Goran Dragic is happy to have his running mate back.
Dragic posted a tweet during the night congratulating Dion Waiters on reports that the Heat guard had agreed to a four-year, $52 million contract. Dragic, who is spending most of his summer at home in Slovenia while preparing for the EuroBasket championships starting next month, referenced the nickname the two came up with last season, which is a play on their uniform numbers.
7-11 back in business!!!
Pat Riley returned to re-signing his top free agents (Plan B) after losing out on Utah forward Gordon Hayward and agreed with Waiters Wednesday after reports that the 25-year-old had discussions with the Knicks and Lakers. It was reported the Lakers offered Waiters a one-year deal for $17 million.
Waiters, and the other 40 or so free agents who have agreed to deals, are eligible to start signing those contracts today at noon as Stage II of NBA free agency starts with the lifting of the 5 ½ day moratorium period.
The Heat, though, still have some work left with about $22 million remaining in cap money after the Waiters agreement. The first order of business, it appears, will be bringing back forward James Johnson, who briefly spoke with Utah after the Jazz learned Hayward would be signing with Boston but appears close to wrapping up a deal with the Heat.
Johnson, 30, has remained in South Florida – as did Waiters – for nearly the entire offseason working out with Heat players. He has continually expressed his desire to return after having a breakout season in his lone year with the Heat and his agent, Mark Bartelstein, has told several outlets a deal is close.
Miami has until Friday to decide if it wants to pick up guard Wayne Ellington’s option at $6.3 million. The Heat should have plenty of money to do so and still add another free agent.
Or, the Heat could use all of their remaining cap space after Waiters and Johnson have agreed to pursue one of the top remaining players. Some of those include small forward Rudy Gay, shooting guard C.J. Miles, power forward Ersan Ilyasova, swingman Tyreke Evans, shooting guard Monta Ellis and small forward Mike Dunleavy.
Miami also must make decisions on their other free agents, center Willie Reed and forwards Luke Babbitt and Udonis Haslem.
Chances are Reed will find a better deal elsewhere, Babbitt could return on a minimum contract and Haslem is expected to return for his 15th season with the Heat.
Miami also has a $4.3 million exception available once it is capped out.