News. “I’ve gotten that since I’ve been in the league,” the Warriors guard said. “This is my home. So there’s obviously going to be an attachment to the city and that kind of chatter is something I’ve been asked about and dealt with since the first time I came back my rookie year. It’s fun. You know you have that support here. It just kind of is what it is.”
11:23am: The signing is official, according to a tweet from the team.
White joined the team on a 10-day deal January 17th after Miami was granted a hardship exception. He has appeared in four games, averaging 3.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and one block in 16.5 minutes of action.
Once the second 10-day deal expires, the Heat will have to decide whether to waive White or sign him for the rest of the season. He had been playing for the team’s D-League affiliate in Sioux Falls after being cut by Miami in training camp.
The Heat still have one of the three worst records in the NBA, as our 2016/17 Reverse Standings show, but the team is on an out-of-nowhere four-game winning streak, prompting Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald to take a closer look at the primary contributors during the run. Jackson identifies a mix of younger players making a strong impression – such as Rodney McGruder, Okaro White, and Willie Reed – along with veterans who may end up being trade candidates for the club, like Dion Waiters and Luke Babbitt.
Here’s more on those players, along with a few more Heat notes:
- Tyler Johnson isn’t traveling with the Heat this week on their two-game trip to Brooklyn and Chicago, but he doesn’t believe his left shoulder injury is serious, adding that it won’t require surgery. “I still think it’s day to day,” Johnson said, according to Jackson. “It’s not so much pain. More irritation.”
- In a Monday mailbag, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel explores whether it makes more sense for the Heat to hang onto the surging Dion Waiters as part of their long-term plan or to seriously explore moving him at the trade deadline.
- As Winderman details for The Sun Sentinel, head coach Erik Spoelstra had plenty of praise for Okaro White, who is currently with the team as a 16th man. “We like his DNA, the fabric that it brings,” Spoelstra said of the undrafted rookie. “He’s not afraid of the moment. But he’s also trained with us. If he didn’t have that background of summer league, being here all summer, training camp and developing with us, I wouldn’t feel any kind of comfort level throwing him out there like that.”
- While Heat president Pat Riley has completed successful roster revamps in the post, he has a “big challenge ahead” this time around, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said on Monday (link via Dave Hyde of The South Florida Sun Sentinel). As Kerr notes, when Golden State made its summer pitch to Kevin Durant, the presence of stars like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green moved the needle significantly — Miami didn’t have that kind of player in attendance at its meeting with Durant.