Okaro White

Heat Notes: Winslow, Olynyk, Adebayo, Wade

For a team that brought back nearly all its key players over the offseason, the Heat head into training camp with a lot of unanswered questions. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald examines position battles and several other topics in his latest column:

  • The starting small forward position will be wide open when camp begins Tuesday, with Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson and Rodney McGruder all having a shot at it. The Heat exercised their fourth-year option on Winslow this week as the former first-rounder tries to battle back from a shoulder injury that limited him to 18 games last season. Miami was only 3-12 when he started last year and he wasn’t part of the team’s surge after the All-Star break. Richardson, who received a four-year extension this week, came into the league as a guard, but played 80% of his minutes last season at forward.
  • James Johnson is the favorite to start at power forward, but free agent addition Kelly Olynyk will be an intriguing addition because of his outside shooting. Olynyk shoots .368 from 3-point range for his career, compared to .296 for Johnson, although he raised that number to 34% last season. Olynyk, who was used mainly in a reserve role in Boston, will see plenty of minutes in Miami whether he starts or not.
  • Johnson, Olynyk and Hassan Whiteside will take up most of the center/power forward opportunities, leaving little for first-round pick Bam Adebayo, whom the Heat believe has a bright future. Winslow may also be utilized as a stretch four in small-ball lineups, so Adebayo will need a strong showing in camp to earn playing time.
  • Okaro White and Jordan Mickey are likely to make the roster, with A.J. Hammons holding a slight edge for the 15th spot. However, the Heat have concerns about Hammons’ work ethic and he will be challenged by shooting guard Matt Williams. Former Michigan point guard Derrick Walton has been impressive over the summer, but he has a two-way contract and can’t spend more than 45 days in the NBA.
  • The front office isn’t unanimous in wanting Dwyane Wade back if he agrees to a buyout with the Bulls. There are concerns about his defense at age 35, and the Heat already have five guards who can make a case for playing time.

And-Ones: G League Expansion, Mayo, Van Gundy

The G League held its expansion draft to accommodate for the association’s four new franchises and Chris Reichert of 2 Ways, 10 Days has broken down the results, recapping the nuances of the developmental league’s various processes.

As Reichert lays out, teams made their bids for each player’s returning rights for a period of two seasons. What that means is that the G League clubs will effectively reserve those players should they ever find themselves back in the league. Many currently ply their trade either for NBA squads or for teams overseas.

The current NBA crop selected in the G League expansion draft is headlined by Sean Kilpatrick and Okaro White. The big league rotation players, however, are unlikely to return to the G League, at least in 2017/18, rendering them ineffective selections.

There’s more from around the NBA:

  • Speaking of G League peculiarities, the Oklahoma City Blue (the G League affiliate of the Thunder) made a trade with the SLC Stars (Jazz affiliate) for the rights to Marcus Paige but, as Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer explains, Paige will actually suit up for the Greensboro Swarm (Hornets affiliate). Earlier this month the Hornets signed Paige to a two-way deal and that supersedes whichever team owns his G League rights.
  • With one more year left on his suspension, former Bucks guard O.J. Mayo could consider a gig in the G League, Adam Johnson of 2 Ways, 10 Days opines. There is, however, no guarantee that he would be permitted to do so.
  • It’s been a decade since he coached the Rockets, which makes Jeff Van Gundy‘s return to the bench with Team USA all that much more exciting. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN recently spoke with Van Gundy about his role with the USA Basketball World Cup qualifying team.

Southeast Notes: Gortat, White, Stone, Speights

Marcin Gortat, who expressed doubt about his future with the Wizards during his exit interview in May, now says he’s fully committed to the team, relays Chase Hughes of CSNMidAtlantic. Gortat, who usually spends summers in Poland, joined the team for its informal summer mini-camp this year. Now in his fifth season with the team, Gortat is signed through the 2018/19 season.

“First of all, I knew it right away that I would be coming back,” Gortat said this week on the Wizards TipOff Podcast. “I still have a contract and at the end of the day, I’m a Wizards player. I still have two fully guaranteed years. When I went for the exit interview, I was just preparing myself for the worst. You’ve gotta be ready in this business. You’ve gotta be ready that one day you might get a phone call saying that ‘Hey, I appreciate everything that you did, but we’re going to go in a different direction and trade you.’ I’ve been traded twice in my life. I know how it is. So, at the exit interview I just said I was going to talk to my agent and whatever is going to happen. That doesn’t mean I wanted to be traded.”

There’s more tonight from the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat will have to keep Okaro White on their 15-man roster if they want to retain his rights, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The power forward appeared in 35 games for the Heat last season, but spent much of the season with the team’s G League affiliate in Sioux Falls. White was claimed Wednesday in the G League expansion draft by the Memphis Hustle, the new affiliate of the Grizzlies. Because White has a guarantee of more than $50K, he cannot be deemed an affiliate player if he gets cut by Miami. He would have to either report to the Hustle or play overseas.
  • New Hornets guard Julyan Stone has an agreement not to discuss the details of his release from his Italian team, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Umana Reyer in Venice agreed to let Stone out of his contract so he could return to the United States to be closer to his ailing father.
  • Joining the Magic fulfills a long-time dream for Florida native Marreese Speights, relays Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. The nine-year veteran has been far from home recently, spending the past four seasons with the Warriors and Clippers. He is excited about the opportunity after signing a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal with Orlando last month. “The arena is an hour and 20 minutes from my house in St. Pete,” Speights said. “I grew up watching them; I became a big fan of them as a kid and that’s when I fell in love with the game. I’ve always wanted to play for the Magic. This is a dream come true.”

2017 NBA G League Expansion Draft Results

The NBA G League conducted its expansion draft today, allowing the league’s four new franchises to add the returning rights to 11 players apiece. The league’s previously-existing 22 teams had been permitted to retain the rights to nine players each, leaving the rest of their players unprotected and free to be drafted, though no team can lose more than two players. Adam Johnson recently outlined the full details of the expansion draft process in a piece for 2 Ways & 10 Days.

The G League’s four new teams this year are affiliates for the Hawks (Erie BayHawks), Grizzlies (Memphis Hustle), Bucks (Wisconsin Herd), and Clippers (Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario). The Erie BayHawks have been in the G League for years but are technically an expansion team since the old iteration of the BayHawks was purchased by the Magic and moved to Lakeland, Florida — the Lakeland Magic will retain returning rights for former BayHawks players.

The players added today by the G League’s four expansion teams won’t necessarily play for them this season — in fact, it’s not all that common for expansion draftees to suit up for their new clubs. Many of those players will try to catch on with an NBA team or will end up playing overseas, if they’re not already on an NBA or international roster. Still, the expansion draft gives the G League’s new teams some assets as they start to build their rosters for the coming season.

Listed below are the results of today’s expansion draft, per the G League’s official announcement. The player’s former G League team is noted in parentheses, and picks are ordered by round. The teams will hold their players’ rights for the next two seasons:

Erie BayHawks (Hawks)

  1. DeAndre Daniels (Raptors 905)
  2. Sean Kilpatrick (Delaware 87ers)*
  3. Ronald Roberts (Reno Bighorns)
  4. Terran Petteway (Maine Red Claws)
  5. Casey Prather (Windy City Bulls)
  6. Jordan Crawford (Grand Rapids Drive)*
  7. Jordan Sibert (Iowa Energy)
  8. Beau Beech (Long Island Nets)
  9. Raphiael Putney (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)
  10. Luke Harangody (Lakeland Magic)
  11. Will Bynum (Windy City Bulls)

Memphis Hustle (Grizzlies)

  1. Marquis Teague (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)
  2. Okaro White (Sioux Falls Skyforce)*
  3. D.J. Stephens (Iowa Energy)
  4. Omari Johnson (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)
  5. Jamaal Franklin (Long Island Nets)
  6. Adonis Thomas (Grand Rapids Drive)
  7. Manny Harris (Texas Legends)
  8. Mark Tyndale (Reno Bighorns)
  9. Jordon Crawford (Canton Charge)
  10. Jimmer Fredette (Westchester Knicks)
  11. Terrence Drisdom (Santa Cruz Warriors)

Wisconsin Herd (Bucks)

  1. Vince Hunter (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  2. Gracin Bakumanya (Northern Arizona Suns)
  3. Perry Ellis (Greensboro Swarm)
  4. Corey Walden (Maine Red Claws)
  5. Josh Davis (Greensboro Swarm)
  6. Michael Dunigan (Canton Charge)
  7. Jarvis Summers (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)
  8. James Siakam (Raptors 905)
  9. Kyle Casey (Northern Arizona Suns)
  10. Cady Lalanne (Austin Spurs)
  11. Tyler Harvey (Lakeland Magic)

Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (Clippers)

  1. Andre Dawkins (Texas Legends)
  2. Bryce Cotton (Oklahoma City Blue)
  3. Corey Hawkins (Delaware 87ers)
  4. Will Cummings (Delaware 87ers)
  5. J.J. O’Brien (Salt Lake City Stars)
  6. Jamil Wilson (South Bay Lakers)
  7. Keith Steffeck (Santa Cruz Warriors)
  8. Julian Jacobs (South Bay Lakers)
  9. Aaron Craft (Salt Lake City Stars)
  10. Thanasis Antetokounmpo (Westchester Knicks)
  11. Youssou Ndoye (Austin Spurs)

Players marked with an asterisk (*) are currently on an NBA roster. If they remain under contract and are assigned to the G League, they would join their current NBA team’s affiliate.

Latest On NBA’s Summer Salary Guarantee Dates

The Heat didn’t make any roster moves with Rodney McGruder or Okaro White on Tuesday, ensuring that both players remain under contract and received partial guarantees on their contracts for 2017/18, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

As Basketball Insiders details, McGruder and White are on minimum salary deals worth $1,312,611 for the coming season. By remaining with the Heat through August 1, both players are now in line for about $453K in guaranteed money. Their full salaries will become guaranteed if they stay under contract through the first game of the regular season.

Meanwhile, as we noted last night, the Hornets also kept Johnny O’Bryant on their roster beyond his August 1 salary guarantee deadline, making his $1,524,305 minimum salary fully guaranteed.

Other players, including Jordan Crawford of the Pelicans and Bryn Forbes of the Spurs, had August 1 salary guarantee deadlines in their contracts as well, per Basketball Insiders’ data. However, we haven’t received confirmation that their guarantees are locked in.

Neither Crawford nor Forbes was waived, but teams and players can sometimes agree to push back guarantee dates to create more flexibility for the club — the Trail Blazers recently did just that with Pat Connaughton, whose salary guarantee deadline is now August 31 instead of July 25.

For more details on which players have received salary guarantees this summer – as well as which players have been waived before those guarantees kicked in – be sure to check out our full breakdown.

Southeast Notes: Magic, McGruder, Wizards, Howard

Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman focused on versatile players who can play multiple positions in free agency, John Denton of the Magic’s website writes. Despite limited flexibility, the Magic struck quickly when the Spurs renounced their rights to Jonathon Simmons. Orlando also added center Marreese Speights, point guard Shelvin Mack and shooting guard Arron Afflalo to team-friendly deals, Denton continues. That improves the team’s depth and gives coach Frank Vogel a better chance to make in-game adjusments, Denton adds.

In other news around the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat are likely to retain shooting guard Rodney McGruder and forward Okaro White and give them guaranteed money, Ira Winderman of the Florida Sun Sentinel reports. Both players will receive $453K if they remain on the roster by the end of the business day on Tuesday.  They each have $1.3MM contracts for next season amount but the guarantees are equal to half of what each player would have received for the 2017/18 season under the previous NBA veteran-minimum scale, Winderman explains.
  • The Wizards are comfortable with their decision to retain small forward Otto Porter and exceed the luxury-tax apron, Chase Hughes of MidAtlantic.com reports. Porter’s four-year, $106MM contract currently puts the team on course to pay $11.4MM in luxury tax but majority owner Ted Leonsis is willing to do that for a playoff team, as he told Hughes. “You have to be in the tax, but you’re keeping the team together,” he said. “That was a worthwhile thing to do.”
  • Dwight Howard‘s familiarity with Hornets coach Steve Clifford will help Howard focus on defense next season, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer opines. Clifford coached Howard with the Magic and Lakers and knows how to dole out constructive criticism to the enigmatic center, Bonnell explains.

Heat Notes: LeBron, Free Agency, Adebayo, White

LeBron James caused some excitement in Miami on Saturday with Instagram posts featuring photos of himself in front of American Airlines Arena, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Even though James expressed a fondness for the city in a caption that read, “A ton of great memories riding past her today!! #AAA #striveforgreatness,” the Heat have no expectations that he will consider returning to Miami when he becomes a free agent next summer. Like most of the league, Jackson notes, Heat officials believe James will either go to Los Angeles or stay in Cleveland.

Jackson adds that there are no obvious free agents for Miami to chase next summer, even if the team could create cap room. He says they wouldn’t pay max money to Carmelo Anthony, Los Angeles seems like the destination for Paul George, and other stars such as Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, DeMarcus Cousins and DeAndre Jordan play positions where the Heat are already set. They may have more interest in the 2019 free agent class, but will have limited cap room unless Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson or Hassan Whiteside opt out of their contracts.

There’s more today out of Miami:

  • With 11 games in two leagues, the Heat got a good look at candidates for two-way contracts this summer, notes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. However, it’s not certain that the players who get those deals will come from the summer league squads. Among those who made a positive impact, according to Winderman, are Virginia’s London Perrantes, Central Florida’s Matt Williams, Monmouth’s Justin Robinson and Colorado State’s Gian Clavell.
  • The Heat were happy with the performance of first-round pick Bam Adebayo this summer, Winderman writes in a separate story. The power forward out of Kentucky was held out of the final three games in Las Vegas, but showed enough to give Miami hope that he can be a contributor right away. “I think the seven games he played was a great first step as an NBA player,” said summer league coach Chris Quinn. “He did everything we asked. He showed us a skill set that is very versatile. He was able to do things that maybe he hadn’t done as much. But more importantly, he completely bought in to our player-development program. He’s listening to Coach Juwan [Howard] every single day and he’s really been great to work with. His attitude and his work ethic have been amazing, which, for a guy with his talent, is most important.”
  • Winderman adds that this summer was especially important for Okaro White, who faces a partial guarantee date for next year’s $1.3MM contract on August 1st. Quinn said White made “major strides” in the seven games he played.

Southeast Notes: Richardson, White, Kaba

The Wizards are no closer to landing Paul George than they were a week ago but recent comments from John Wall have resurrected speculation that he could possibly end up in D.C. Per CSN Mid-Atlantic’s J. Michael, there are a number of things that would need to happen for the pipe dream to become a reality, here are just a few:

For starters, the Wizards will have to come to terms with something that all of George’s other suitors have already come to terms with: they would need to build an appealing enough package of young players and assets without any guarantee that they’ll get to re-sign him next summer.

The Wizards would also need Otto Porter to be up for a sign-and-trade, something that would require him to take less money than he’s eligible for, just to pack his bags and move to Indianapolis.

Even if the Wizards did manage to land George and played him alongside Wall and Bradley Beal, however, the organization would be extremely crunched financially for the foreseeable future.

There’s more from the Southeast Division tonight:

  • Don’t expect the Magic to make a major splash in free agency, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel writes. The team would need to reel off a series of moves just to clear up space for a major signing and that’s not really their focus at this point in time.
  • Coming off a season in which he averaged career highs, Hawks center Mike Muscala is experiencing unrestricted free agency for the first time. He spoke with Jerry Zgoda of the Star-Tribune about the process. “It’s crazy how basketball can change from high school to college to the NBA and what you work on, what you’re compensated for,” he said, referring to his coveted skill set as a three-point shooting big man. “I’ve found if you do things the right way — if you play the right way, if you work on your game, if you’re a good teammate — you’ll be rewarded for it.”
  • The Heat will retain Okaro White and Josh Richardson, thus guaranteeing their contracts (or in White’s case, partially guaranteeing the deal he signed last season). Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel writes about how Richardson’s $1.5MM for 2017/18 will be locked in after Friday and how White will clinch $226K on Saturday.
  • One of the major areas that the Wizards will need to improve upon next year is in their backcourt depth, J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic says. They’ve already gotten a head start in doing so with their addition of Tim Frazier.
  • Second-round draft pick Alpha Kaba will play with the Hawks‘ summer league team before deciding where to play next season, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets.

Southeast Notes: Morris, Heat, Draft, Batiste

Wizards forward Markieff Morris is suffering through a severe left ankle injury, but says there’s no chance it will prevent him from playing in Monday’s Game 7 against the Celtics, relays J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic. Morris was able to play 39 minutes in Game 6, putting up 16 points and 11 rebounds in a thrilling 92-91 victory. He has been fighting through the pain ever since landing on Al Horford‘s foot on a jump shot in Game 1 and hasn’t practiced since the injury. “I don’t shoot at all. I just go back to treatment every day,” Morris said. “It’s not swollen as much, but the pain is still there. It’s the worst injury I’ve ever had.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • 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.
  • The Hornets added Mike Batiste to their coaching staff this week, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. An opening was created when Patrick Ewing gave up his role as associate head coach to take over at Georgetown. Stephen Silas was promoted to lead assistant, and Batiste will become a regular assistant. Batiste played for the Grizzlies in 2002/03, but spent most of his career in Europe.

Will The Heat Add To Their Roster?

In the latest edition of his mailbag, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel broached the subject of Miami adding depth to their shaky roster. As one of Winderman’s readers pointed out, the Heat are within striking distance of a playoff spot, but are missing several players due to injury. What’s more, they’ve committed a roster spot to Udonis Haslem– a great clubhouse presence who isn’t an in-game contributor at this point in his career. In response, Winderman wrote:

“The Heat, for at least another week, not only won’t be able to dress the allowable 13 players, but like Sunday, will only be able to dress 11. Yes, I appreciate the ‘we have enough’ mentality that coaches such as Erik Spoelstra stress. But having enough does not mean having the maximum possible resources in a playoff race that will make every game count. Whether it is signing Carlos Boozer back from China or adding a defensive wing, you raise a legitimate point. This team is hemorrhaging roster spots, and if the mantra is to be all-hands-on-deck, then playing with a full deck would be the best place to start.”

Now tied with Detroit for the eighth seed of the Eastern Conference, the Heat enter a vital stretch of their season without Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters, or Josh McRoberts. While the team could pursue Lance Stephenson, whose second 10-day contract in Minnesota recently expired, he won’t be playoff eligible. Aside from reaching out to Boozer, Winderman lists Okaro White– who is “hardly getting off the bench lately”- as a potential source of production.

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