MIAMI — With the Sept. 26 start of training camp just one week away, the Heat are making sure their roster is ready to go.
On Monday, Miami signed Josh Richardson to a four-year, $42 million extension that will start in 2018-19 and added undrafted rookie forward Erik McCree as the 19th player on its preseason roster.
And on Tuesday, the Heat announced, as expected, that they have exercised their fourth-year team option on Justise Winslow’s rookie-scale contract. The move guarantees Winslow $3.5 million for the 2018-19 season.
The Heat had until their Oct. 18 regular-season opener against the Magic to make the decision on the fourth year of Winslow’s deal. The 21-year-old is set to make $2.7 million this upcoming season.
When healthy, Winslow played as the Heat’s starting small forward last season. But his year was cut short after just 18 games due to a torn labrum in his right shoulder that required season-ending surgery in January.
Along with the shoulder injury, Winslow also battled through a sprained left (shooting) wrist that forced him to miss 16 games early last season. But Winslow expects to be fully recovered and ready to go for the start of Heat training camp next week, and he’s already started to participate in full-contact work now that his six-month rehabilitation schedule from shoulder surgery is complete.
Winslow will have a chance to win back the starting job this upcoming season, as he’s expected to compete with Richardson and Rodney McGruder for the starting spot at small forward.
It’s been almost nine months since Winslow last played in an NBA game on Dec. 30. He’s already known as a quality defender but struggled to be an efficient offensive player in that small 18-game sample size last season, averaging 10.9 points on 35.6 percent shooting from the field and 20 percent shooting from 3-point range.
Heat president Pat Riley has made it clear that he believes in the team’s young nucleus. That core includes 28-year-old center Hassan Whiteside, 25-year-old guard Tyler Johnson, Richardson and Winslow.
After signing Richardson to an extension and exercising the fourth-year team option on Winslow’s contract this week, the Heat will have more time to develop this group.
“Give me four guys their age in the league, and let’s play a four-on-four game and I think we’d have a pretty competitive four,” Riley said in July.
Winslow was drafted by the Heat with the 10th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. He has appeared in 96 career games (23 starts) with Miami averaging 7.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 29.8 minutes while shooting 40 percent from the field.