Omer Yurtseven

Heat Decline Omer Yurtseven’s Team Option

The Heat have declined center Omer Yurtseven‘s $1.5MM team option for the 2021/22 season, allowing him to enter unrestricted free agency, as relayed by Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel and Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald (Twitter links).

The option was non-guaranteed, a factor that didn’t interest Yurtseven. The 23-year-old will still play with the team during the California Classic Summer League and Las Vegas Summer League this month.

Miami signed Yurtseven at the end of the last season, allowing him to travel with the team for its first-round series against Milwaukee in May. Yurtseven went unselected in the 2020 NBA Draft and could remain with the franchise if he impresses this summer. However, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent, per Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link), which means the Heat didn’t tender him a qualifying offer.

In addition to declining Yurtseven’s option, Miami also declined Andre Iguodala‘s $15MM option and picked up the $19.4MM option in Goran Dragic‘s contract earlier today — though Dragic could still be used in a sign-and-trade involving Kyle Lowry.

Heat Rumors: Oladipo, Herro, Yurtseven, Hardaway, Adebayo

An ESPN report in May suggested that Victor Oladipo could resume full-contact basketball activities as soon as November following his quad tendon surgery. However, the Heat aren’t counting on him being ready for NBA games at that point, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Jackson says Oladipo’s camp is hopeful he’ll be able to return to action at some point between mid-December and early February.

It’s uncertain whether the Heat will make much of an effort to re-sign Oladipo, per Jackson, who notes that any deal between the two sides would likely be a “low-money” one.

Given that Oladipo may not be ready until the halfway point of the season, it’s even possible he’ll sit out the year and focus on getting healthy if he and his representatives don’t like the offers they get, Jackson writes. In that scenario, the plan would be for the two-time All-Star to get back to 100% and then return to free agency in July 2022.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Despite some whispers that the Heat haven’t been thrilled with Tyler Herro‘s off-court social life and his work ethic, a team official told Jackson there’s no concern with the 21-year-old in that regard. “He’s a hard worker,” Jackson’s source said, adding that there are no attitude issues with Herro either.
  • Some people within the Heat’s front office are extremely high on late-season signee Omer Yurtseven and believe he could develop into a skilled big man, according to Jackson. In a separate story, Jackson outlines how Yurtseven’s agent Keith Glass originally approached the Heat about his client because of the team’s strong track record for developing young players.
  • Tim Hardaway Jr., who will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, is intrigued by the Heat, reports Greg Sylvander of Five Reasons Sports. However, the timing of free agency and cap/contract details are viewed by the Mavericks wing and his camp as obstacles that could impede the two sides from seriously exploring a deal.
  • Asked if he’ll be looking to sell his U.S. teammates on the Heat during the Tokyo Olympics, big man Bam Adebayo smiled and replied, “I might. Or they might ask me. It’s my job to be honest” (link via Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel).

Rosters Announced For Olympic Qualifying Tournaments

Four qualifying tournaments to determine the final four teams in the men’s basketball pool at the Tokyo Olympics are set to tip off on Tuesday. In advance of the Olympic qualifiers, the 24 teams involved have officially set their 12-man rosters, according to a press release from FIBA.

More than two dozen current NBA players are participating in the tournament, and 11 of the 24 teams competing for Olympic spots have at least one current NBA players on their respective rosters. Of those clubs, Team Canada has the biggest contingent of NBA players — eight of the 12 players on Nick Nurse‘s squad finished the season on an NBA roster. Turkey is next with four NBA players.

The four qualifying tournaments will take place in Serbia, Lithuania, Croatia, and Canada. Only the winner of each six-team group will advance to Tokyo. Those four winners will join Japan, Nigeria, Argentina, Iran, France, Spain, Australia, and the U.S. in the 12-team Olympic tournament.

The teams that move onto the Olympics may tweak their rosters for Tokyo, depending on the availability of certain players. For instance, if Greece were to win its qualifying tournament, perhaps Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo – who remains active in the playoffs for now – would make an effort to join the team in Tokyo next month.

Here are the NBA players on the OQT rosters:

Belgrade, Serbia

Kaunas, Lithuania

Split, Croatia

Victoria, Canada

There are also many former NBA players among the 24 rosters, including Mario Hezonja (Croatia), Milos Teodosic (Serbia), Jan Vesely (Czech Republic), Timofey Mozgov (Russia), and Anthony Bennett (Canada).

To view the full rosters, be sure to visit FIBA’s official site and click through to each team from there.

Olympic Notes: Spain, Simmons, Nigeria, Turkey, Garland

Veteran center Pau Gasol, who has represented Spain in four Olympic tournaments so far, remains on track to be part of the team in Tokyo, per an Associated Press report. Gasol was one of 18 players included on Spain’s preliminary roster for the Tokyo games, joining his brother – Lakers center Marc Gasol – and Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio.

Timberwolves forward Juan Hernangomez, Pelicans big man Willy Hernangomez, and projected first-round pick Usman Garuba are among the other notable names on Spain’s preliminary roster, according to The Associated Press.

Here’s more on the Tokyo Olympics:

Heat Notes: Olympics, Dedmon, Robinson, Haslem

Nine Heat players spoke to reporters today as part of the team’s end-of-season media availability, and many of those players intend to represent their countries in international play this summer, as Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald details.

Nigeria, one of the eight countries to have already clinched its spot in the men’s basketball event at the Tokyo Olympics, has talked to Precious Achiuwa about playing this summer, but he has yet to make a final decision. Teammate Gabe Vincent will train with Nigeria and hopes to make the Olympic roster.

Nemanja Bjelica, meanwhile, plans to play for Serbia at the Tokyo Olympics, while Omer Yurtseven – who signed with the Heat at the end of the season – intends to be part of the Turkish team as the club looks to secure an Olympic berth in next month’s qualifying tournament.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Veteran center Dewayne Dedmon said that he’d like to return to the Heat next season, but added, “That’s up to the people upstairs.” While Miami’s front office would probably reciprocate Dedmon’s interest, given how he played down the stretch, he’ll only have Non-Bird rights, limiting the team’s ability to give him much of a raise beyond the veteran’s minimum, as Jackson notes.
  • Asked about his priorities in free agency, Duncan Robinson offered the following response: “First and foremost, a fit, a place I can really feel comfortable. Winning is a priority for me. And also a business and there’s an opportunity to take care of people that I love.” Robinson will be a restricted free agent, so the Heat will have the ability to match if he signs an offer sheet.
  • Udonis Haslem remains undecided on whether he’ll retire or return to the Heat for 2021/22, but he made it clear he doesn’t take his spot on the roster for granted, as Jackson writes. “I don’t have an offseason. I’m 40 years old. If I have an offseason, I might as well retire,” Haslem said. “Straight from the season to back in the gym. I’m calling Bam (Adebayo); his (butt) is coming with me. I’m calling Precious. He’s coming with me.” Haslem added that he doesn’t have interest in coaching, but suggested he wants to eventually own part of a franchise, according to Jackson.

Heat Notes: Butler, Yurtseven, Long-Term Outlook, Bam

Heat star wing Jimmy Butler has had an outsized impact on the club during the games he has been available this season, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. As Chiang observes, the Heat are 6-13 in games played without Butler this year. Miami is 33-19 when Butler has suited up.

The veteran swingman is averaging 21.5 PPG and career highs of 6.9 RPG, 7.1 APG and 2.1 SPG for the club, though Chiang notes that Butler’s impact goes beyond these basic counting stats — his on/off-court net rating differential is 11.4 points per 100 possessions. Chiang posits that Butler, whose early-season injuries kept him out of making his sixth All-Star team, will earn significant consideration for All-NBA and All-Defensive team honors.

“I think if we had a complete year and a full year and health and everything, yeah Jimmy Butler, in my mind, has to be in that conversation for [league] MVP,” head coach Erik Spoelstra raved, while taking into consideration the fact that Butler and several of his teammates have missed significant time due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols and injuries during a truncated 2020/21 season. “I think his game is just continuing to grow, that’s as a winner, as a throw back player. A guy that really impacts the game on both ends of the court. He truly does, it’s not just talk. He has as much of an impact on the defensive side as he does the offensive side.” 

The 39-32 Heat, currently the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference, will conclude their season today against the 20-51 Pistons. Butler missed yesterday’s loss to Milwaukee due to lower back stiffness, and Chiang tweets that he will sit out the season finale as well.

There’s more out of South Beach:

  • The Heat’s latest addition, 275-pound seven-footer Omer Yurtseven, inked his deal with Miami Friday. Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald reveals that the 22-year-old big man’s contract covers the 2021/22 season, though next year’s salary will be non-guaranteed. Yurtseven was undrafted out of Georgetown in 2020. “I think that will be the biggest thing, the rebounding and the defending,” he said during a video call with reporters Friday. “And on the other side of the floor, being able to stretch the floor, being a hybrid big.” Yurtseven played for the Oklahoma City Blue, the Thunder’s G League affiliate, during the 2020/21 NBAGL “bubble” season in Orlando. Across 14 games for the Blue, he averaged 15.2 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.4 BPG during 21.1 minutes. He also boasted a solid slash line of .626/.381/.680.
  • Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel suggests that thinking too long-term could hurt the Heat’s short-term aspirations. Winderman points to the club’s decision to sign unproven rookie Yurtseven to its 15th and final roster spot over a veteran who could help the club in the playoffs.
  • Heat center Bam Adebayo could net a major payoff if he earns end-of-year awards honors during the span of his maximum five-year, $163MM rookie extension with the club, as Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel notes. If Adebayo is named to the All-NBA First Team, the value of his deal increases to $186MM over the length of the contract. If he nets the Defensive Player of the Year award, his cumulative salary would increase to $179MM. Neither of those outcomes seems particularly likely this season, however.

Heat Sign Omer Yurtseven

The Heat have signed free agent center Omer Yurtseven, the team announced in a press release today. Miami’s roster is now full ahead of the playoffs.

“Couldn’t be more proud and excited to be a part of this culture and get to work with the best of the best,” he wrote on social media. The grind continues.”

Yurtseven appeared in 14 G League games this season with Oklahoma City, averaging 15.2 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per contest. He also recorded five double-doubles during that span.

The big man joins a Heat roster that already has Precious Achiuwa and Nemanja Bjelica off its bench, along with All-Star Bam Adebayo and veteran big man Udonis Haslem in its frontcourt.

Miami is 39-31 with two games remaining in the 2020/21 season. Yurtseven won’t travel with the team for either game, the club announced (via Twitter). Exact terms of his deal aren’t yet known, but the Heat have already used their full mid-level exception, so they couldn’t have offered more than a two-year deal.

Thunder Sign, Waive Omer Yurtseven

DECEMBER 9: After signing him on Monday, the Thunder waived Yurtseven on Tuesday, according to the NBA’s official transactions log.

Oklahoma City now has 18 players on its roster, with deals for Chasson Randle (training camp contract), Moses Brown (two-way contract), and Theo Maledon (standard contract) expected to be completed soon.

DECEMBER 8: The Thunder have filled the open spot on their 20-man training camp roster by officially signing undrafted rookie Omer Yurtseven to a one-year contract, per RealGM’s transactions log.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported shortly after last month’s draft that the Thunder and Yurtseven had reached an agreement on an Exhibit 10 deal. The former Georgetown big man looks like a good bet to join the Thunder’s G League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue.

Yurtseven, 22, began his college career at North Carolina State before transferring to Georgetown. He was the Hoyas’ starting center in 2019/20, averaging 15.5 PPG, 9.8 RPG, and 1.5 BPG in 26 games (27.3 MPG). He decided to go pro this spring following his junior season.

Thunder Expected To Sign Omer Yurtseven, Josh Hall

The Thunder have reached an agreement on an Exhibit 10 contract for undrafted Georgtown big man Omer Yurtseven, sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

Yurtseven, 22, began his college career at North Carolina State before transferring to Georgetown. He was the Hoyas’ starting center in 2019/20, averaging 15.5 PPG, 9.8 RPG, and 1.5 BPG in 26 games (27.3 MPG).

Having declared for the draft following his junior season, Yurtseven wasn’t one of the 60 players selected on Wednesday night, but ranked as ESPN’s 31st-best undrafted prospect and didn’t take long to find a home for training camp.

Meanwhile, the Thunder have also reached a deal to sign free agent forward Josh Hall, an undrafted prospect out of Moravian Prep, a source tells Jake Weingarten of (Twitter link). It’ll be a two-way contract, according to Weingarten (Twitter link).

The No. 5 undrafted prospect on ESPN’s list, Hall has “considerable potential” as both a shooter and ball-handler, according to Mike Schmitz’s scouting report. Schmitz adds that Hall isn’t NBA-ready, but could develop into a rotation wing with some G League seasoning.

Draft Notes: Ball, Edwards, Maxey, Yurtseven, More

LaMelo Ball, a candidate to be the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, reportedly met virtually with New York and Golden State earlier in the year and had an in-person visit with the Timberwolves this week. He’s also expected to meet with the Hornets, Bulls, and Warriors (again) next week.

While Ball has been getting familiar with the teams at the very top of the draft, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer said during an appearance on Sports Radio WFNZ this week that he has heard from multiple sources that Ball “is not performing very well at job interviews.”

“He is not improving his perception via job interview,” Bonnell said, per Dan Feldman of NBC Sports. “There are people drafting later in the top ten who were not preparing for the possibility of Ball still being around. And I’m not saying that he will not be a top-three pick. I am saying that I know for a fact that there are teams later in the top ten who are doing more research on him, because they no longer think it’s a given he will.”

With the 2020 NBA draft less than three weeks away, we’re knee-deep in smokescreen season, so it’s difficult to know how seriously to take reports like these. Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic dug into the “art of subterfuge” in a new article, noting that the Timberwolves and Warriors – both of whom are said to be interested in trading down – are taking different approaches during the pre-draft process.

While Golden State has been rumored to have real interest in over a half-dozen prospects, Minnesota has been very tight-lipped about the No. 1 pick. In each case, teams that might be interested in trading up haven’t been able to get a clear sense of whether or not the Wolves or Warriors will take the player they want.

Here’s more on the draft:

  • NBA scouts and executives weren’t allowed to be in the gym for the televised Pro Day for Anthony Edwards and Tyrese Maxey on Thursday, as Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. A source tells Berman that some agents were unhappy with the setup, feeling as if it was “unwarranted exposure” for Rich Paul‘s clients. The Knicks were among the teams watching the event on TV, Berman adds.
  • Former Georgetown big man Omer Yurtseven has had virtual meetings with 19 teams, he told Keith Smith of RealGM. However, he’s disappointed he hasn’t got a chance to conduct in-person workouts for all those clubs. “It’s been tough to not be able to work out directly for teams,” Yurtseven said. “I’ve spent a lot of time working on my lateral quickness. I know I needed to be quicker to play in the NBA. I worked on that a lot and can’t wait to show teams.”
  • Eamonn Brennan of The Athletic identifies five prospects he thinks are sleepers in the 2020 draft, including Kansas center Udoka Azubuike, Michigan State guard Cassius Winston, and Charleston guard Grant Riller.