Omer Yurtseven

Heat Notes: Herro, Cap Outlook, Adebayo, Yurtseven

When the Heat signed Tyler Herro to a long-term deal on Sunday, this year’s rookie scale extension deadline was still over two weeks away. But Herro told reporters, including Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald, that he was happy with the Heat’s offer and didn’t feel the need to take negotiations down to the wire to try to squeeze out a few more million.

“It was a number I couldn’t pass up,” Herro said. “It wasn’t worth going into restricted free agency. And at the end of the day, this is where I want to be. … So it made sense.”

Herro’s new contract has a base value of $120MM and can technically be worth up to $130MM, but his incentives won’t be easy to achieve. As Anil Gogna of details (via Twitter), Herro’s various bonuses are tied to being named to an All-NBA team, winning the MVP, and/or being named Defensive Player of the Year.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • With Herro locked up for the next five seasons, the Heat will face a cap crunch going forward, according to Chiang and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. As The Herald’s duo observes, any major roster addition Miami makes in the next few years will likely have to come via trade, since the team won’t have any cap room available anytime soon, barring some major roster reshuffling. Re-signing Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, and/or Omer Yurtseven beyond 2022/23 will only push team salary further over the cap (and the tax line), Chiang and Jackson note.
  • After playing Bam Adebayo and Yurtseven together for just 18 total minutes last season, head coach Erik Spoelstra had the duo on the floor for 20 minutes in the Heat’s preseason opener on Tuesday, showing that he’s committed to determining whether the frontcourt pairing can work, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. “They’re not going to play this many minutes together (during the season), if they play together. We’ll figure that part out,” Spoelstra said. “But that takes more time than some of the space or speed lineups. That’s why we’re dedicating time to that now in the preseason and in training camp.”
  • Spoelstra intends to continue using the preseason as a time to experiment with different lineup combinations, telling reporters that he’s “open to whatever” as he gets a sense of what works and what doesn’t, per Winderman. “We view all of this as training camp until we get to that Chicago game,” Spoelstra said, referring to Miami’s first game of the regular season on October 19.

Southeast Notes: Clifford, Yurtseven, Wright, Hurricane

In his second stint as the Hornets‘ head coach, Steve Clifford says that individual agendas have to be put aside if they want to be more than just a play-in team, Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer writes.

“We have to be more selfless,” Hornets forward Kelly Oubre said. “We noticed that last year, that when we tried to go out and do things on our own it doesn’t work out as well as it would if we all did it together. So, coach talked about sacrificing some parts of our game to win and winning is the only option. Winning is what we practice and work hard for and we need to consistently do that to show that we are a serious team.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Omer Yurtseven has been putting up hundreds of 3-point shots during the offseason and he hopes that will convince Heat coach Erik Spoelstra to play him alongside Bam Adebayo at times, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “We haven’t had the discussion, but I feel like it is in the plans,” Yurtseven said. “In pickup [games], we’ve started that rhythm that we have with each other. Training camp is going to be the real proving grounds.”
  • Delon Wright joined the Wizards on a two-year, $16MM contract in free agency. Part of their recruiting pitch was the desire to improve their backcourt defense, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington“When (coach Wes Unseld Jr.) and (GM Tommy Sheppard) called me in free agency, they told me about the need for defense. The team struggled last year defensively and I feel like I’m going to help the team get better at that,” Wright said.
  • The Magic have to alter their practice plans this week due to Hurricane Ian, Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel reports. The players are concerned about the deteriorating weather conditions. “We just talked about it,” big man Franz Wagner said. “Obviously, I’m nervous because I’ve never experienced anything like this. Just trying to listen to everybody here, what they’re telling us and making sure we have everything at home. Trying to be safe.” Wednesday’s practice has already been called off, Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press tweets.

International Notes: Jokic, Antetokounmpo, Yurtseven, Pokusevski, Jovic

Nuggets star Nikola Jokic is looking forward to representing Serbia on the basketball court for the first time in three years, writes Johnny Askounis of EuroHoops. The two-time MVP will join the national team for a pair of 2023 FIBA World Cup qualifying games, hosting Greece August 25 and traveling to Turkey August 28.

“I feel great, similar to every time I reunite with these guys. I just met some of them,” Jokic said in advance of the Serbian team’s training camp. “We are preparing, we just started and we will see how far we can go. Up first are the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers and the goal of helping Serbia qualify to the World Cup.”

Jokic also plans to participate in EuroBasket next month, and he could return for both the 2023 World Cup and the 2024 Olympics if Serbia qualifies. Jokic cited a special pride in being able to play for his home nation.

“It means a lot, I talked with my family, it’s a totally different feeling when you play for the national team,” Jokic said. “I felt different when I came here than when I go to Denver.”

There’s more international news to pass along:

  • Another MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and his brother and Bucks teammate, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, are in Athens waiting to join the Greek team for training camp, per Aris Barkas of EuroHoops. An agreement limits NBA players to 28 days of preparation before major FIBA tournaments and 14 days before the Olympics. The other Antetokounmpo brothers, Alex and Kostas, are already training with Greece. New Mavericks signee Tyler Dorsey is under the same restrictions as Giannis and Thanasis and can’t start training until Thursday.
  • Heat center Omer Yurtseven elected not to join the Turkish national team’s training camp in Italy, but he didn’t inform team officials of his decision or seek permission in advance, according to a EuroHoops report. The decision was made by Yurtseven rather than the Heat, the story adds, as the rookie center chose to stay in Miami and focus on preparing for training camp. The report notes that Yurtseven was suspended for eight games in 2018 for skipping national team activities without providing notice.
  • Thunder forward Aleksej Pokusevski and Heat rookie Nikola Jovic were denied permission by their respective teams to join Serbia for EuroBasket and the World Cup qualifiers, Askounis states in a separate story. Hawks forward Bogdan Bogdanovic is also unavailable because he’s recovering from knee surgery.

Heat Notes: Lowry, Crowder, Yurtseven, Jovic

Heat point guard Kyle Lowry still won’t reveal the specifics of the family situation that caused him to miss nine games in January and February, and he tells Doug Smith of The Toronto Star that it hasn’t been fully resolved. Lowry said the issue continued to be a distraction even after he resumed playing.

“It’s definitely something that kind of derailed my whole season and kept me derailed for a long time,” Lowry said. “Still to this day, it’s still something I deal with every single day, I actually got a phone call just now about it. It’s life, life happens and you just have to continue to get better and focus on the things you can control and try to help as best you can because at the end of the day, I can’t do this or that, all I can do is go to people who can help me and hopefully I can help them and we can kind of work together and collaborate.”

Lowry was in Toronto today to take part in the Nick Nurse Foundation golf tournament. Even though he chose to leave the Raptors in free agency last summer, Lowry has remained friendly with his former coach.

“Nick’s a friend of mine and we got closer and closer and as the years went on we trusted each other more and more,” Lowry said. “To keep a relationship with a guy like him, obviously I’m here for a reason, he’s such a great man, he’s helped me in my career tremendously and all I can do is try to give back as much to him as he’s given to me.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • Miami would be interested in bringing back versatile forward Jae Crowder, but there’s no easy way to match salaries in a trade with the Suns, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Crowder, who is entering the final year of his contract, raised some eyebrows this week when he tweeted“Change is inevitable.. Growth is optional.!! I believe its time for a change… I wanna continue growing!” Although Crowder doesn’t specify that he’s talking about basketball, the message has led to speculation that he wants to play somewhere else.
  • Omer Yurtseven will have to improve defensively to earn regular playing time, per Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Winderman adds that the Heat view Yurtseven as a backup to starting center Bam Adebayo, but he’ll have to compete with Dewayne Dedmon for those minutes.
  • First-round pick Nikola Jovic won’t play for the Serbian national team in the World Cup qualifier or EuroBasket, according to Winderman (Twitter link). Jovic will focus on preparing for Miami’s training camp, which starts in late September. Yurtseven is also expected to bypass international competitions with Turkey (Twitter link).

Heat Notes: Adebayo, Yurtseven, Jovic, Durant

Though the Heat are still making an effort to trade for a star like Nets forward Kevin Durant or Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, the team could eventually consider pivoting to pursuing a solid veteran like John Collins, Myles Turner, or Harrison Barnes in their frontcourt, says Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Winderman writes that Miami’s front office has had conversations about potentially including young All-Defensive center Bam Adebayo in a deal for Durant, but not everyone in the Heat brain trust is on board with offloading the 25-year-old big man for the injury-prone 33-year-old veteran.

Winderman adds that the team could trade up to three future first-round selections at present, but could theoretically acquire more to include in a deal if it opted to move other young players like Tyler Herro, Max Strus, Omer Yurtseven, Gabe Vincent, or Nikola Jovic in separate trades with other clubs for additional draft picks.

There’s more out of South Beach:

  • The Heat will probably wait to move on to Plan B trade targets until they have exhausted their possibilities for adding Durant or Mitchell, writes Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. According to Chiang, Miami most likely will want to keep its coffers open should another superstar become available via trade.
  • Following summer training obligations with their respective national teams, Heat big men Omer Yurtseven and Nikola Jovic will have to hop directly to a training camp with Miami, with possibly as little as a two weeks off in between, notes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
  • In a separate piece, Winderman wonders if the Heat are hurting themselves as they await a potential Durant deal. With league activities essentially on hold until Durant is moved, Miami finds itself at something of a crossroads. The team currently lacks a true NBA rotational power forward after having let P.J. Tucker walk in free agency and thus far not opting to re-sign Markieff Morris.

Heat Notes: Garrett, Mulder, Yurtseven, Jovic

Saturday’s Summer League contest marked the first game in more than six months for Heat guard Marcus Garrett, who underwent season-ending wrist surgery in January, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Garrett recently received medical clearance to start playing again and didn’t take part in any of Miami’s games in the California Classic.

Garrett earned a two-way contract last summer and appeared in 12 games before the injury. He’s an effective defender with a 6’10” wingspan, but Chiang says he’ll have to prove he can contribute enough on offense to earn another chance with the Heat.

“It was great to see him back there,” Summer League coach Malik Allen said. “When he gets between those lines, he’s a tough competitor and obviously he lifted us up. It was just great to have him back.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • After struggling with his three-point shot in California, Mychal Mulder bounced back with a 5-of-8 performance in his first game in Las Vegas. Mulder currently holds one of Miami’s two-way slots, but Chang notes that he’ll have to show he can be a reliable outside shooter to remain on the roster. “He was due,” Allen said. “But the big thing with Mike was, he really did make a lot of great plays. That’s what I just kind of kept stressing to him. I know he wanted some shots to fall, but he’s made some really great plays for us.”
  • The Heat aren’t sure if Omer Yurtseven will see any Summer League action because of a quad injury he suffered with the Turkish national team, Chiang adds in a separate story. Yurtseven, who’s entering the final season of his two-year contract, flew to Las Vegas after helping Turkey win a World Cup qualifier last Sunday. “I do want to play. That’s the reason I’m here,” he said. “I’m just here to pretty much get better and I think playing is the best way to do it.”
  • Miami is still experimenting with the best Summer League role for first-round pick Nikola Jovic, per Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel.

Heat Guarantee Salaries For Strus, Vincent, Yurtseven

As expected, the Heat let a June 29 salary guarantee deadline come and go for three players who had non-guaranteed minimum salaries for 2022/23.

According to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter link), Max Strus ($1,815,677), Gabe Vincent ($1,815,677), and Omer Yurtseven ($1,752,638) now have guaranteed contracts for next season.

Strus, 26, emerged as a regular part of the Heat’s rotation this past season, averaging 10.6 PPG with a .410 3PT% in 68 regular season games (23.3 MPG). He entered the starting lineup down the stretch and for all 18 of Miami’s postseason contests, since he was more reliable defensively than fellow sharpshooter Duncan Robinson.

Vincent, serving as the primary backup at the point for Kyle Lowry, averaged 8.7 PPG and 3.1 APG on .417/.368/.815 shooting in 68 regular season appearances (23.4 MPG).

Yurtseven didn’t have as significant a role as Strus or Vincent, but did get into the starting lineup for 12 of his 56 appearances, averaging a double-double (12.1 PPG, 12.7 RPG) in those 12 starts. He registered 5.3 PPG and 5.3 RPG in 12.6 minutes per contest for the season.

Strus and Vincent are now on track to reach unrestricted free agency in 2023, while Yurtseven will be eligible for restricted free agency next summer.

Southeast Notes: Yurtseven, Heat Draft, Beal, Fields

Omer Yurtseven will play in the summer league, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald tweets. There was some question about the center’s availability because of his obligations with the Turkish national team but the Heat confirmed to the media on Monday that Yurtseven will play next month. Miami has until June 29 to guarantee Yurtseven’s $1,752,638 salary for next season and this would suggest the team plans to do so.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat hold the No. 27 pick in the draft and the South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman takes a look at some of the prospects Miami might consider at that spot, including Tennessee guard Kennedy Chandler, Arizona guard Dalen Terry and G League Ignite guard Jaden Hardy.
  • Wizards star Bradley Beal is flattered when draft prospects praise him and say they try to emulate him, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. “It’s surreal. It’s really surreal because I was those kids looking up to pro players and looking up to guys that I watched play,” he said. “I never would have imagined that kids would say I’m their favorite player or that they would model their game after me.”
  • New Hawks general manager Landry Fields is prioritizing defense, according to The Associated Press’ Charles Odum.“The identity defensively has been, well that’s something we’re going to have to build into,” Landry said. “That’s been part of the reason why we haven’t taken that (next) step.” Fields acknowledges the front office is looking at trade options to make that happen, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic writes. “Trade is absolutely, in looking at the finances, something that is going to be important for us,” he said.

Heat Notes: Lowry, Yurtseven, Collins, Morris

The Heat made a massive gamble in signing-and-trading for 36-year-old former All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry during the 2021 offseason. Lowry’s leadership, passing ability and defensive moxie helped Miami knock on the door of its second NBA Finals appearance in three seasons this year, but the team’s 2022 draft will be negatively impacted by the signing, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

The league penalized Miami for apparently reaching a deal with Lowry before free agency opened, taking away the Heat’s 2022 second-round draft pick. Miami will not have a second-round draft pick until the 2028 season, though the team has had plenty of recent success in signing undrafted free agent rookies.

“Of course it’s disappointing to lose an asset,” said Heat vice president of basketball operations Adam Simon. “You can acquire a player on the night of the draft, and then have him under contact, versus waiting on players that don’t get drafted and then hoping that you can talk the agent into delivering them to you. So certainly having a pick, a late pick, it helps.”

Winderman notes that Miami also has not had the benefit of a second-round selection in five of the last six drafts.

Across 63 contests with Miami during the regular season, Lowry averaged 13.4 PPG, 7.5 APG and 4.5 RPG. He posted shooting splits of .440/.377/.851. Injuries limited Lowry to appearing in just 10 of 18 playoff contests.

There’s more out of South Beach:

  • Due to obligations with the Turkish national basketball team, Heat reserve center Omer Yurtseven will most likely not play in Summer League games for Miami, per Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald“I have to go to the national team. So if that takes me away from summer league, I might not be able to,” Yurtseven said. In 10 consecutive starts in December and January prior to Bam Adebayo‘s return from a thumb injury, Yurtseven averaged 13.6 PPG, 13.9 RPG and 2.9 APG. By the playoffs, however, he was out of the rotation. Yurtseven, 24, is optimistic about what he was able to show with the club when he did play. “I was given an opportunity and took full advantage of it for that six-week stretch,” he said. “Then afterwards, just stayed the course, stayed professional and did my job and stayed ready.”
  • Though the Heat enjoyed a relatively successful 2021/22 NBA season, they fell short of their ultimate goal: their first championship since 2013. Miami fell in seven games to the Celtics in a hotly-contested Eastern Conference Finals series. The club may look to make some significant personnel tweaks during the 2022 offseason. Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald wonders if athletic Hawks power forward John Collins could be a solid fit in the Miami frontcourt alongside Adebayo.
  • Heat reserve big man Markieff Morris lost his place in the team’s rotation following a major neck injury that kept him out for most of the 2021/22 season, his first with Miami. Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel speculates on whether or not Morris may ultimately decide to return to the Heat as an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Injury Notes: LaVine, White, Harden, Garland, Hayward, More

Bulls All-Star Zach LaVine has been suffering through back spasms recently, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic relays. LaVine was noticeably wincing during Chicago’s 127-120 overtime defeat to Toronto on Thursday. Center Nikola Vučević says the team appreciates LaVine’s commitment to winning despite not being fully healthy.

It tells us a lot about Zach playing through back spasms,” Vučević said. “It’s not easy. It limits you a lot. You just don’t have that freedom of movement, especially in the back. It’s a big, important part of your body, especially when you play basketball. I’m sure it was bothering him a lot, especially on the offensive end trying to score and be aggressive.

But it speaks a lot about his commitment to winning and to this team trying to still be out there. Even him not being 100 percent helps us a lot, so we appreciate him being out there.”

Coach Billy Donovan told reporters, including K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link), that the Bulls are hopeful LaVine will return Sunday after sitting out Friday on the second game of a back-to-back. However, Donovan also said that LaVine is still battling the knee soreness that sidelined him for a handful of games last month.

Here are some more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • LaVine wasn’t the only Bulls player absent from Friday’s 122-115 win at Indiana, as Coby White also missed the game due to a groin strain, Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago tweets. Donovan said White has had lingering discomfort in the groin, but it was aggravated against Toronto.
  • Nets coach Steve Nash said James Harden was held out of Brooklyn’s 125-102 blowout loss at Utah on Friday for precautionary reasons, per Nick Friedell of ESPN (via Twitter). The team is giving Harden a couple extra days rest to ensure his hamstring is feeling better. Nash doesn’t think Harden will need an MRI and is hopeful he’ll return to action Sunday at Denver. Rudy Gay exited the game early for the Jazz with right knee soreness and didn’t return to the court, Tony Jones of The Athletic tweets.
  • Cavaliers guard Darius Garland, recently named an All-Star for the first time, missed his third consecutive game Friday at Charlotte with lower back soreness, writes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Gordon Hayward returned to action for the Hornets in the team’s 102-101 loss after missing the past two weeks due to COVID-19, Boone notes.
  • Lakers forward Carmelo Anthony will likely be out Saturday vs. New York, providing extra rest before the team re-evaluates his strained right hamstring next week, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. LeBron James is also doubtful for the contest against the Knicks with knee swelling, per Marc Berman of The New York Post (Twitter link).
  • Heat center Omer Yurtseven has cleared the health and safety protocols and is available for Saturday’s game at Charlotte, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports (via Twitter).
  • Cade Cunningham, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2021 draft, missed his second straight game for the Pistons Friday with a hip pointer, Keith Langlois of tweets. Coach Dwane Casey said the injury isn’t considered serious, but the team is being cautious with its rising star. The Pistons fell to the Celtics, 102-93.
  • Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon missed his second consecutive game Friday with hamstring tightness, per Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports (Twitter link). The Nuggets lost to the Pelicans without Gordon, 113-105.