Heat GM Andy Elisburg had advice for Cavaliers GM after losing LeBron: ‘It ends, and you have to start again’

LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on while playing the Chicago Bulls during a pre season game at Quicken Loans Arena on October 10, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

MIAMI — It’s been exactly four years since LeBron James announced he was leaving the Heat to return to his hometown Cavaliers on July 11, 2014.

Heat general manager Andy Elisburg still remembers that day well, especially the feelings he felt immediately after learning of James’ decision to head to Cleveland. In a ESPN story written by Ramona Shelburne that chronicled James’ latest decision to sign with the Lakers, Elisburg revealed that he called Cleveland general manager Koby Altman the morning after news broke that James was leaving the Cavaliers to move to Los Angeles earlier this month. Continue reading “Heat GM Andy Elisburg had advice for Cavaliers GM after losing LeBron: ‘It ends, and you have to start again’”

Report: Carmelo Anthony meets with Heat as his time with Thunder set to come to an end

The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Carmelo Anthony (7) celebrates a 3-point basket against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Calif., on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. (Hector Amezcua/Sacramento Bee/TNS)

MIAMI — It’s been a quiet offseason for the Heat … so far.

The only moves Miami has made since free agency began on July 1 have been signing Derrick Jones Jr. to a standard NBA contract and reaching an agreement with Duncan Robinson on a two-way deal. But things could get busy soon, especially with a 10-time All-Star on the Heat’s radar. Continue reading “Report: Carmelo Anthony meets with Heat as his time with Thunder set to come to an end”

Why have the Heat been so quiet since start of free agency? An explanation of what’s handcuffing them

Miami’s Hassan Whiteside, Tyler Johnson and Bam Adebayo react during the fourth quarter of the Heat’s Game 4 loss against Philadelphia Miami on Saturday. (Pedro Portal/El Nuevo Herald/TNS)

MIAMI — The looming threat of the luxury tax has seemed to handcuff the Heat so far this offseason.

Paying an expensive tax bill on top of player salaries for a roster that’s not considered a title contender is something NBA teams want to stay away from. And that’s the exact situation the Heat are trying to avoid. Continue reading “Why have the Heat been so quiet since start of free agency? An explanation of what’s handcuffing them”

Mailbag: Why is it taking so long for the Heat to re-sign Wayne Ellington?

Miami Heat’s Wayne Ellington (2) attempts a three-point basket as New York Knicks’ Frank Ntilikina, of France, defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

MIAMI — It’s time for another 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). You can also email me at achiang@pbpost.com. Continue reading “Mailbag: Why is it taking so long for the Heat to re-sign Wayne Ellington?”

As Wayne Ellington watch continues, an updated look on where Heat and Ellington stand

Miami Heat guard Wayne Ellington prepares to take a free throw during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, in Miami. The Kings defeated the Heat 89-88. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

MIAMI — While Wayne Ellington is pursuing the biggest payday of his career, the Miami Heat are trying to avoid an expensive luxury-tax bill.

Both sides are justified. Ellington earned the opportunity to sign the most lucrative contract in his life with a career-best season in 2017-18 and the Heat have every reason to do everything they can to avoid paying the luxury tax for a roster that’s not considered a title contender right now. Continue reading “As Wayne Ellington watch continues, an updated look on where Heat and Ellington stand”

Mailbag: Why have the Miami Heat been so quiet to start free agency?

Miami Heat’s Tyler Johnson (8), James Johnson, second from left, Kelly Olynyk (9) and Josh Richardson (0) talk on the court during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Saturday, March 10, 2018, in Miami. The Heat won 129-102. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

MIAMI — It’s time for another 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). You can also email me at achiang@pbpost.com. Continue reading “Mailbag: Why have the Miami Heat been so quiet to start free agency?”

2018 Miami Heat Free Agency Primer: What you need to know about the Heat’s salary cap situation

Heat players Hassan Whiteside, Dwyane Wade, Wayne Ellington and Bam Adebayo look from the bench during overtime against the Brooklyn Nets at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Saturday. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald/TNS)

MIAMI — With free agency upon us, here’s a look at the Heat’s salary cap situation.

Miami currently has 10 players under contract for 2018-19 who are due about $119 million (assuming Rodney McGruder’s $1.5 million salary is guaranteed by Saturday’s deadline, as expected). That puts the Heat way above the $101.9 million salary cap, very close to the $123.7 million luxury tax line and not in a position to aggressively pursue free agents. Continue reading “2018 Miami Heat Free Agency Primer: What you need to know about the Heat’s salary cap situation”

2018 Miami Heat Offseason Preview: Does Hassan Whiteside’s contract make him untradeable?

Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade talks with Hassan Whiteside and James Johnson during a game this season against the Phoenix Suns. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

    The NBA starts a new fiscal year 12 a.m. Sunday, which also signals the start of free agency and what once again will be a busy offseason. The Miami Heat may not be as big a player as usual this offseason because of roster and payroll limitations but president Pat Riley still will be busy trying to find a way to upgrade his roster, however difficult that may be.

   This week we have taken a look at the biggest offseason questions surrounding the Heat. Today we end our series with this question: Can the Heat move Hassan Whiteside or does his contract, diminishing skills and lack of maturity make him untradeable?

[Monday’s question: LeBron James could be on the move again, do the Heat have a chance of bringing him back?]

[Tuesday’s question: Will Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem return for a 16th NBA season or retire?]

[Wednesday’s question: Will 3-point specialist Wayne Ellington return to Heat?]

[Thursday’s question: With no cap space, can Heat turn to trades to improve roster?]

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MIAMI – Hassan Whiteside’s free agency was as clean and quick as any two summers ago when it took less than 24 hours for him to announce on Snapchat he was re-signing with the Heat.

But since then, Whiteside’s career has been anything but smooth.

The 7-foot center has become the poster boy for the Heat’s struggles the last two years with his four-year, $98.4 million contract front and center in any discussion about the underachieving center.

Whiteside’s career as a max player got off to a good start, leading the league in rebounding (14.1 per game) and averaging 17.0 points per game in 2016-17. But signs of Whiteside’s immaturity kept surfacing and coach Erik Spoelstra’s frustration with Whiteside kept growing. Many wondered how much more the Heat could take.

Things got worse last season as Whiteside’s numbers declined and his complaints about playing time increased. That frustration from Whiteside’s end peaked in late March with a profanity-laced rant about his lack of playing time. Whiteside questioned Spoelstra’s strategy of matching up against smaller lineups, which many times left Whiteside on the bench for the entire fourth quarter.

After averaging 14.0 points and 11.4 rebounds during the regular season, Whiteside’s production bottomed out during the playoffs. Seeing just 15.4 minutes of playing time per game, Whiteside averaged 5.2 points and 6.0 rebounds in the five-game series against Philadelphia.

Whiteside again expressed his dissatisfaction about how he was being used by Spoelstra following the Sixers series-clinching win.

The rocky two seasons triggered several reports that the Heat would attempt to trade Whiteside this offseason and the belief is Miami would love to get out from the remaining two years and $52.5 million of Whiteside’s deal.

Heat president Pat Riley, though, downplayed that possibility during his media availability following last week’s draft.

“I expect a lot of out Hassan,” Riley said. “Contrary to what people might think about us trading him, we haven’t offered him to anybody, really, to be honest with you. So, you got through an emotional period with a player and you deal with it and you come back and you work things out.”

Riley, though, is very careful about what he says when it comes to trades. Nobody will say they are attempting to trade one of their players in case that player is not moved and he has to return. No matter how strong the reports, nobody wants a player returning thinking he is not wanted.

Riley started preparing for the possibility that Whiteside will return following the season when he declared “an intervention” was needed between Whiteside and Spoelstra and he was “going to be the intervener.”

Still, Riley and general manager Andy Elisburg will continue to explore every way to improve this roster and Riley has said no player is untouchable. But is there another team willing to take on Whiteside’s contract? And are the Heat willing to perhaps deal Whiteside for another team’s high-priced disgruntled player?

Whiteside was going to get a max contract two years ago whether it was from the Heat or another team. His skill set was much more valued then as a low post center. But the game has evolved since back-to-basket centers are becoming less of a need with teams relying on spacing and 3-point shooting. Centers like Heat backup Kelly Olynyk, who can play on the perimeter, shoot the three and pass, are desired more than Whiteside.

All of which will make it difficult for the Heat to move Whiteside, no matter the return. Right now, it appears the Heat are preparing for another season with Whiteside and Riley is working on mending the relationship between his center and his coach.

[Still hoping for a LeBron James-Heat reunion? Pay attention to Friday’s opt-in/opt-out deadline]

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Still hoping for a LeBron James-Heat reunion? Pay attention to Friday’s opt-in/opt-out deadline

LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on in the second half against the Golden State Warriors during Game Four of the 2018 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 8, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

MIAMI — Before free agency begins Sunday at 12:01 a.m., LeBron James has an important decision to make.

James has until 11:59 p.m. on Friday to opt in or opt out of a $35.6 million player option in his current contract with the Cavaliers for next season. If the 14-time All-Star opts out, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent on Sunday. Continue reading “Still hoping for a LeBron James-Heat reunion? Pay attention to Friday’s opt-in/opt-out deadline”

2018 Miami Heat Offseason Preview: With no cap space, can Heat turn to trades to improve roster?

Miami Heat NBA basketball team president Pat Riley talks to the media during a season ending press conference in Miami, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald via AP)

The NBA starts a new fiscal year at 12 a.m. Sunday, which also signals the start of free agency and what once again will be a busy offseason. The Miami Heat may not be as big a player as usual this offseason because of roster and payroll limitations, but president Pat Riley still will be busy trying to find a way to upgrade his roster, however difficult that may be.

This week we take a look at the biggest offseason questions surrounding the Heat. Today’s question: Can the Heat improve through trades this offseason? We’ll shift to a different question each day leading up to the start of free agency. Continue reading “2018 Miami Heat Offseason Preview: With no cap space, can Heat turn to trades to improve roster?”