Rodney McGruder

Heat Expected To Guarantee Rodney McGruder’s Contract

The Heat plan to guarantee swingman Rodney McGruder‘s $1.5MM contract for next season, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

The guaranteed kicks in if he’s on the roster through Saturday.

McGruder played 78 games during the 2016/17 season, in which he averaged 6.4 PPG, 3.3 RPG and 1.6 APG. He was limited to 18 games last season due to a stress fracture in his left tibia. He averaged 5.1 PPG upon his return.

Heat Make Qualifying Offer To Derrick Jones

The Heat have tendered a qualifying offer to two-way player Derrick Jones, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel.

The move comes with minimal financial risk, as qualifying offers for players on two-way contracts are just $77K. Jones will now be a restricted free agent, and Miami will be able to match any offers he receives.

The rookie forward originally signed with the Suns last fall, but played just six games before being waived in December. He joined the Heat three weeks later and started eight games while the team was dealing with multiple injuries. Jones played 14 games in Miami, averaging 3.7 points and 2.4 rebounds per night.

The Heat will have to make a similar decision soon with guard Derrick Walton, their other two-way player, Winderman notes. They also must determine whether to pick up the guarantee on Rodney McGruder’s $1,544,951 contract for next season by June 29. They turned down their 2018/19 option on Jordan Mickey last month.

Southeast Notes: Borrego, Wall, McGruder, Monk

As we wrote yesterday, the Hornets have no immediate plans to blow up their roster. Yet, a culture change is definitely in the works with new head coach James Borrego, who brings with him the winning culture of Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs, a franchise with five championships and a sixth NBA Finals appearance since the 1998-99 season.

While Borrego is not Popovich, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer opines that there are four great habits he learned from Popovich that he can bring to the Hornets – great ball movement, getting the best out of your players, the ability to positively impact a locker room, and perhaps most importantly, develop talent.

As Bonnell notes, the more important quality the Hornets were looking for in its next head coach was player development. And while the Spurs front office gets a lot of credit for its ability in the draft, having a coaching staff adept at developing players is just as important.

Some examples of players who the Spurs drafted low and turned into serviceable NBA players include Tony Parker (28th overall), Manu Ginobili (57th), George Hill (26th), Tiago Splitter (28th), and Dejounte Murray (29th). Moreover, the Spurs developed Danny Green (46th) after acquiring him as a free agent. To that end, the Hornets hope that the hiring of Borrego will help develop its two young players drafted last summer – Malik Monk and Dwayne Bacon.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Candace Buckner of The Washington Post opines that although the leadership of John Wall was at times questionable this season for the Wizards, the situation would’ve been helped if Wall was able to play more, using his on-court leadership skills as opposed to trying to lead off the court.
  • Heat swingman Rodney McGruder is looking forward to returning to the hardwood next season and working to win back a spot in the rotation after missing 64 games during the 2017/18 campaign, writes Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel.
  • In another piece for The Charlotte Observer, Bonnell looks at how Monk will fit into the Hornets’ plans. According to new head coach Borrego, “I see him as a playmaker, who can play with Kemba (Walker) and also be on the court without Kemba, creating offense for us. (Or) pairing him and Nic Batum in a lineup where Nic is facilitating. He’s a combo (guard). I don’t know until I get my hands on him where I’m going to put him or how we’re going to play him. But he’s just going to be a very good basketball player who fits today’s NBA.”

Heat Rumors: Whiteside, Waiters, Haslem, Wade

The gamble the Heat took on Hassan Whiteside two years ago has backfired, writes Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post, and they are left with the choices of keeping him and his huge cap hit or trading him for virtually nothing. Whiteside still has two seasons remaining [including a $27.1MM player option for 2019/20] on the four-year deal he signed in the summer of 2016.

The Heat are open to dealing their starting center, but Bontemps warns they may not like the offers they get. He suggests the Mavericks might be interested if they can’t land a big-name free agent, with Dwight Powell going to Miami in return. Other possibilities Bontemps sees for Whiteside are heading to New York in exchange for Joakim Noah [owed roughly $37MM over the next two years] and the Bulls’ second-rounder or to Phoenix for Brandon Knight [$29MM over two years] and Tyson Chandler‘s expiring $13.6MM deal.

There’s more today out of Miami:

  • The Heat are counting on Dion Waiters to solidify the shooting guard position once he returns from ankle surgery, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Waiters was limited to just 30 games before the January operation, and doctors aren’t sure if he will be ready for training camp or the start of the season. “I don’t think he’s felt right, physically, since when he first got here,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He got in great shape, but once he injured his ankle, then he was always dealing with that. This is going to be a really important summer for him. He’s going to be here and he’ll be working a ton behind the scenes just to get his legs right, then he’ll work on the next step of getting in world-class shape and then he’ll get into the next phase of really developing his basketball skills.”
  • Veteran forward Udonis Haslem isn’t sure whether Dwyane Wade will return for another season, adding he “wouldn’t be surprised” no matter what Wade decides, Jackson relays in the same story. Haslem hasn’t made a decision on his own future, but said he would like to work in the Heat organization when he retires, although not as a coach. He added that he and Wade haven’t discussed a mutual decision. “We’ve both in situations where we have a lot of different opportunities ahead of us,” Haslem said. “Do we want to retire together? In a perfect world it would be great to finish it together. But things don’t always work out like that.”
  • After playing just 16 postseason minutes, Rodney McGruder wants a larger role next year, Jackson adds. McGruder had surgery on his leg in October and appeared in 16 regular season games after he returned in February. “I want to play,” he said. “I am happy for my teammates. I love cheering them on. I want to be playing in the playoffs.”

Heat Notes: Whiteside, McGruder, Draft Pick

After lashing out at coach Erik Spoelstra two weeks ago over a lack of playing time, Heat center Hassan Whiteside isn’t finding his situation any better in the playoffs, writes Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald. Whiteside was on the court for just 12:26 in the Game 1 loss at Philadelphia, even though the Sixers were missing injured center Joel Embiid. Whiteside played just four minutes in the second half and didn’t return after being replaced early in the third quarter.

“I think coach wanted some change,” said Whiteside, who was fined for his earlier comments. “[Kelly Olynyk] was playing well. Of course, I would love to be out there rebounding and blocking shots and be out there with my teammates. But I think K.O. was playing well, so coach just wanted to get him out there.”

Saturday’s benching may or may not be an indication that the Heat have moved on from Whiteside, but it continues a season-long trend in which his minutes per game have fallen to 25.3 after a career-high 32.6 last season. Olynyk, a free agent addition, and rookie Bam Adebayo have performed well at center and Whiteside has Miami’s most expensive contract. He is signed for more than $25.4MM next season with a player option worth $27MM for 2019/20.

There’s more this morning out of Miami:

  • The Heat and Whiteside seemed to quit on each other last night, observes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Winderman states that the organization made an error in not assigning someone to help Whiteside stay focused after giving him a four-year, $98MM contract in 2016. He contends a “blueprint of motivation” should have been created for Whiteside, whether it was by Spoelstra, assistant coach Juwan Howard, team president Pat Riley or chief executive officer Nick Arison.
  • Spoelstra should have given Rodney McGruder more than two minutes in Game 1, Winderman adds in the same story. McGruder missed most of this season after surgery in October for a left tibia stress fracture, but played a key role in last year’s stretch drive.
  • The Heat will only have to part with a mid-level first-rounder this summer as part of the payment for Goran Dragic, Winderman writes in another piece. Miami finished with the 16th pick in this year’s draft, which Winderman notes often produces journeyman players. The Heat’s roster is already stocked with youth, so surrendering the pick shouldn’t do much to affect the future. The team still owes the Suns an unprotected first-round selection in 2021.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/27/18

Here are Tuesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA.

  • The Spurs recalled rookie guard Derrick White from the Austin Spurs, according to a team press release. He has averaged 16.1 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 2.8 APG in 15 games with Austin.
  • The Heat have recalled guard Rodney McGruder from their G League affiliate, the Sioux City Skyforce, the team announced in a press release. McGruder has not appeared in a regular season game after undergoing surgery on a left tibia stress fracture in mid-October. He appeared in two G League games last week.
  • The Jazz assigned center Tony Bradley and guard Naz Mitrou-Long to their affiliate in Salt Lake City, according to the team’s Twitter feed.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/22/18

Here are Thursday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA.

  • The Cavaliers have recalled rookie center Ante Zizic from their Canton affiliate, the team announced on its website. In 15 games for the Charge, Zizic has averaged 15.7 PPG and 8.9 RPG.
  • The Magic assigned forward Jonathan Isaac to their Lakeland affiliate, according to Orlando’s PR Twitter. Isaac will attend Lakeland’s practice but he is expected to be recalled back to Orlando before the team faces the Knicks on Thursday. Isaac, who has missed almost three months with an ankle injury, is expected to see his first game action tomorrow for the G League squad.
  • The Heat have assigned guard Rodney McGruder to their G League affiliate, the Sioux City Skyforce, the team announced in a press release. McGruder has not appeared in a regular season game after undergoing surgery on a  left tibia stress fracture in mid-October. He is expected to play two G League games on Saturday and Monday before making his NBA return, tweets Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald.
  • The Lakers assigned rookie center Thomas Bryant to the South Bay Lakers for their upcoming two-game road trip, according to the G League team’s Twitter feed. Thomas has averaged 19.5 PPG, 7.0 RPG, and 1.6 BPG in 27 games with South Bay.
  • The Timberwolves have assigned rookie center Justin Patton to the G League’s Iowa Wolves, according to the team (Twitter link). Patton has yet to make his NBA debut but has averaged 11.9 PPG for Iowa in 25 games.

Southeast Notes: McGruder, Wade, Isaac, Hawks

Heat guard Rodney McGruder is getting closer to his season debut after participating in a second full-contract practice Wednesday, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. McGruder has been sidelined since having surgery in mid-October to fix a left tibia stress fracture. He is hoping to be ready when the Heat resume play Friday in New Orleans, but coach Erik Spoelstra hasn’t commited to that.

“I’ve got to work a little bit,” McGruder said. “Being off a couple of months, you just don’t hop right back into basketball shape, so I have some more conditioning that I need to work on. I’ve been doing a little more with practicing and just conditioning, preparing myself for when the time comes on my return that I’m ready to play.”

There’s more tonight from the Southeast Division:

  • Dwyane Wade plans to come off the bench for the Heat for the rest of the season, Jackson adds in the same story. Because of the All-Star break, he has only been in Miami for four days since being acquired in a trade two weeks ago and needs time to get used to playing alongside new teammates Wayne Ellington, Bam Adebayo and James Johnson“It’s definitely going to continue to be a work in progress, but the biggest thing is getting to know them personally,” Wade said. “On the court, it comes. You practice together, you play together, that’s going to come. Getting to know each other on the personal side helps even more. That builds trust and on the court you need that trust.”
  • Rookie forward Jonathan Isaac will test his injured ankle with the Magic’s G League affiliate, according to Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. He will practice with the Lakeland team on Thursday and play on Friday, according to Orlando coach Frank Vogel“I definitely understand why they want me to spend some time there [with Lakeland],” said Isaac, who hasn’t playing since spraining his ankle November 11. “I’m just focused on getting back up here [with Orlando] as fast as possible and getting back around these guys.”
  • Coach Mike Budenholzer said the Hawks won’t be making the type of moves that are typical of tanking teams, relays Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta is tied with Phoenix for the top spot in our latest Reverse Standings at 18-41. “I think we’ve been a mix of young and veteran guys all year,” Budenholzer said. “I think the way we progressed through the season — of course when you start the season you think it could be a little different — [but] right now but I think the way we’ve played, and the way we continue to play, won’t be that much different.”

Southeast Notes: Richardson, Clifford, Cordinier

The Heat have watched Josh Richardson develop into a go-to perimeter player, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel says in a video published at the newspaper’s website. Richardson’s numbers are up across the board and his presence has helped the team weather the Dion Waiters injury.

Richardson has averaged 12.6 points and 3.2 rebounds per game for the Heat this season, up to 17.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per in 15 December contests.

Not only has the swingman been a revelation for the positionless Heat, he’s shown an ability to hang with large NBA small forwards despite weighing just 200 pounds and playing through college as a 6’6″ point guard.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Hawks draft-and-stash prospect Isaia Cordinier will undergo season-ending knee surgery, Orazio Cauchi of Sportando writes. The 2016 second-round pick has been struggling with tendinitis since at least the summer.
  • The medical issue that Hornets coach Steve Clifford struggled with for over a month can be attributed to a combination of stress on the sidelines as an NBA coach and sleep deprivation, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN writes. The feature delves into the head coach’s decision and why he’s confident a similar setback won’t happen again.
  • The Heat have a number of options with which to replace Dion Waiters‘ production, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes, including injured swingmen Justise Winslow and and Rodney McGruder. Players like Tyler Johnson and Wayne Ellington could also see larger roles.

Southeast Notes: Heat Injuries, Hornets, Isaac

The Heat have dealt with a plethora of injuries this season but, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes, the team is slowly but surely making progress. Hassan Whiteside, for example, has started doing on-court work for the first time since being sidelined eight games ago.

While there’s still no timetable for Whiteside’s return, Heat fans can take solace in the fact that head coach Erik Spoelstra seems convinced that Rodney McGruder will return to the court by the end of the season.

I will not answer [in more detail] because he will read it and take it as major progress and then start banging on my door and say I’m ready to play,” the Heat coach said. “He’s out of the boot and doing more work, all non-impact at this point.

Finally, there was hope that Justise Winslow would be able to return within the week for the Heat. The forward received optimistic MRI results after injuring his knee on Wednesday. Spoelstra, however, pumped the brakes on that one saying that he wouldn’t commit to that timetable. Winslow is currently limited to bicycle and pool work.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division tonight: