More sanity to free agency could benefit Miami Heat if they look to bring back both James Johnson, Dion Waiters

James Johnson and Dion Waiters will sit and wait to see what are their best options as the free agency period moves along.

Meanwhile, Dion Waiters and James Johnson sit back and wait.

The Miami Heat’s top two free agents were under the radar during the early hours of free agency, which was otherwise busy and brought a few surprises.  As a handful of players agreed to terms with the majority returning to their original teams, the Heat – and their free agents – were quiet.

Miami was preparing for their Saturday morning meeting with Gordon Hayward and Waiters and Johnson were waiting for the dust to settle to see where they fit in. And with the early signs that some sense of sanity may be returning to the process, that should be good news for the Heat.

The Heat will wait for Hayward’s decision before making their next move. After sitting down with Miami, the small forward will meet with the Celtics on Sunday and his original team, the Jazz, on Monday. But if Pat Riley gets a sense of what Hayward will do today he might proceed with the rest of his plan, which certainly will include one or both of Miami’s top free agents.

Outside of the two max deals – Stephen Curry agreeing with the Warriors for $201 million and Blake Griffin returning to the Clippers for $173 million, both for five years – the deals seemed reasonable and measured. This could benefit the Heat when it comes to Waiters and Johnson.

The only teams showing initial interest in either player was the Clippers with Johnson. But that likely ended when Griffin agreed to return. So both players are sitting out there without any reports of scheduled meetings.

The Heat certainly will talk to both but their interest in bringing them back could vary. If Hayward buys into the Heat’s sales pitch, that should leave enough money to re-sign either Johnson or Waiters and all signs point to then bringing back Johnson because of the need of a power forward. And on Friday Johnson told the Miami Herald he is “a patient guy” and the Heat “can take as long as they want” with Hayward.

Johnson’s willingness to stand by while Miami conducts its initial business is a great benefit to the Heat and eases the concern they could lose him over the next few days.

Waiters’ situation is a bit more complicated. He has not spoken to reporters recently and although, like Johnson, he has said several times since the end of the season his preference is to return to Miami, the test would come if he received a decent offer in the next couple of days.

Miami will be willing to let Waiters walk if it reels in Hayward, the tricky part will be circling back to Waiters if Hayward chooses Boston or Utah. The Heat’s ‘Plan B’ is more and more looking like re-signing both Johnson and Waiters to a manageable number and having extra cap space to either bring back Wayne Ellington or pursue another free agent.

Other than Curry and Griffin, the deals announced early Saturday were reasonable compared to the first-day frenzy last season. Riley recently called those contracts “out of whack.”

And with little buzz surrounding Johnson and Waiters, if Miami opts to bring back both perhaps it could get them for $22-$25 million combined. That could leave the Heat with $14-$17 million available to add another very valuable piece depending on what they do with Wayne Ellington and if they release Josh McRoberts to stretch his contract.

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