The Miami Heat made a flurry of moves Thursday that resulted in the team agreeing to contracts with forwards Kelly Olynyk and James Johnson and an impending trade to dump Josh McRoberts’ salary on Dallas.
After also agreeing to bring back Dion Waiters on Wednesday, does that mean Pat Riley and the Heat are through?
We answer that and more in today’s mailbag. If you weren’t able to ask a question, send your questions for future mailbags via Twitter (@Anthony_Chiang and @tomdangelo44).
From @OS_KeepinItReal: After signing Waiters, JJ and Olynyk are the Heat through?
Once the signings are official and if McRoberts is traded, the Heat will have 10 players under contract. With Udonis Haslem expected to return and if Wayne Ellington’s contract is picked up would make 12.
But there is one glaring hole.
After releasing Beno Udrih last season, Miami did not have a true point guard to backup Goran Dragic. Tyler Johnson worked at the spot throughout the summer and preseason and never really looked comfortable or was very productive playing the point. And although Waiters was able to facilitate the offense at times, the closest thing Miami had to a point guard behind Dragic was do-it-all forward James Johnson.
Between veteran minimums and its exceptions – the Heat have a $3.3 million and $4.3 million exception of which they can use just one – the Heat likely will look at signing a point guard. The top three names still on the market: Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo and Ty Lawson.
Of course the biggest of those names are Rose and Rondo and it will be interesting as the money dries how much they will be forced to settle for. Lawson is talented but he has a string of arrests and the Denver Post reported he has failed three alcohol tests since last September.
Other names include: Udrih (who remains very close to Dragic), Aaron Brooks, Toney Douglas, Tyler Ennis, Brandon Jennings, Ramon Sessions and old friends Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole.
From @JsonV3: how much of a chance does Miami have at signing Westbrook next season? If any.
Russell Westbrook signed an extension with OKC in August that earned him $26.5 million last season and boosted his salary this upcoming season to $28.5 million. He then has a player option for $30.5 million for the 2018-19 season, one he likely will decline to seek a super max deal in excess of $200 million.
That opt out was strategically placed seeing it coincides with Westbrook completing his 10th season.
The Heat will be close to the $103 million cap with Waiters, Johnson and Olynyk on books. It will take some work to get about $35 million under the cap but it is doable with players like Waiters, Johnson, Olynyk, Dragic, Justice Winslow and Tyler Johnson, all of whom could be traded.
The key would be Johnson, who would clear the most cap space of all of those aforementioned players with his contract ballooning to about $19 million in 2018-19. But that is just the first part. Next would convincing Westbrook to come to Miami.
So, to answer the question: Not much.