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”

Tom Crean says Dwyane Wade has ‘plenty left in the tank,’ but does he think he’ll return to the Heat?

Dwyane Wade is deciding whether to retire or return for a 16th season. (Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS – Tom Crean, one of Dwyane Wade’s confidants and his former coach at Marquette, has told his former player he hopes he returns to the Miami Heat.

And while Crean isn’t sure if Wade will retire or return for a 16th season, there is one thing he is sure about.

“I think there’s still plenty left in the tank for him, no doubt in my mind,” Crean said today from the Las Vegas summer league.

The option comes from spending time with Wade before training camp last season and watching him play for Cleveland and then the Heat, who reacquired Wade on Feb. 8.

“I saw him last summer and I thought going into training camp he was ahead of where he was going back to the year LeBron (James) left,” Crean said. James left the Heat in the summer of 2014.

“I thought he was at that point. He works on his game, he works constantly on it, he gets better, his energy is high, he’s done such a great job of training. I think he looks really good.”

Although Wade has not announced whether he is returning, his social media accounts are full of posts of him working out this summer.

Wade embraced his role coming off the bench last season. He averaged 12.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 21 games before being one of the Heat’s better players in the postseason. Wade was Miami’s second leading scorer at 16.6 points per game in their five-game series loss to the Sixers.

“I think Dwyane is capable of so many different roles that he’s always going to put the winning role first,” Crean said. “If there was any doubt (if he’d come off the bench) there was absolutely zero doubt once he went back to Miami and did that.

“He’s always been about winning and you go back into that environment with a young team and you’re doing what is needed for the team to win and make the playoffs, that shows you’re about winning more than anything else. He loves the Heat but he loves winning more than anything else.”

As far as Wade’s decision, Crean said: “I think he’ll make his decision based on the different circumstances that come with it. I, for one, hope that he’s going to continue to play. He knows that but I don’t have a vote. I just have an opinion.”

[As the offseason continues, we update where Heat stand in free agency and the trade market]

[No one will ever see John Crotty’s debut as the Heat TV analyst]

[Three takeaways: Heat routed by Pelicans; Eric Glass calls performance ’embarrassing’]

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As the offseason continues, we update where Heat stand in free agency and the trade market

Heat president Pat Riley still has some decisions to make this summer. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS – More than one week into the start of a new NBA fiscal year and, as expected, the Miami Heat remain the same team they were when free agency kicked off July 1.

The Heat are one of the handful of teams who have yet to make a move since the calendar turned to July. The only announcement coming from the Heat in recent weeks was the signing of forward Derrick Jones Jr. to a standard NBA contract.

But any future moves by president Pat Riley will be made with the luxury tax in mind. With about $120 million committed to 11 players for the upcoming season, Miami is about $4 million away from crossing that luxury tax threshold and that is something the Heat would like to avoid, especially for a team that is not a contender.

The luxury tax comes into play in several scenarios.

The Heat are one of three teams that have been linked to Carmelo Anthony, who will part ways with Oklahoma City. If the Thunder is unable to trade Anthony, who is due $27.9 million this season, he could be available for a minimum contract. The Heat’s issue is two-fold: Where would Anthony fit in with a roster that is deep with rotational players and where does Miami stand with Wayne Ellington?

Ellington remains a free agent, and the top unrestricted free agent according to some. The fact that Ellington, one of the top 3-point threats in a league that values 3-point shooters, remains on the market is surprising. The Heat could still be hoping to make a trade to shed some salary to bring back Ellington at a higher price (but certainly not close to the $10.9 million they could pay him). If not, will Ellington settle for something close to the $6.3 million he made last season, whether it is with the Heat or another team?

For every dollar the Heat exceeds the $123.733 million luxury tax threshold up to $4,999,999 they pay a tax rate of $1.50. From $5 million to $9,999,999 over they pay a tax rate of $1.75, from $10 million to $14,999,999 they pay a tax rate of $2.50.

If the Heat matches Ellington’s contract from last season and pays him $6.3 million, he would in essence cost them about $9.8 million because of their luxury tax bill. If they were to give him his max of $10.9 million he would cost them more than $23 million.

That is not happening.

And remember, money has dried up around the league. Just three teams – Atlanta, Brooklyn and Sacramento – have space remaining of any significant. With all three building with youth, it is unlikely they would have a need to sign the 30-year-old Ellington?

One caveat: Every team has until the end of the season to get back under the luxury tax line. So, Miami could be willing to go over that line at the start of the season to a certain point with the confidence they can make moves by the trading deadline to get back under.

Other things to watch as the summer progresses when it comes to the Heat:

Kawhi Leonard: This story will not go away even though many believe Leonard could play out the year in San Antonio. Still, talks can continue for months, which means we will be hearing Leonard rumors throughout the summer. Whether the Spurs turn to the Heat and the Heat are willing to give up most of their good young players remains to be seen.

Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem: Both players are contemplating retirement and the Heat are awaiting their decisions. Haslem would return on a $2.4 million veterans minimum and the Associated Press reported Wade is seeking the Heat’s $5.4 million mid-level exception. That decision could be tied to what happens with Ellington and any luxury tax implications.

Hassan Whiteside: It is looking more and more unlikely that the Heat are able to move Whiteside and the remaining $52.5 million on his contract. Two teams that could have been trade partners for a 7-foot center came off the board this weekend. The Trail Blazers brought back Jusuf Nurkic on a four-year, $48 million contract on Saturday and today it is being reported the Bucks are signing Brook Lopez to a one year deal.

Veteran minimums: The Heat already have too many rotational players but Riley still will look for any bargains that might fit this roster. And several intriguing names remain on the market including Parker, Marcus Smart, Isaiah Thomas and Rodney Hood. Parker, Smart and Hood are restricted. The possibility of any landing with Miami is remote unless moves are made to free up cap and roster space.

[No one will ever see John Crotty’s debut as the Heat TV analyst]

[Three takeaways: Heat routed by Pelicans; Eric Glass calls performance ’embarrassing’]

[Heat’s Dan Craig named assistant for USA National Team camp]

[Heat video room has produced long line of successful NBA coaches, executives – is Eric Glass next?]

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Heat mailbag: Where does Carmelo Anthony fit it with the Heat (if he does at all). That & more on tanking

Carmelo Anthony cheers on his Oklahoma City teammates during the Thunder’s playoff series against the Utah Jazza in April. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS – Time for another Miami Heat mailbag

If you were not able to ask a question this time, send them along for future mailbags via Twitter to @tomdangelo44 and @Anthony_Chiang. You can also e-mail me at tdangelo@pbpost.com.

From @ChrisHypeTrain: Where would Carmelo Anthony fit in with the Heat?

Oklahoma City is moving on from Anthony. The question is how do they part? Will it be a trade? Will OKC stretch the $27.9 million they owe him in the final year of his deal? Do the two sides agree to a buyout?

The later two scenarios would make Anthony a free agent and available to any team – presumably for the $3.4 million veteran minimum – including the Heat.

Does an Anthony deal make sense for the Heat?

Miami has two obstacles. First, with 11 players due about $120 million, the Heat are about $18 million over the cap and just $4 million shy of the luxury tax line, something Pat Riley is trying to avoid crossing. Without any other moves, Anthony would put you closer to that luxury tax line, and that’s without Wayne Ellington, Dwyane Wade or Udonis Haslem under contract. And if Anthony wants to come to the Heat, one of the biggest reasons would be to play alongside his friend, Wade.

Secondly, the Heat’s roster is lacking great players but has an excess of good players who could be in the rotation. The 6-foot-8 Anthony played most of his minutes at power forward last season which means coach Erik Spoelstra would have to find minutes for Hassan Whiteside, James Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, Bam Adebayo and Anthony in the power rotation. And if the thought is to give Anthony more minutes at small forward then he’s competing with Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow, Rodney McGruder and Derrick Jones Jr. for playing time.

As for his role in Miami, Anthony would step in as one of the top scoring options and the Heat would find a way to hide his defensive deficiencies.

Unless a third team is involved, and Atlanta really is the only one with enough cap space, the Thunder likely are not going to trade Anthony to the Heat because Miami would then have to match Anthony’s salary in the deal and that does nothing to help OKC reduce its mammoth luxury tax bill.

So, for the Heat to sign Anthony, they need to make a trade that not only would shed salary but also include a player or two, especially one of the power forwards. Ideally, enough cap space is created to fit in Anthony, Wade and Ellington.

The best fit among the three teams linked to Anthony is Houston. There, he also gets to play with one of his friends, Chris Paul, but more importantly, he’d replace Trevor Ariza, who signed with the Suns, although it is not ideal considering Ariza is a small forward. Anthony’s role in Houston would be similar to what is was in OKC as the third option.

As for the Lakers, yes, Anthony also is close to LeBron James, but the Lakers have an overabundance of players up front. The plan is to play James at power forward with Kyle Kuzma coming off the bench. We know James will play 36-38 minutes a game. Signing Anthony could cut into Kuzma’s minutes, something the Lakers do not want to do after he had such a strong rookie season.

From DjHitbwoy: Is this the perfect season for the Miami Heat to trade and tank? With us having a 2019 first round pick we can look forward to drafting Zion Williamson and try trading Whiteside contract to LA Clippers

Didn’t we hear enough of this in 2017 when fans wanted the Heat to go against everything the franchise stands for an tank after that 11-30 start? The Heat never will enter a season with the objective to lose as many games as possible and hope for a high pick. Trading Hassan Whiteside will be challenging and may not happen this summer. If not, the Heat will work tirelessly with Whiteside to improve his game with the hopes of moving up in the standings.

[Heat’s Dan Craig named assistant for USA National Team camp]

[Heat not worried about Derrick Walton Jr.’s shot. ‘What’s important to us is he’s playing defense’ – Eric Glass]

[Heat video room has produced long line of successful NBA coaches, executives – is Eric Glass next?]

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook page]

ESPN says Heat interested in Carmelo Anthony. A closer look at the challenges Miami faces in making that possibility a reality

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony shouts to his team during the second half of Game 3 of their first-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

MIAMI — Carmelo Anthony’s time in Oklahoma City will come to an end this summer. Now the question is, where will Anthony end up next?

According to ESPN, Oklahoma City and the 10-time All-Star will part ways at some point this offseason in order to help reduce a historic $310 million payroll and luxury tax bill. The Thunder will facilitate Anthony’s exit either through a trade, the NBA’s stretch provision or a combined buyout and stretch. Continue reading “ESPN says Heat interested in Carmelo Anthony. A closer look at the challenges Miami faces in making that possibility a reality”

What’s in store for the Miami Heat this offseason? A roster breakdown with a look at what’s next for each player

MIAMI — The Heat entered the offseason with a lot of questions surrounding their roster and very little financial flexibility to make significant changes.

Excluding cap holds, the Heat have 11 players under contract for 2018-19 who are due about $120 million. That puts Miami way above the $101.9 million salary cap and very close to the $123.7 million luxury tax line.

Unable to sign players into space because the Heat are capped out, they will have to rely on exceptions, minimum contracts, the power of Bird rights or even trades to fill out their roster.

Here’s what the Heat have to work with this offseason, with a player-by-player breakdown … Continue reading “What’s in store for the Miami Heat this offseason? A roster breakdown with a look at what’s next for each player”

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: Will Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem return for a 16th NBA season or retire?

Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (3) and Miami Heat power forward Udonis Haslem (40) bump fists after Wade was fouled by Indiana Pacers power forward Tyler Hansbrough (50) at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, FL. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

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: What will Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem decide to do this summer — retire or return for a 16th NBA season? We’ll shift to a different question each day leading up to the start of free agency.

[RELATED: Photos of the incredible style at the 2018 NBA Draft] Continue reading “2018 Miami Heat Offseason Preview: Will Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem return for a 16th NBA season or retire?”

Dwyane Wade wakes up in a ‘cold sweat’ nights ‘thinking I lost it all’

Dwyane Wade speaks onstage during All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles in February. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Dwyane Wade has made $180 million during his 15 year NBA career, and that’s just counting his basketball contracts. Wade has earned about $65 million in additional income just in the last five years, according to Forbes.

Yet Wade told CNBC Make It the fear of losing everything he has earned since signing his first contract with the Miami Heat in 2003 makes him “wake up out of my sleep some nights in a sweat, cold sweat.”

[RELATED: Photos of the incredible style at the 2018 NBA Draft]

Wade, 36, left Marquette University after three seasons, joining the Heat five months after his 21st birthday. He grew up on Chicago’s South Side amidst violence, gangs and drugs and watched his family struggle during his youth. Money was foreign to him until he blossomed in college and became the fifth overall pick in the 2003 draft.

“I’ve only had money since I’ve been 21 years old, even though I’m 36, so I went 20 years of my life where I didn’t have nothing,” Wade told Make It. “And so I still know what that struggle looks like, I still know what it feels like. It still makes me wake up out of my sleep some nights in a sweat, cold sweat, thinking I lost everything.

“For me, not growing up with money, my family not growing up with money, not knowing where your next meal will come from, those are things that drove me. Those (are) things that continue to live deep inside of me, that I just can’t get rid of, right? It’s the thing that makes me work at everything the way that I do.”

Wade went from having very little to making $2.6 million his rookie season and even though he had every intention to start saving his money then, he spent it on nice things, like cars.

“When I first came in, I remember looking at my contract, I remember thinking, ‘Oh, if I just save a million dollars a year, that’s good,’” Wade said. “And I didn’t do that. I wasn’t saving money, I was spending it as it was coming in.”

And what would he do then if he knew what he knows now?

“I would kind of stick to what I really know deep down inside, and deep down inside, it was like, I don’t ever want to struggle again,” Wade said. “I don’t ever want to feel that, what I felt before. So start putting money away now, and I would have did that.”

Wade has stuck to his plan after that initial spending spree and become a very successful businessman and activist. Wade has partnerships with Gatorade, Amazon Fashion, The Tie Bar and Away luggage. He’s the co-founder and CEO of sock company PKWY.

Wade recently told Joel Weber of Bloomberg Businessweek that one day he would like to be part of a group that owns an NBA team in Seattle. He believes Seattle is a great basketball town and would like to see the Sonics come back.

“I definitely want to be a part of ownership in the NBA,” he told Weber. “I’m not going to try to buy a team. I don’t have that kind of bread, but I definitely want to be a part of a great ownership group. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is all about players being involved in an ownership capacity. You’ve got players like Grant Hill involved in the Atlanta Hawks. Shaquille O’Neal is involved in the Sacramento Kings. It’s definitely something that I’ve talked about, some of my friends have talked about. But, first of all, I’d have to be retired.”

Wade returned to Miami in February after spending one season in Chicago and more than a half season in Cleveland. He has yet to decide if he will retire or return for a 16th season. If he does return he said it will be with the Heat. He has three sons and said he talks to them about being responsible with money.

“The fear of not having is a terrible feeling,” he said. “That never goes away. It’s something that I carry when I talk to my kids about money, when I talk to them about even the money I give them. It’s really trying to do something to them that I didn’t have, to have somebody really educate me on the importance of savings.”

[Heat announce six-game preseason schedule; tickets on sale Tuesday]

[Heat Mailbag: With Spurs rejecting offers from teams in West for Leonard, could Miami jump in? That & more on summer league]

[2018 Miami Heat Offseason Preview: LeBron James could be on the move again, do the Heat have a chance of bringing him back?]

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