MIAMI — The Heat added a big man to their roster Thursday night.
Miami agreed to terms with center/forward Kelly Olynyk, the Palm Beach Post has confirmed. The deal is reported to be for four-years and about $50 million according to ESPN, which first reported the story.
Olynyk, 26, averaged 9.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 75 games for the Celtics last season.
He became an unrestricted free agent after Gordon Hayward chose to sign with the Celtics over the Heat and Jazz. Boston was forced to renounce Olynyk’s rights to open salary cap space for Hayward.
Here are five things to know about Olynyk …
1. The Heat love physical play, and Olynyk will provide that. Some even think he’s too physical. A few players around the NBA have called Olynyk a dirty player. One play that helped Olynyk earn this reputation was when he locked arms with Kevin Love, separating Love’s shoulder after fighting for a rebound in the first round of the 2015 Eastern Conference playoffs. Love missed the rest of the postseason as Cleveland lost in the NBA Finals. “I thought it was a bush-league play. I have no doubt in my mind he did it on purpose,” Love said about the play, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “That’s just not a basketball play. The league will take a look at it and it better be swift and just.” Olynyk drew more attention to himself when he set two illegal screens on Washington’s Kelly Oubre Jr. in the second round of last season’s playoffs.”He’s dirty, a dirty player,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said of Olynyk on a recent episode of his Dray Dray Podcast on UNINTERRUPTED. “I don’t respect guys like that. I know he’s not the greatest basketball player of all time, so maybe he feel like he got to do that, but you don’t have to do that. Just dirty. I don’t respect that, man. He’s dirty.” But don’t tell Olynyk he’s a dirty player. “That’s ridiculous,” said Olynyk, according to CBS Boston. “I know what I am, what I do and what I stand for. My teammates know, and that’s all that matters.”
2. With Olynyk’s ability to stretch the floor as a 7-footer, he can used as a power forward and center. This helps the Heat add depth at both spots. But Olynyk is primarily a center. According to Basketball Reference, Olynyk spent 91 percent of his minutes last season at center and just 9 percent at power forward. Despite those numbers, the fact that Olynyk has the skillset to play with center Hassan Whiteside and also serve as Whiteside’s backup intrigues Miami.
3. Olynyk became a playoff hero for the Celtics last season. He scored 12 of his career-playoff-high 26 points over a three-and-a-half-minute stretch of the fourth quarter as the Celtics emerged with a 115-105 triumph over the Wizards in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series. After the victory, Boston star Isaiah Thomas called Olynyk the “MVP” of the game. Olynyk became the first Celtics reserve to score 25-plus points in a playoff game since Eddie House scored 31 on May 6, 2009, against the Orlando Magic. Olynyk’s 26 points were the most by any bench player in a Game 7 since Leandro Barbosa scored 26 points for the Suns in a 2006 playoff game against the Lakers, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
4. Olynyk is an above average shooter for his size. He shot 35.4 percent from 3-point range and attempted 2.6 threes per game last season. But Olynyk is most effective in the corners. He made 18 of the 32 3-point shots (56.3 percent) he took from the corners last season. By comparison, Kevin Love shot 41.4 percent on his threes from the corners.
5. Olynyk was born in Toronto, Canada. He developed his basketball skills as a point guard and stayed at this position in 11th grade when he grew from 6-foot-3 to 6-foot-10. When he grew two more inches as a Gonzaga freshman, he then began playing more in the post. This experience playing on the perimeter is one of the reasons Olynyk is now able to stretch the floor as an NBA big man.