Pat Riley

Heat Rumors: Butler, Trade Talks, 15-Man Roster

Reports earlier this week on the Jimmy Butler situation suggested that the Timberwolves nearly accepted a Heat offer that included Josh Richardson and a first-round pick, but ultimately asked Miami for more. A subsequent report indicated that Wolves owner Glen Taylor wasn’t responsible for turning down that offer.

During an appearance on Mason and Ireland, ESPN’s Jorge Sedano confirmed both stories, reporting that the Heat and Timberwolves got close to a trade that would have sent Butler to Miami for Richardson, a first-round pick, and Dion Waiters. The two teams even exchanged medical information for the players involved. However, according to Sedano, Tom Thibodeau asked the Heat for more draft picks, at which point Pat Riley called him a “motherf—er” and hung up on him (Twitter links).

For what it’s worth, a source familiar with the negotiations disputes that story, telling Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel that Riley insists he didn’t offer such a reaction. That source apparently didn’t deny the other details of those trade discussions though.

Here’s more on the Heat, including another note on their dealings with the Timberwolves:

  • Both Winderman and Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald report that the Heat aren’t pushing to re-engage the Timberwolves in trade discussions involving Butler. While that doesn’t necessarily mean that a deal won’t happen, Miami sounds ready to move on and prepare for the season. Butler didn’t travel with the Wolves to Milwaukee, with Thibodeau telling reporters that the All-NBA swingman is in Minnesota working on his conditioning, adding that the situation remains “fluid” (Twitter link via Dane Moore of 1500ESPN).
  • The Heat typically carry a full 15-man roster into the regular season, but the team appears likely to open the 2018/19 campaign with just 14 players, as Winderman writes in another piece for The Sun Sentinel. According to Winderman, the Heat haven’t entered the season with fewer than 15 players on standard contracts since 2003/04. Luxury tax concerns likely play a major part in that decision this year — Miami is currently over the tax line by about $6.3MM.
  • In a Q&A with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Chris Bosh explained that he still hopes to return to the NBA because he views his career as an “unfinished painting.” Bosh pointed specifically to his final season with the Heat, noting that he thought the team had the potential to win the East, but he didn’t get a chance to see it through.

Author Claims LeBron Wanted Riley To Coach In Miami

Early in his first season in Miami, LeBron James sent a message to Heat president Pat Riley that he should take over coaching duties from Erik Spoelstra, author Ian Thomsen claims in a new book. That story is among several contained in “The Soul of Basketball: The Epic Showdown Between LeBron, Kobe, Doc, and Dirk That Saved the NBA,” which Thomsen promoted in a recent appearance on Zach Lowe’s podcast (Hat tip to Dane Delgado of NBC Sports).

Spoelstra was in his third year as head coach when a rift reportedly developed between him and James during a 9-8 start. After a loss to the Mavericks, James dropped a subtle hint to Riley that he wanted him back behind the bench.

“[I] asked how things were progressing,” Riley recalls in the book. “They just said, ‘We’re not feeling it, or something like that.’ We talked about the typical things we have to do, have patience, all that stuff. And I remember LeBron looking at me and he said, ‘Don’t you ever get the itch?’

“And I said, ‘The itch for what?’ He said, ‘The itch to coach again.’ I said, ‘No I don’t have the itch.’

“He didn’t ask any more questions and I didn’t offer any more answers but I know what it meant and I always go back and wonder what he was thinking at that time. He walked out scratching at his leg like it was itching.”

Riley, of course, remained in the front office as Spoelstra led Miami to four straight NBA Finals and a pair of championships. James was involved in a similar scenario after returning to Cleveland, where he reportedly clashed with coach David Blatt, who was eventually replaced by Tyronn Lue.

Southeast Notes: Robinson, Hornets, Wade, Carter

Despite being invited to participate with USA Basketball in its World Cup qualifying round games, Heat swingman Duncan Robinson has opted to remain in Miami for informal team workouts in the hopes of landing a standard NBA contract for the upcoming season, reports Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel.

“I’m really proud in the fact that Duncan Robinson has been invited to play in the international series,” said Heat team president Pat Riley“but he decided to stay here because he wanted to make our team, he wants to force us into giving him a real (standard NBA) contract.”

Robinson, 24, signed a two-way contract with the Heat on July 10th that would limit him to 45 days in the NBA this coming season and maximum earnings of about $385K, per Winderman. A standard NBA contract at the rookie minimum would pay Robinson just north of $838K.

Robinson says that his goal in passing over the opportunity to play for Team USA is to maximize his opportunities in the Heat developmental program. “I mean the margin between having this job or being overseas or being in the G League, whatever it might be, is so thin,” Robinson said. “And I understand that. I understand I caught some breaks and was able to put myself in a situation to be successful. I’m certainly thankful for that.”

There’s more today out of the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets have struggled to attract big name free agents since the franchise returned to North Carolina in 2004, but Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer doesn’t think it has as much to do with the city of Charlotte itself as it has to do with the team’s lack of cap space. Per Bonnell, money is the No. 1 factor in free agency and, unfortunately, the Hornets don’t have significant space under the salary cap now or in the immediate future.
  • In another piece for the Sun-Sentinel, Winderman opines that Riley is fully committed to signing Wade to a free agent contract this summer, luxury tax concerns be darned. Riley’s greater concern would be Wade’s level of commitment. Per Winderman, Riley would likely want a commitment from Wade that this season isn’t simply a retirement tour, but that Wade is seriously interested in making the Heat a better team.
  • While Vince Carter could have spurned the Hawks and signed with a serious title contender this offseason, he tells Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that such a quest is “not his style.” Rather, Carter will be relied upon to be a veteran influence over the youthful roster Atlanta has assembled. “Let them see me and let them see how annoying I can be, but in a good way,” Carter said during an introductory press conference. “I’m going to stay in their ear. At least you know at any time throughout the year, whether it’s practice games, any situation, they will have me to fall back on. Or I’ll come up to them and help them out any way I can.”

Heat Want Dwyane Wade Back, Will Meet Soon

Heat president Pat Riley will meet with Dwyane Wade in the near future with the goal of signing Wade for at least one more season, Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press tweets. “We want him back,” Riley said.

Riley also wants to re-sign big man Udonis Haslem. The Heat have been holding roster spots for both longtime veterans.

According to Riley’s ‘gut feeling,’ Haslem will be back. Wade’s return is less certain.

Riley indicated that Wade’s return is not linked to offering the team’s full taxpayer mid-level exception of $5.3MM, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter links).

The Heat already have nearly $127MM in salary commitments, which would put them over the luxury tax threshold.

Wade recently stated he wouldn’t play overseas after he reportedly received a lucrative offer from a Chinese team. Haslem has been working out with other Miami players in anticipation he’ll re-sign with the team he’s played for the past 15 seasons.

Southeast Notes: Riley, Howard, Kaminsky, Lamb

Heat president Pat Riley understands some fans are disappointed that he didn’t add any big names this offseason, but he’s asking them to be patient as he works to rebuild the team, relays Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Miami won’t have the cap space to pursue big-name free agents until the summer of 2020. Riley is trying to lay the groundwork for that opportunity while keeping a competitive group on the court.

“If any fan out there is unhappy or angry we didn’t go out and get LeBron James or Kevin Durant or [DeMarcus] Cousins or whatever else they felt that they would want us to get probably didn’t realize we couldn’t get them anyhow, that we couldn’t trade for them,” Riley said. “There are things I read [where] people are so uninformed about the rules and what we can and cannot do until one of you [reporters] – and most of the time you do that – [say] we couldn’t make that move.”

Riley also confirmed that he has refused to surrender first-round picks in deals to get rid of unwanted contracts.

There’s more tonight from the Southeast Division:

  • John Wall showed off his recruiting skills by convincing Dwight Howard to come to the Wizards, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Howard wasn’t considering the Wizards as he was negotiating a buyout from the Nets, but an appeal from Wall changed that. “No lie, when I saw the message on Instagram, I really got so happy,” Howard said at his introductory press conference this week. “I was like ‘John just DM’d me, oh man this is crazy!’ After that, I really just started to put on my thinking cap. I just thought about all the possibilities. I was like ‘Man, this could be the best spot for me.'”
  • Former Hornets lottery pick Frank Kaminsky is entering a vital season for his financial future, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer in a mailbag column. Kaminsky will be a restricted free agent next summer if he can’t work out an extension with Charlotte before the start of the upcoming season. The Hornets gave deals to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Cody Zeller before they could test the free agent waters, but Bonnell isn’t convinced that Kaminsky has the same value.
  • If the Hornets are looking to unload players at next year’s trade deadline, Jeremy Lamb will be a prime candidate to go, Bonnell writes in the same piece. Lamb has an expiring contract and Charlotte has a lot of wing players on its roster.

Pat Riley Talks Wade, Haslem, Winslow, Whiteside

The futures of Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem remain uncertain for now, but Heat president Pat Riley said today on a conference call that he expects both players to make decisions within the next few weeks on whether or not they want to return to Miami. While Wade and Haslem have reportedly received overseas interest, there’s a belief that both players are more likely to either re-sign with the Heat or retire.

As Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald details, Riley said that he expects to have some clarity on both players by the middle of August. The Heat president also spoke specifically about the club’s desire to re-sign Wade.

“I want Dwyane back as a player, a guy who wants to have the greatest year he’s ever had as a player,” Riley said of the longtime Heat star. “I read more articles about Dwyane might not have the same motivation, but I still see a player who can contribute heavily if he really wants to. If he plays, he’s going to want to do it. We don’t want him back as a placemat holder or someone who’s going to be a veteran in the locker room. Dwyane is a great player, a great talent. He can make a big difference for us.”

There have been reports indicating that Wade would want the $5.337MM taxpayer mid-level exception if he returns to the Heat, but Riley deflected an inquiry about whether the team would be willing to offer its MLE, suggesting that’s a question for owner Micky Arison.

Here’s more from Riley, via Jackson:

  • Riley dismissed the idea that he’s frustrated by not being able to make any real upgrades to last year’s roster, telling reporters that “continuity is important” for the club.
  • The Heat have been in touch with Justise Winslow‘s agent, but discussions about a rookie scale contract extension are unlikely to become serious until later in the offseason. “We are going to address that in late August, once everything dies down,” Riley said. “We look at Justise as one of our anchor pieces. We will have that extension discussion in late August. We don’t have to do anything until mid-October.”
  • Riley confirmed that the Heat haven’t been willing to surrender young players and picks in order to trade highly-priced veterans this offseason. “We have had opportunities this summer to do that a lot and it wasn’t worth getting rid of our young assets or picks coming up, so we decided to stand pat with team that we have,” he said.
  • According to Riley, there have been “great discussions” between head coach Erik Spoelstra and disgruntled center Hassan Whiteside. Riley says he expects Whiteside to have a big year in 2018/19 and claimed that the big man “has not been shopped all over the league.”

Southeast Rumors: Thomas, Nored, Whiteside, Hawks

Free agent point guard Isaiah Thomas would be a good fit for the Heat but they probably don’t have the salary-cap space to sign him, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel speculates. Thomas’ ability to score in bunches would boost a team prone to scoring droughts, Winderman continues. But it’s doubtful that a former All-Star coming off an injury-marred season would take a short-term deal, Winderman notes, as the Lakers guard is more likely to pursue what could be his last significant contract.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets will hire Ronald Nored as an assistant coach on James Borrego‘s staff, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. Nored served as the Nets’ G-League head coach this past season.
  • Pat Riley‘s silence over the Hassan Whiteside situation in recent weeks suggests a trade is more likely than reconciliation, Winderman opines in another blog. Though Winderman believes Whiteside and coach Erik Spoelstra would like to find some middle ground, a separation appears to be in order despite the issue of Whiteside’s contract, which has two years and over $52MM remaining. Whiteside was disappointed with his reduced playing time.
  • The Hawks will bring in six prospects for a workout on Tuesday, according to a team press release. That group includes  Carsen Edwards (Purdue), Kyran Bowman (Boston College), Dorian Pickens (Stanford), Kerem Kanter (Xavier), Tremont Waters (LSU) and Kenrich Williams (TCU).

Knicks Notes: Roster Composition, Porzingis, Riley

Recently appointed head coach David Fizdale plans to make the most of what could otherwise be considered a logjam of guards on the Knicks’ roster, Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News writes.

Roll them out there. Put them out there together,” Fizdale said. “It’s about speed, skill, aggressiveness, attack, playmaking. All of these guards have that ability. So I see a lot of versatility in there. I see a lot of combinations with them on the floor [for the Knicks] together.”

Given that there’s no shortage of ball carriers on the roster, Knicks president Steve Mills says that the club will ideally target a wing player in the upcoming June draft.

There’s more out of New York this evening:

  • The Knicks reached out to Heat president Pat Riley prior to hiring David Fizdale, Marc Berman of The New York Post. Riley, a former Knicks coach himself, has a polarizing history with the franchise, but was a strong reference for Fizdale, a former Heat assistant.
  • Prior to hiring Fizdale, the Knicks also reached out to Villanova head coach Jay Wright regarding the vacancy. Zach Braziller of The New York Post has the details on why the reigning national champion had no desire to leave his current situation.
  • Analyst Walt Frazier doesn’t foresee Kristaps Porzingis returning to the lineup for the Knicks this year, Zach Braziller of The New York Post writes. The former franchise great, who currently works for MSG Network, explains that Porzingis’ recovery time has him set to return in January or February, at which point the team will likely be out of the playoff picture.

Pat Riley Talks Roster, Whiteside, Wade, Ellington

Addressing reporters at his end-of-season press conference on Monday, Heat president Pat Riley said he and the team’s front office will continue to work on improving the roster this summer, adding that he’d not bothered by a relative lack of cap flexibility heading into the offseason.

“We’re not going to stop and it doesn’t make any difference how we do it,” Riley said, per Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald. “Whether you’re a room team, whether you’re capped out, whether you’ve got a lot of guys under contract, whether you’re limited with your picks, you keep working toward your goal. That’s what we’re going to do. How we’re going to do it is irrelevant.”

While Riley said the Heat would like to keep their “core guys” together and give that group more help, he acknowledged that he’ll be open to virtually any avenue that could make the team better, confirming that no one on the roster is untouchable.

“Right now we have a bunch of guys that can still get better,” Riley said. “While internal improvement and development is a huge part of our organization, going outside and looking around, now is the opportunity to have those conversations — trying to find a transformative player, maybe, is probably what our challenge is going to be.”

Here’s more from Riley on the Heat, via Navarro and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald:

  • Riley stated that Hassan Whiteside had “a bad year” in 2017/18, but he believes in the young center’s ability to bounce back next season, suggesting that Whiteside and head coach Erik Spoelstra need to get on the same page for that to happen. “I still think and believe Hassan can anchor in spite of what a lot of people believe,” Riley said.
  • Riley recently spoke to Dwyane Wade, but didn’t broach the subject of retirement. “I don’t like to talk to a player about retirement because when start talking to a player about retirement, guess what? He retires,” Riley said. “So I don’t want to talk to he or UD (Udonis Haslem) about retirement because I think both players are still in great shape. They both can play.”
  • There’s “no doubt” that the Heat want to re-sign Wayne Ellington, according to Riley. However, the team president admitted that it’ll be tricky to do so without going into tax territory. “If we signed Wayne, OK, next year and he takes us into the tax, then that guy right over there (GM Andy Elisburg) has 15 months to get us out,” Riley said.
  • Riley isn’t bothered by not having a first-round pick in this year’s draft, noting that he’s “not a draft pick guy” and feels like the Heat only really need a first-rounder once every two years. “We hope one of the guys we really like that we can sign on July 1 might be tantamount to a first-round pick this year,” Riley said. He also observed that when Miami can acquire a player like Goran Dragic using mid-first-rounders like this year’s (No. 16 overall), he’d “much rather have” the Dragic-type veteran than the rookie.

Poll: Should The Heat Trade Hassan Whiteside?

One season after going 41-41 and missing the playoffs by virtue of a tiebreaker with the Bulls, the Heat improved by three games in 2017/18 and made the playoffs as the No. 6 seed with a record of 44-38.

However, the Heat were faced with a difficult first-round matchup against the red-hot Sixers, who finished the season 16-0 and, just last night, eliminated the Heat from the playoffs in five games. Earlier today, we asked for your thoughts on Miami’s offseason outlook with a Community Shootaround post. Now, we want to know specifically whether you believe the Heat should trade Hassan Whiteside.

With over 20% of the team’s guaranteed salary for next season owed to Whiteside, the Heat dangerously close to the luxury tax in 2018/19, Whiteside’s playing time dwindling dramatically in the later part of the regular season and into the postseason, and Whiteside’s publicly voiced displeasure with his new role, President Pat Riley may need to decide this summer whether Whiteside is worth the headache and, if not, whether he can find a suitable trade partner for the big man.

Unfortunately for the Heat, they do not have a first-round pick this summer to attach to Whiteside’s contract which may make it difficult to entice a team to take on his contract. However, the Heat do have their 2019 first-round selection to deal if they so choose. Regardless, assuming a deal is tenable, what do you think?

If you were Pat Riley, would you trade Hassan Whiteside or would you keep him with the hopes that he can return to his 2016/17 form? Vote below in our poll, then jump into the comment section to share your thoughts.

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.