A look at each player on the Miami Heat’s 15-man roster to start the season

MIAMI — The NBA is back, which means the Heat are back.

The Heat open the regular season Wednesday in Orlando against the Magic. Here’s a closer look at the 15-man roster Miami will use to start the season …

Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat reacts to a dunk during a preseason game against the Washington Wizards at American Airlines Arena on October 11, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

C/F BAM ADEBAYO

Age: 20.

Season stats: Played one season at Kentucky, averaging 13.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks as a freshman last season.

Contract status: Set to make $2.5 million this season, with his deal guaranteed for the first two seasons. The Heat then have a team option in years three and four of Adebayo’s contract.

What to know?: Adebayo was the Heat’s first-round pick this year and he’s now a part of the team’s young core. But it will be tough for Adebayo to find playing time right away with Hassan Whiteside, Kelly Olynyk and James Johnson expected to get most of the minutes in the Heat’s power rotation. Foul trouble and injuries could create playing time for the rookie, but don’t expect him to have a big role early on.

Kelly Olynyk #9 of the Miami Heat drives to the basket against Quincy Acy #13 of the Brooklyn Nets in the first half during their Pre Season game at Barclays Center on October 5, 2017 in the Brooklyn Borough of New York City. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

C/PF KELLY OLYNYK

Age: 26.

Season stats: Averaged 9.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 75 games (6 starts) for the Celtics last season.

Contract status: Signed with the Heat on a four-year contract worth $50 million in free agency this offseason.

What to know?: With Olynyk’s ability to stretch the floor and pass the ball as a 7-footer, he can used as a power forward and center. And the Heat are expected to use him at both spots this season. Olynyk saw playing time as a power forward next to center Hassan Whiteside and also got some minutes at center when Whiteside exited the game during the preseason. Expect Olynyk to have a big role this season.

The Heat’s Justise Winslow drives to the basket against Washington in Wednesday’s preseason game in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

F JUSTISE WINSLOW

Age: 21.

Season stats: Averaged 10.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 18 games (15 starts) last season. Season was cut short due to season-ending surgery on his right shoulder.

Contract status: Set to make $2.7 million this season. In addition, the Heat already decided to exercise the fourth-year team option on Winslow’s rookie-scale contract, which guarantees him $3.5 million for the 2018-19 season.

What to know?: After a shoulder injury forced him to miss the second half of last season, it will be interesting to see how the Heat integrate him back in. Shooting has been a constant struggle for Winslow. But there’s definitely a place for him on this team with his defense, passing ability, versatility and potential. Winslow was always expected to have a spot in the Heat’s rotation, but Rodney McGruder’s injury should open up even more playing time for him than expected this season.

Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic participating in 5-of-5 drills during the first day of training camp on Monday, (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

PG GORAN DRAGIC

Age: 31.

Season stats: Averaged 20.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists in 73 games (73 starts) last season.

Contract status: Set to make $17 million this season. Heat have Dragic under contract for next three seasons, but the final season of his deal is a player option for 2019-20.

What to know?: After turning in one of the best seasons of his NBA career, Dragic has solidified his role as one of the Heat’s leaders moving forward. With Miami’s core returning, Dragic should be able to build on last season’s success as the Heat’s starting point guard. Dragic had a quiet preseason as he rested his body and mind after a crazy offseason. He played in just two of the Heat’s six preseason games after leading Slovenia to EuroBasket gold in September. But Dragic will be expected to perform as one of the Heat’s top players when the regular season begins.

Miami Heat guard Josh Richardson looks for an open teammate during the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets, Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, in Miami. The Heat defeated the Hornets 109-106. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

G/F JOSH RICHARDSON

Age: 24.

Season stats: Averaged 10.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.1 steals in 53 games (34 starts) last season.

Contract status: Set to make $1.5 million this season. In September, Richardson agreed to a four-year, $42 million extension with the Heat that will start in 2018-19.

What to know?: The Heat expect big things from a healthy Richardson this season. He impressed in the preseason with averages of 13.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.6 blocks in five games. Richardson’s versatility at 6-foot-6 should help Miami, as he’s an option at both guard positions and at small forward. Whether he starts or not, Richardson is going to be a big part of Miami’s formula.

Miami Heat guard Tyler Johnson is shown during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets, Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

G TYLER JOHNSON

Age: 25.

Season stats: Averaged 13.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.2 steals in 73 games (0 starts) last season.

Contract status: Set to make $5.9 million this season, but his contract becomes a lot more expensive after next season when he will be paid $18.9 million in 2018-19 and $19.6 million in 2019-20.

What to know?: Johnson carved out a nice role for himself as the Heat’s sixth man last season. And he will play that scorer role off the bench again this season. Johnson had a solid preseason, averaging 12.5 points on 56.3 percent shooting from the field and 47.1 percent shooting from 3-point range. But if the Heat want to avoid the expensive half of Johnson’s contract, this season is the time to trade him with this year’s salary still a bargain. On the other end of the spectrum, Johnson is a reliable player who is still improving and has been developed within the Heat organization. That’s always an asset.

Hassan Whiteside #21 of the Miami Heat looks on during a preseason game against the Charlotte Hornets at American Airlines Arena on October 9, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

C HASSAN WHITESIDE

Age: 28.

Season stats: Averaged 17.0 points, 14.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 77 games (77 starts) last season.

Contract status: Set to make $23.8 million this season. Heat have Whiteside under contract for the next three seasons, but the final season of his deal is a player option for 2019-20.

What to know?: Whiteside’s growth last season proved the Heat’s investment in him was a wise one. With max contract salaries going up again this summer, the Heat locked up Whiteside for a fair price. Entering this season, Whiteside has a chance to make his first All-Star team and solidify his spot among the NBA’s top centers. He led the league in blocks in 2015-16 and rebounding in 2016-17. What will Whiteside lead the NBA in this season?

Wayne Ellington #2 of the Miami Heat shoots during a preseason game against the Washington Wizards at American Airlines Arena on October 11, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

G WAYNE ELLINGTON

Age: 29.

Season stats: Averaged 10.5 points and shot 37.8 percent from 3-point range in 62 games (13 starts) last season.

Contract status: Set to make $6.3 million with the Heat this season. Will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.

What to know?: $6.3 million is a good number for a player like Ellington, who proved to be a good fit for the Heat on the court and in the locker room. He’s a shooting specialist and he’ll be a very effective weapon off Miami’s bench this season. With drive-and-kick guards Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters on the roster, Ellington’s 3-point shooting is important to the Heat’s spacing.

Miami Heat’s James Johnson (16) drives to the basket past Washington Wizards’ Jason Smith (14) during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, in Miami. The Heat won 117-115. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

F JAMES JOHNSON

Age: 30.

Season stats: Averaged 12.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 76 games (5 starts) last season.

Contract status: Re-signed with the Heat on a four-year contract worth $60 million in free agency this offseason. The deal includes a player option in the fourth year.

What to know?: Johnson became a fan favorite and a favorite of those within the organization in his first season with the Heat. He got in better shape, became a leader and bought in to the Heat’s culture. Now with a new four-year contract in hand, Johnson’s growth with Miami can continue. He was used in a bench role last season and he prefers to have that role again this season. Whether Johnson starts or not, his play will be important to the Heat’s success.

Miami Heat guard Rodney McGruder (17) shoot free throws with Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters (11) at Miami Heat training camp at FAU in Boca Raton, Florida on September 26, 2017. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

G/F RODNEY MCGRUDER

Age: 26.

Season stats: Averaged 6.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 78 games (65 starts) last season.

Contract status: Set to make $1.3 million this season. McGruder also has one additional non-guaranteed year on his contract for the 2018-19 season.

What to know?: The Heat will start the season without McGruder, who underwent surgery the day before the opener to repair a left tibia stress fracture. There’s no timetable for his return, but he’s expected to miss an extended amount of time. McGruder, who will still count as part of the Heat’s 15-man roster despite the injury, was one of the top candidates to begin the season as the Heat’s starting small forward.

Dion Waiters #11 of the Miami Heat drives to the basket in the second half against the Brooklyn Nets during their Pre Season game at Barclays Center on October 5, 2017 in the Brooklyn Borough of New York City. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

G DION WAITERS

Age: 25.

Season stats: Averaged 15.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 46 games (43 starts) last season.

Contract status: Re-signed with the Heat on a four-year contract worth $52 million in free agency this offseason.

What to know?: Waiters impressed last season, turning into a key part of Miami’s second half resurgence. The backcourt of Dragic and Waiters, better known as 7-Eleven, should be even better this season with one year of experience playing together under their belt. Under a four-year contract with the Heat, Waiters has the security he’s been looking for. Now, Waiters wants to become a more efficient player after shooting 42.4 percent from the field and 64.6 percent from the free-throw line last season.

Miami Heat’s Okaro White defends against Denver Nuggets Wilson Chandler during the Nuggets win on Sunday. (AP Photo/Joel Auerbach)

F OKARO WHITE

Age: 25.

Season stats: Averaged 2.8 points and 2.3 rebounds in 35 games (0 starts) last season.

Contract status: Set to make $1.3 million this season.

What to know?: White is an NBA role player and every team needs a few of those. White can provide defense and some 3-point shooting off the Heat’s bench. He probably won’t have a consistent role at the start of the season, but White is a good option to have if there’s foul trouble or injuries. The 2017-18 season marks White’s first full season in the NBA.

Denver Nuggets guard Mike Miller (3) and Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem (40) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, in Denver. The Heat won 106-98. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

F UDONIS HASLEM

Age: 37.

Season stats: Averaged 1.9 points and 2.3 rebounds in 16 games (0 starts) last season.

Contract status: Re-signed with the Heat on a one-year, veteran minimum contract worth about $2.3 million this offseason.

What to know?: Haslem is preparing for his 15th NBA season, with the first 14 seasons all coming with Miami. Haslem did not play much last season and was out of the rotation for most of the year, but he did bring invaluable leadership as the team captain. Now with Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk joining the roster and James Johnson returning, Haslem’s playing time is expected to be limited this season, too.

Miami Heat center AJ Hammons poses for a photo during the NBA team’s media day, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

C AJ HAMMONS

Age: 25.

Season stats: Averaged 2.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in 22 games as a rookie for the Mavericks last season.

Contract status: Set to make a guaranteed salary of $1.3 million this season. Has his contract guaranteed for $1.5 million in 2018-19.

What to know?: The Heat acquired Hammons from the Mavericks this summer in the trade that sent Josh McRoberts to Dallas. But don’t expect Hammons to play much this season. He didn’t play in the preseason as he battled an illness and his role will be limited in the regular season, too, with plenty of players ahead of him in the Heat’s frontcourt rotation.

Miami Heat forward Jordan Mickey (25) goes up for a shot against Charlotte Hornets forward Johnny O’Bryant III during the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game, Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, in Miami. The Heat defeated the Hornets 109-106. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

F JORDAN MICKEY

Age: 23.

Season stats: Split last season between the Celtics and their developmental league team, the Maine Red Claws. In 25 games with the Celtics, he averaged 1.5 points and 1.4 rebounds in 5.6 minutes per game. He appeared in 12 regular-season games for the Red Claws, averaging 20.8 points on 51.5 percent shooting from the field and 43.8 percent shooting from 3-point range to go with 8.8 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game.

Contract status: Signed a two-year contract with the Heat in free agency this summer, with the first year guaranteed at the $1.5 million veteran’s minimum and a team option for the 2018-19 season.

What to know?: At 6-foot-8 and 235 pounds, the power forward has two skills that really intrigue the Heat. He can stretch the floor with his outside shot and has an incredible knack for blocking shots. This skill set along with his guaranteed salary was enough to earn him a spot on the Heat’s 15-man roster. Miami will continue to try to develop Mickey’s game, and don’t be surprised to see some flashes from him throughout the season.

[Anthony Chiang’s Miami Heat predictions: Josh Richardson will have a breakout season]

[Tom D’Angelo’s Miami Heat predictions: Hassan Whiteside will be recognized as one of the league’s best]

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ESPN analysts agree: Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra one day headed to Hall of Fame

ESPN analysts Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy believe the Miami Heat are headed to the playoffs and could be a difficult team to beat.

One reason both like the Heat is because of coach Erik Spoelstra, who both believe is one day headed for the Hall of Fame.

“Erik Spoelstra in my opinion is one of the best in the business,” Jackson said. “He is an outstanding coach and a future Hall of Famer.”

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra disputes a call during a timeout in the second half of an NBA preseason game at Orlando on Saturday.(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Spoelstra, entering his 10th season, spearheaded a turnaround in 2016-17 from 10-31 the first half of the season to 31-10 the second half. The Heat lost out on the final playoff spot playoffs because of a tiebreaker.

As a result, Spoelstra shared the inaugural Michael H. Goldberg National Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year award, which was voted upon by the coaches, with Houston’s Mike D’Antoni. Spoelstra then finished second to Houston’s Mike D’Antoni in the voting  by 100 media members.

“I’ll second the fact that Erik Spoelstra is a Hall of Fame coach,” Van Gundy said. “He’s done a terrific job in so many roles there but in this leadership role as a head coach he’s had the best team and the best talent and then he’s had young teams he’s had to develop and he’s done a great job with both situations. One thing about Miami they’re going to guard especially hard and they’re going to be tough to play against.”

Spoelstra is 440-282 and 70-43 in the playoffs since replacing Pat Riley in 2008. He has passed Riley for the best regular season winning percentage (.609) in franchise history, the most post season wins and best post season winning percentage (.619).

The Heat brought back every significant player from last year’s team plus added big men Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo. Miami received bad news Thursday when it announced forward Rodney McGruder has a stress fracture in his left leg. McGruder will miss a significant amount of time.

“(Spoelstra’s) done a great job and they’ve done a great job of making sure they got the pieces back and also adding pieces,” Jackson said. “Because of the way they play, the way they compete the way they defend. … the way they get after it, they are certainly a playoff team in the Eastern Conference and if they’re healthy and whole they will be a tough out.”

Van Gundy said it’s difficult to compare this team to the one that dug itself out of a deep hole to finish .500 last season because “every year things change, team dynamics change, people get paid and you don’t know how that impacts performance.”

But he added he believes the Heat need solid years out of point guard Goran Dragic and center Hassan Whiteside if they are going to be playing into late April.

“A lot comes down to Dragic’s offensive explosion like he had in EuroBasket this year,” Van Gundy said. “What he did there was terrific (and) his last half of the year last year was great.”

Dragic led Slovenia to the EuroBasket championship in September.

“If they get a great year out of him and Whiteside they’ll definitely be in the playoffs.”

The Heat open the regular season Wednesday in Orlando.

[Who’s in, who’s out for Heat’s preseason finale against 76ers]

[Miami Heat waive Larry Drew II, add developmental-league veteran Tony Mitchell to roster]

[Jordan Mickey showing Heat there’s more to his game than defense and rebounding]

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Dion Waiters set to return to Miami, agrees to new deal with Heat

MIAMI — Dion Waiters will get his wish.

Since the regular season ended in April, Waiters has made it clear he wants to return to the Heat.

“I want to be there,” Waiters said in May when asked if he wants to be back with the Heat during an appearance on The Hochman and Crowder Show on WQAM. “When that time comes and we sit down, we just got to make it happen. Let’s get it over with as quick as possible.”

That hope will become a reality. Waiters agreed to a four-year, $52 million deal to return to the Heat with a starting salary of $12 million for this upcoming season, ESPN first reported Wednesday.

Basketball Insiders reported the four-year contract includes no team or player options. It marks the first big payday of the 25-year-old’s career, as he’s made $19.7 million over his five seasons in the NBA and made $2.9 million with the Heat last season. Continue reading “Dion Waiters set to return to Miami, agrees to new deal with Heat”

Mailbag: How much money can the Heat offer Gordon Hayward compared to the Jazz?

Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward goes up for a dunk against the Brooklyn Nets during NBA basketball game in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

ORLANDO — Today is a big day for the Heat.

The Heat have their free-agent meeting with Gordon Hayward on Saturday, and Hassan Whiteside will reportedly be a part of Hayward’s day in Miami. What does this all mean for the Heat?

We answer that question and more in this week’s installment of the Heat mailbag. If you weren’t able to ask a question this time, send your questions for future mailbags via Twitter (@Anthony_Chiang and @tomdangelo44). Continue reading “Mailbag: How much money can the Heat offer Gordon Hayward compared to the Jazz?”

Ready for Miami Heat summer-league basketball? Here’s the full roster and more info to know

MIAMI — With the NBA draft now in the rearview mirror, the start of summer-league basketball is just days away.

And the Heat’s summer-league team should not be overlooked. Tyler Johnson, Okaro White, Udonis Haslem, Rodney McGruder and Willie Reed are all undrafted prospects who went through Miami’s summer-league program before eventually earning a spot on the Heat’s regular-season roster.

This year’s Heat summer-league roster was unveiled Wednesday and it includes one player from the Heat’s season-ending roster — White — and first-round pick Bam Adebayo. Chris Quinn, who entered the NBA as an undrafted free-agent point guard with Miami in 2006, will coach the Heat’s summer-league teams in Orlando and Las Vegas. Continue reading “Ready for Miami Heat summer-league basketball? Here’s the full roster and more info to know”

UPDATED: Heat’s Pat Riley lapping Phil Jackson’s success in front office

Head Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers Phil Jackson and Head Coach of the Miami Heat Pat Riley share a laugh before the game on December 25, 2005 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. The Heat defeated the Lakers 97-92. (Photo by Victor Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
Head Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers Phil Jackson and Head Coach of the Miami Heat Pat Riley share a laugh before the game on December 25, 2005 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. The Heat defeated the Lakers 97-92. (Photo by Victor Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)

Being a successful NBA player does not always mean you’d make a successful NBA executive.

Why? Because for every Pat Riley, there is a Phil Jackson.

Both Riley and Jackson were good NBA players who became great NBA coaches. Both coached the Los Angeles Lakers to multiple NBA championships, and Jackson won 11 rings overall when you include the six he won with the Chicago Bulls.

But they have fared differently in the front office. When comparing their front-office careers, Riley has longevity over Jackson, but it’s fair to say that, so far, the “Zen Master” has nothing to compare to the calming hand “The Godfather” has used to steer the Heat through good and bad times.

And today, Jackson’s time as an executive came to an end when it was reported that he and the Knicks are parting ways. Jackson, 71, likely is  done as a top executive given his disastrous run in N.Y.

Here’s a quick breakdown of how they’ve fared:

Phil Jackson

  • Became President of Basketball Operations of the New York Knicks in March 2014.
  • Leaves with the Knicks going 80-166 in his three full seasons as team president, losing at least 50 games in each season.
  • Hired one of his former players, Derek Fisher — who had recently retired and had no head coaching experience — to coach the Knicks after firing Mike Woodson, who had gone 109-79 in parts of three seasons in New York.
  • Re-signed Carmelo Anthony in the 2014 offseason to a deal that included veto power over the Knicks trading him without his approval.
  • In the 2014-15 season, the Knicks set a franchise mark with 16 straight losses and went 17-65, their worst record ever.
  • Drafted Kristaps Porzingis fourth overall in 2015.
  • Fired Derek Fisher in Feb. 2016 after a 1-9 stretch left the Knicks with a 23-31 record.
  • In a surprise move, hired Jeff Hornacek in June 2016 to replace interim coach Kurt Rambis. Hornacek had been fired earlier in the year by Phoenix.
  • Has used Twitter and other passive-aggressive means to ridicule and undermine Anthony.

Pat Riley

  • Stepped down as head coach of the Heat to turn his full attention to being team president after the 2002-03 season.
  • Drafted Dwyane Wade fifth overall in 2003.
  • In 2004, traded Caron Butler, Brian Grant, Lamar Odom and a first-round draft pick to the Los Angeles Lakers for Shaquille O’Neal, who was disgruntled with the Lakers.
  • Took over as head coach again during the 2005-06 season after he pushed out Stan Van Gundy.
  • With O’Neal and Wade, the Heat won their first NBA championship in June 2006, defeating the Dallas Mavericks 4-2.
  • In 2008 after the Heat finished 15-67, Riley stepped down as head coach again but remained team president and promoted Erik Spoelstra to head coach. Spoelstra has proven to be an inspired hire and is now the second-longest-tenured coach in the league behind Gregg Popovich.
  • In 2010, Riley signed free agents LeBron James and Chris Bosh to team up with Wade, forming a trio that would play in four straight NBA Finals and win two championships.
  • Won the 2011 NBA Executive of the Year award.
  • Did not re-sign Wade, the face of the franchise, in the summer of 2016, instead opting to rebuild the team around a young core. Miami entered the week with a 24-31 record, but had won 13 of their last 14 despite a roster shortened by injuries to its young stars and made up of castoffs, journeymen and unproven players.

Who heard their names called at the first-ever NBA awards show Monday night? A rundown of the winners

Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder celebrates after scoring a game-winning, three-point shot at the buzzer against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center on April 9, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The NBA handed out their awards Monday night. And for the first time ever, the NBA revealed the winners during an awards show in New York.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was one of the three finalists for the Coach of the Year award, but he did not take home the honor. Heat center Hassan Whiteside also came up short as Spurs star Kawhi Leonard beat him out for the Dunk of the Year fan favorite award.

Here are some other notable Heat tidbits from the awards show: Forward Udonis Haslem placed third in the voting for the Teammate of the Year award behind Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler; and guard Rodney McGruder received one third-place vote for the Rookie of the Year award.

Here’s a rundown of all the awards given out Monday night … Continue reading “Who heard their names called at the first-ever NBA awards show Monday night? A rundown of the winners”

Hassan Whiteside left off NBA’s All-Defensive teams; James Johnson didn’t even get one vote

Phoenix Suns’ TJ Warren (12) drives to the basket as Miami Heat’s James Johnson (16) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 21, 2017, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

MIAMI — The Heat ranked fifth in the NBA in defensive rating last season. Yet, Miami wasn’t represented on either of the league’s two All-Defensive teams.

But that’s not the surprising part of Monday’s news. The fact that Heat forward James Johnson didn’t receive a single vote in the All-Defensive team category is.

The teams were chosen by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. Continue reading “Hassan Whiteside left off NBA’s All-Defensive teams; James Johnson didn’t even get one vote”

Heat’s Rodney McGruder finishes just short of making NBA All-Rookie team

Miami Heat guard Rodney McGruder (17) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

MIAMI — Rodney McGruder was good enough to log 65 starts as a rookie last season. But he apparently wasn’t good enough to earn a spot on one of the NBA’s All-Rookie teams released Monday afternoon.

Among the players who received votes but were left off the All-Rookie teams, McGruder received the most voting points. The undrafted Heat rookie finished with 61 points, which included seven first-team votes. Continue reading “Heat’s Rodney McGruder finishes just short of making NBA All-Rookie team”

2017 Free Agency Preview: Should the Heat forget about ‘whales’ and bring back last season’s core?

Miami Heat center Willie Reed (35) forward James Johnson (16) and guard Wayne Ellington (2) return to the court after a time out during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, in Miami. The Heat defeated the Pistons 116-103. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

With the start of free agency set for Saturday at midnight, we’ll take a look at the biggest free-agent questions surrounding the Heat. Today we ask, should Miami bring back last season’s core? We’ll shift to a different question each day leading up to the start of free agency.

[Tuesday’s question: What will it take for the Heat to re-sign James Johnson?]
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Why wouldn’t the Heat make an effort to bring back the core of a team that recorded a 30-11 record over the final 41 games of the season? But some will ask, why would the Heat want to bring back the core of a team that finished with a 41-41 record and didn’t make the playoffs?

This is the conundrum Miami will have to figure out when free agency kicks off Saturday. Continue reading “2017 Free Agency Preview: Should the Heat forget about ‘whales’ and bring back last season’s core?”