Heat expected to allow cap exception for Dion Waiters’ injury to expire without adding player

Miami’s Dion Waiters looks on during the Heats loss to the Spurs early this season at AmericanAirlines Arena. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Miami Heat were granted a $5.5 million exception by the NBA in January when the league determined Dion Waiters’ ankle surgery was season ending.

But that deadline is expected to  expire at midnight tonight without the Heat adding a player.

General manager Andy Elisburg said the team had discussions about using the exception but after acquiring Dwyane Wade and Luke Babbitt at the trade deadline the organization decided to move forward with its current roster.

“We made different moves that didn’t require it,” Elisburg said about the exception. “We like the guys we got, we like what we did at the trading deadline.

“We like the team we have.”

The exception was granted because an independent medical panel determined that Waiters will be sidelined at least through June 15. Waiters underwent season-ending surgery on his left ankle on Jan. 22.

The Heat had half of Waiters’ contract to sign or trade for a player, but one only on an expiring contract. The signing would have limited to the rest of the season and could not have been combined with any other contract or exception.

And because the Heat are at the 15-man roster limit, they would have had to create a roster spot to add a player. Miami already cut A.J. Hammons in February after it acquired Wade from Cleveland for a draft pick and Babbitt from Atlanta for Okaro White.

Several players, including Joe Johnson, Marco Belinelli and Derrick Rose already have signed after being bought out of their contracts.

The Heat were fully healthy, with the exception of Waiters, entering the two games prior to facing Portland on Monday, giving coach Erik Spoelstra 12 players who would have legitimate claims to be in the rotation.

But that didn’t last long when Hassan Whiteside was ruled out of Saturday’s game against Washington and Dwyane Wade left that same game with a hamstring injury.

Although their injuries are not considered serious, Whiteside and Wade will not play tonight in Portland.

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