Tyler Johnson

Heat Notes: LeBron, T. Johnson, Draft Picks, Leonard

The Heat are sometimes listed as a potential free agency destination for LeBron James, but team officials don’t believe there’s any chance he will return to Miami, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Among the entities that could see James back on South Beach is the WestGate Las Vegas sports book, which recently gave the Heat the fifth-best odds of winning next year’s title because of that possibility.

While Miami wouldn’t turn James away, there are too many obstacles to make the move realistic, Jackson notes. The Heat enter this summer with no cap space, so they would have to clear more than $55MM in salary while taking none in return to create the room to offer James a max contract. Cleveland could theoretically agree to a trade, but it’s hard to picture Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert working out a deal to ship James back to Miami.

Here are a few more Heat tidbits, courtesy of Jackson:

  • Tyler Johnson‘s contract will escalate to $19.2MM in each of the next two seasons, and the Heat are probably stuck with that deal. Jackson states that there is little optimism in the organization about moving Johnson, whose contract includes a 15% trade kicker that would be worth an extra $2.9MM. Miami matched a back-loaded offer sheet from the Nets in 2016 that was structured to make Johnson much more expensive in the final two years.
  • Also holding a trade kicker is Kelly Olynyk, who has a 5% bonus that would pay him $1.1MM if he’s traded. That money would be split over the next two seasons.
  • The Heat, who don’t have a pick in either round of this year’s draft, are trying to acquire a second-rounder, according to a Western Conference executive whose team has spoken to Miami about a potential deal. This year’s first-round choice was sent to the Suns in the Goran Dragic trade, and the second-rounder was shipped to Memphis in a 2016 deal to clear cap room.
  • Miami continues to monitor the Kawhi Leonard situation in San Antonio in hopes of pouncing if the Spurs decide a trade is necessary.

Heat Notes: LeBron, Draft, Haslem, T. Johnson

The Heat are often mentioned as a potential destination for LeBron James if he decides to leave Cleveland, but Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel doesn’t believe such a move is realistic. Miami, of course, is where James went the last time he parted ways with the Cavaliers. He spent four seasons with the Heat and combined with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to reach the NBA Finals each year.

However, a reunion is extremely unlikely, Winderman notes. The Heat don’t have any cap space to work with and would need to have a massive sell-off or have James opt in and engineer a trade. Winderman estimates Miami would have to part with Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow, Bam Adebayo and the high salary of either Hassan Whiteside or Goran Dragic, which would leave LeBron with a worse supporting cast then he has now in Cleveland.

There’s more news from Miami:

  • Without a pick in this year’s draft, the Heat can’t get prospects to come to Miami, so scouts are going on the road to see them, Winderman writes in a separate piece. Team representatives are headed to Bradenton, Florida, New York City, Atlanta and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, this week to attend workouts being held by agents and trainers. Next week, the scouting staff will be at seven workouts in Los Angeles and one in Las Vegas. “We go there not only to watch that workout, but we also would use that as a mini-Chicago [draft combine], where we interview players,” VP of Player Personnel Chet Kammerer explained. “It’s not us running the workouts, but we’re going to get to look at as many people as we can among our staff.”
  • At age 38, Udonis Haslem hasn’t decided if he will return for another season, but he continues to work out as if he’ll keep playing, Winderman relays in another story. “When you get to this stage of your career and life, you either do it or you don’t,” Haslem said. “You can’t really turn it on and off. It becomes a lifestyle.” Interviewed Saturday, Haslem repeated that he has no interest in coaching but would be intrigued by a front office position.
  • Tyler Johnson won’t try to change his game to live up to the salary increase that’s about to kick in, writes Jordan McPherson of The Miami Herald. The backloaded offer sheet Johnson received from the Nets two years ago increases from $5.88MM this year to $19.25MM in each of the next two seasons. “It doesn’t bother me,” Johnson said. “It’s just a nicer paycheck when I go home.”

Tyler Johnson Undergoes Thumb Surgery

Heat guard Tyler Johnson has undergone successful surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb, the team announced today in a press release. The procedure was completed on Monday morning.

According to the Heat, Johnson will be in a cast for the next six weeks. It’s not clear when he’ll be able to resume all basketball activities, but he’s expected to make a full recovery and to be ready for training camp in the fall, per the club.

Johnson, who played through this thumb injury during the last couple games of the Heat’s first-round series vs. the Sixers, had a solid overall year for the club, averaging 11.7 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 2.3 APG with a .435/.367/.822 shooting line in 72 games (39 starts).

Johnson will be under more scrutiny to produce in 2018/19. Due to the way his offer sheet from Brooklyn was structured in the summer of 2016, Johnson’s salary will jump from $5.88MM this season to $19.25MM next year. The Nets could’ve smoothed out Johnson’s cap hits over his four-year deal if they’d landed him, but the Heat didn’t have that option available after they matched the offer sheet, resulting in this significant third-year increase.

While Johnson is a very good bet to be back with the Heat due to his sizable cap hit, the team will have to find a way to address its glut of shooting guards. Josh Richardson, Dion Waiters, and Rodney McGruder also remain under contract, with Dwyane Wade and Wayne Ellington up for new deals.

Heat Notes: Johnson, Ellington, Trades, Offseason

Tyler Johnson is set to make a significant salary jump next season that will result in him making $19MM+. While an increase in salary always comes with an increase in expectations, Johnson is not concerned about it, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel writes.

The Heat guard would become the Heat’s second-highest paid player behind Hassan Whiteside, who expressed frustration with his diminished playing time late in the season. Miami was eliminated from the playoffs by the Sixers and Johnson played through a thumb injury that will require offseason surgery. As Winderman writes, Johnson has dealt with worse situations and he’s embracing his future.

“I feel like people already are thinking that’s what it is, anyway,” Johnson said of his possible pay increase. “They just see the number and that’s what I’m already making. So I’ve really already kind of dealt with all of that. It doesn’t really bother me at all.”

Miami is entering a unique offseason in which the roster is far from set, including Whiteside’s vocal displeasure, Dwyane Wade‘s possible retirement, and more. Johnson, with an increased salary, could quickly become a focal point on the team.

Check out more Heat notes below:

  • Wayne Ellington and his standout three-point shooting are headed for free agency this offseason and he represents one of many decisions the organization will have to make. Ellington has said his desire is to return, but his salary requirements could price him out of Miami, Winderman writes in a separate story. “Of course I want to be back,” Ellington said. “I also know how the luxury tax works. I do. I do.”
  • In his latest mailbag, Winderman answers several questions, most notably addressing the possibility of the Heat possibly trading Whiteside and/or Goran Dragic to create cap flexibility this offseason.
  • Sean Deveney of The Sporting News delves into the Heat’s offseason and examines several decisions the organization will have to make. Among them are Whiteside’s standing with the team, a handful of impending free agents, and the progression of young players.

Florida Notes: Wade, Johnson, Isaac

Dwyane Wade said the Heat can make a strong push toward postseason success if the team relies on its big men to be aggressive offensively, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel writes.

In his lone season with the Bulls and half a season with the Cavaliers, Wade did not have the luxury of a dominant presence in the paint. In Chicago, Robin Lopez was the primary center; in Cleveland, Kevin Love was more of an outside player. If the Heat bigs can play with the presence of past Wade-led teams in South Beach, he expects good results.

“When you got bigs like Hassan [Whiteside] and you got bigs like Bam [Adebayo] rolling to the basket, when they’re setting screens, you’re going to get into the paint,” Wade said. “Either all the way to the rim, some guys floaters, some guys pull-ups and lobs. Me, especially, I’m just getting back comfortable with it.”

Check out other news and notes from Florida’s NBA teams:

  • Tyler Johnson has played well since the Heat returned from the All-Star break, In two games back, Johnson posted 15 points in a loss to the Pelicans and 23 points in a win over the Grizzlies. He is 12 for 22 from the field in that stretch. Johnson admitted his struggles before the break were due to pressing for results, per the Sun-Sentinel. “I think before the break, I was settling for too many jumpers and trying to shoot my way out of a funk instead of doing what I do best [and] being an attacker,” Johnson said.
  • Jonathan Isaac has seen limited action in two G League contests with the Lakeland Magic as he resumes his comeback from an ankle injury. NBA.com’s Josh Cohen writes that Isaac is happy to shake off the rust with Lakeland before returning to Orlando. “I think it’s great, just getting back into things,” Isaac said. “I don’t take this time that I’m here for granted. I can still see I’m rusty. I missed some reads and stuff like that on defense and not being 100 percent there. Definitely will take this time for what it is.”

Eastern Rumors: Afflalo, Thompson, Johnson, Wizards

Arron Afflalo could be a target for the Raptors if he reaches a buyout agreement with the Magic, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets. Afflalo played for the Nuggets when Raptors president Masai Ujiri was there, while current Magic president Jeff Weltman is Toronto’s former GM, Lewenberg notes. The career 38.6% 3-point shooter would give the Raptors some insurance at the wing, Lewenberg adds. Afflalo has appeared in 43 games with the Magic, averaging 3.2 PPG in 12.9 MPG. He signed with Orlando last summer on a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal.

In other developments around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Knicks are an unlikely destination for Klay Thompson during free agency in 2019, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News relays though an Adrian Wojnarowski podcast. The Warriors shooting guard wants to continue to play in a warm weather city, he told Wojnarowski. “It’d be weird leaving the Bay Area. I believe I’m going to be there for a very long time.,” he said. “I can say that truthfully. But a lot can happen the next two years. It’s going to be hard to leave California when it’s sunny like this.”
  • The Heat are expected to seek offers for combo guard Tyler Johnson as early as this summer but his contract provisions will make that difficult, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald explains. Johnson will make $19.2MM in each of the final two years of the backloaded deal, plus Miami would have to pay a $3.2MM trade kicker, Jackson continues. Any team trading for Johnson this offseason would have to take on the additional $1.6MM cap hit in each of the next two seasons. Miami matched the Nets’ offer sheet for Johnson during the summer of 2016.
  • The Wizards need to do a better job of communicating with each other to avoid locker room controversies, Chase Hughes of NBCSports.com writes. The team does not have any unresolvable issues, according to Hughes, but problems like the tension between John Wall and his teammates need to be addressed privately rather than through the media or social media channels, Hughes adds.

Heat Exploring Deals For Wing Help

The Heat are exploring the trade market for help on the wing, and they’re among the teams that have expressed interest in Hawks swingman Marco Belinelli, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. While Miami has interest in Belinelli, he’s one of several wings that the team has done due diligence on, Jackson notes.

Here’s more on the Heat, as they consider their trade options:

  • Although the Heat want to add a wing player, they’re not desperate to make a deal before Thursday’s trade deadline, according to Jackson, who says he’d be surprised if the team parts with Justise Winslow for a rental.
  • Despite having signed Joe Johnson when he was bought out by Brooklyn two years ago, the Heat wouldn’t be the favorites to land the veteran forward if he’s waived by the Jazz this month, says Jackson.
  • The Heat were identified this week as a team that has expressed interest in DeMarre Carroll, prompting Jackson to explore whether Miami might be interested in trading Winslow and Tyler Johnson to the Nets in exchange for Carroll. It’s an interesting idea, since the Nets originally signed Johnson to his current contract, which will get much more expensive in 2018/19. Such a deal would allow the Heat to save some long-term money and would net Brooklyn another former lottery pick. However, Brian Lewis of The New York Post says the Nets have no plans to make that swap.

Southeast Notes: Walker, Johnson, Vucevic

The Hornets may have permanently damaged their relationship with All-Star guard Kemba Walker, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes. When news broke that the franchise was eager to unload their best player in order to clear cap space and initiate a rebuild, the 27-year-old was apparently devastated.

Bonnell argues that Walker has been a world-class representative of the Hornets, a leader on the court and in the community. The scribe also argues that he’s a part of the solution in Charlotte, not the problem, and that it was customarily clumsy for the organization to dangle him for financial relief.

Bonnell cites Charlotte’s fruitless attempt to sign Gordon Hayward away from the Jazz as a restricted free agent in 2014 and the club’s ill-advised decision to sign Lance Stephenson to a three-year, $27MM deal shortly thereafter as other examples of the Hornets being managed clumsily.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat continue to be ravaged by injuries at the two-guard position, the latest one to fall being Tyler Johnson. Now, Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel writes, head coach Erik Spoelstra will have to decide between two-way player Derrick Jones Jr., reserve Wayne Ellington or an out-of-position Josh Richardson.
  • Despite the temporary scare, Heat guard Tyler Johnson‘s leg injury wasn’t as bad as initially feared, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes. “I was really worried because initially it felt like my knee popped,” he said. “That’s why when I went down I started grabbing at my knee and that was what was more worrisome than anything else. I’ve never had a bad knee injury so I didn’t know what it felt like. I was just thankful once I got to the back and my adrenaline kind of went down the pain in my knee wasn’t nothing I really ever felt before. My foot was down and it just kind of got tangled up.
  • A fractured bone in Nikola Vucevic‘s hand has kept him out of action since December 23 but the Magic big man is making progress, John Denton of Orlando’s team site writes. “Little by little [the strength is returning] and the best thing is just me using my hand because that will help it. I’m just doing stuff every day. Even video games, will help because I’m using my hand,” Vucevic said.

Heat Rumors: Waiters, Johnson, Adebayo

Heat shooting guard Dion Waiters may have offseason surgery to correct his lingering left ankle issues, according to an Associated Press report. Waiters missed the final 13 games of last season due to an ankle sprain and the injury never fully healed, the AP story continues. He’s missed the last two games after re-injuring the ankle and there’s no timetable for his return. “It’s something I don’t like to talk about because there’s nothing we really can do right now but try to take care of it, get it stronger, things like that,” Waiters told the assembled media. “I don’t want to be in this predicament where it’s a little tweak, you’ve got to miss a decent amount just off a little tweak.” However, Waiters does not want to have surgery during the season, the report adds.

In other developments regarding the Heat:

  • Tyler Johnson has provided a spark with both Waiters and starting point guard Goran Dragic sidelined by injuries, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel notes. The combo guard has scored 17 or more points in three games since being moved into the starting lineup. “When Tyler’s at his best version of himself, you just see a bundle of energy and toughness and winning plays,” coach Erik Spoelstra told Winderman and other media members. “It doesn’t matter necessarily how many points he scored. … His confidence is growing every single game, and you can see it. You can see it before your eyes. You can see it happening.”
  • Hassan Whiteside has returned after missing 13 games with a knee injury but rookie Bam Adebayo deserves to stay in the rotation, Winderman opines in a mailbag post. The Heat must acknowledge that Whiteside, Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk are three of their best players and Spoelstra should be able to figure out a way to utilize all of those big men, Winderman adds.
  • The club is in a much better position than last season, as Winderman points out that the Heat entered the Christmas break a year ago 11 games below .500. “I still think there’s some really good things going on with our team, despite the injuries, despite some of the adversity we’re going through,” Spoelstra said. “I like the direction we’re going.”

Southeast Notes: Richardson, Johnson, Wall, G League

The Heat should try to get Josh Richardson to sign an extension as soon as possible, contends Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. After two NBA seasons, the former second-round pick is eligible for an extension up to four years and $42MM that would take effect with the 2018/19 season.  Even at the full price, Richardson’s starting salary that year will be $9.4MM, which could be a bargain for someone who has been a contributor when he’s been healthy.

The deadline for an extension doesn’t come until June 30th, and Winderman thinks Richardson might be wise to wait. If there’s no agreement, he will become a restricted free agent in July, with the Heat having the right to match any offer. The team will also have full Bird Rights, which would eliminate the possibility of a backloaded contract like the one the Nets offered Tyler Johnson. Winderman also notes that Miami will send two of its next four first-rounders to Phoenix in the Goran Dragic trade, so it can’t afford to lose a young talent like Richardson.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • With their current cap status, the Heat have little reason to try to move Johnson’s contract before it balloons in 2018/19, Winderman adds in a question-and-answer column. Johnson will make close to $5.9MM for the upcoming season, then nearly $19.25MM in each of the next two years. It’s a provision that Brooklyn threw into its offer sheet in an attempt to discourage the Heat from matching, and it was eliminated in the new collective-bargaining agreement. Winderman states that if Miami is successful with its current mix of players, the team will continue to operate over the cap and Johnson’s escalation won’t really matter.
  • With a supermax contract in hand, Wizards star John Wall has outlined several goals for the rest of his career, relays Chase Hughes of CSNMidAtlantic. At a press conference Friday to officially announce the new deal, Wall said he wants to win a championship in Washington and become the fifth player in franchise history to have his number retired. “We definitely have a lot of unfinished business,” Wall told reporters. “I want to bring a championship here, so we’re going to keep striving to get that. I’m not going to stop until we get there. That’s why I wanted to come back to this city.”
  • The Hawks are adopting a radical approach as they take over the G League franchise in Erie, Pa., writes Chris Reichert of 2 Ways and 10 Days. Instead of finding people with G League experience to run the team, they appointed Malik Rose as general manager and last week hired longtime NBA assistant Josh Longstaff as the head coach. Because Orlando pulled its G-League team out of Erie and took its returning player rights, the Bayhawks will be part of the expansion draft August 23rd.