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 email@example.com.
From @TheSpencerG: If Heat were to get Kawhi how do we stay competitive w/o giving up too much?
Several questions about the possibility of trading for San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard, as you would expect. A couple centered on the price to acquire one of the top five players and arguably best two-way player in the league when healthy.
Everything has been speculation but the most widely reported deal when it comes to the Heat is Miami sending Goran Dragic, Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow and Bam Adebayo to San Antonio for Leonard and Patty Mills. With Leonard set to make $20.1 million and Mills $11.6 million, this deal would work. But what becomes the real gamble, even if both sides agree, is Leonard can opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent next season.
Without a guarantee from Leonard, it’s unlikely the Heat makes this move and gives up their three most valued young assets and the foundation of the future. Even if Miami believed it had a chance to retain Leonard and sign him to a long-term deal, that would have to be predicated on Leonard liking what he sees during the season and believing the Heat are on the cusp of contending. But with a nucleus of Leonard, Mills, Dion Waiters, Kelly Olynyk, Hassan Whiteside, James Johnson, Tyler Johnson, Dwyane Wade (if he returns), and Wayne Ellington (if he re-signs) just how good is this team?
Without some kind of assurance from Leonard, the Heat would have a difficult time pulling the trigger on this deal. But if Miami could get Leonard to commit (and, yes, that still comes with a bit of a gamble), it’s a deal the Heat definitely will think seriously about making.
From @Shadow_Knight3: Should Heat try to take a chance at Parsons which includes the 4th pick of the Draft.
Before answering this question let me say that nothing has been reported of talks between the Heat and Grizzlies. But a variation of one trade has been speculated so we’ll address it.
Memphis reportedly is so desperate to dump Chandler Parsons that they are willing to attach the No. 4 overall pick to a deal. A high price and one that is hard to believe depending on the return. Chandler, a 6-foot-9 small forward, was one of the worst signings of the summer of 2016 (and there were plenty) when Memphis gave him a four-year maximum contract worth $94.8 million. If the numbers sound familiar they should because it’s very close to the deal the Heat gave Whiteside that same summer.
The Parsons signing has been more disastrous for Memphis than the Whiteside signing has been for the Heat. He has played in just 70 games the last two seasons and is averaging 7.1 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists while shooting 40.1 percent.
But just how desperate are the Grizzlies to dump that salary and could the Heat jump in to try to steal that pick? The more likely deal would be Parsons for Whiteside straight up. Two bad contracts traded for each other. The other big issue is then what does Memphis do with Marc Gasol, another bad contract, who is due to make 49.7 the next two seasons? And how would that help the Heat? As difficult as it was to watch Whiteside during the playoffs, he has given the Heat much more in the last two seasons than Parson has given the Grizzlies and that would solve nothing when it comes to the Heat’s salary cap situation.
Which means anyone who believes the Grizzlies would take Whiteside’s contract for Parsons and the No. 4 pick is delusional. Memphis is looking to dump a bad contract and does not want one in return. But let’s play along and say Memphis is that desperate, do the Heat have what the Grizzlies want to make the deal? The deal certainly could have to include some combination of Richardson, Winslow and Adebayo. But it is enough for Memphis to give up the chance of drafting Luca Doncic or Jaren Jackson Jr., or Mohamed Bamba or Michael Porter? And do the Heat believe a transformative player will be around at No. 4?
From @GajjarRahi: Who’s your starting SF in the future? Justice or Jrich?
A lot depends on the makeup of the roster but if both players are a part of the future, the Heat would ideally like to see Richardson at shooting guard and Winslow at small forward. But that is a big if with both being valuable trade assets and the Heat looking to upgrade the roster.
From @jphillips19915 Jun 17: Will we make a move Thursday night?
Oh yeah, there is a draft Thursday. Anything is possible as we discussed above with the reports concerning the Grizzlies, but the most likely scenario is Miami possibly obtaining a second-round pick. The tricky part is unless it is for a player, the deal could not be announced until July 1, which is when the Heat would have the money to trade for a pick in the second round.
MIAMI – The Miami Heat did not need the league’s Last Two Minute report to know Washington’s Markieff Morris took more than five seconds to inbound the ball with 12.2 second remaining in overtime Tuesday.
That play, along with two others the referees missed that went in Washington’s favor, were crucial in the Wizards’ 117-113 victory.
Spoelstra said the Heat timed inbounds pass and Morris took more than six seconds to release the ball. The Heat trailed by one point at the time and were forced to foul when Morris finally inbounded the ball.
“It’s just disappointing that it’s that far off,” Spoelstra said. “If it was five and a tenth of a second, OK, that’s human error. But it was over a full second off. That’s disappointing. The explanation after the fact is disappointing.
“That doesn’t mean we were going to win the game. That didn’t decide the game, but there were a couple of big plays down the stretch that could have changed certainly the momentum and complexion of the game.”
Tomas Satoransky received pass in and was fouled by Goran Dragic. Satoransky made one of two free throws, giving the Wizards a two-point lead.
Dwyane Wade then missed a two-foot floater but Kelly Olynyk gathered the rebound and had a putback at the rim with 4.8 seconds remaining with a chance to tie the game. He missed the shot with Morris all over him. No call was made.
The league deemed Olynyk was fouled and should have had two free throws.
“Morris makes contact to Olynyk’s right elbow and affects his putback shot attempt,” the report stated.
The Heat were forced to foul again and Kelly Oubre Jr. made both free throws with 1.8 seconds to play to seal the game.
An incorrect call with 1:36 to play also went against the Heat when Josh Richardson was whistled for a foul in lane when he slapped the ball from Morris. The report stated, ‘Richardson maintains a legal guarding position and cleanly dislodges the ball from Morris.’
The Heat would have had possession had a foul not been called.
Morris made 1-of-2 free throws to give the Wizards a one point lead.
Spoelstra has moved on and is trying to take the positive out of the game.
“We’re in these situations and we’re getting better from them,” he said. “They’re just making us tougher, more resilient, more confident, more comfortable in these late-game situations. I love it. I love where we’re going with it. We will get over this hump. We will get that breakthrough. But the resiliency that’s coming out of it and that’s always research shows the number one factor in all sustained improvement is your ability to develop resiliency and our guys are doing that together.”
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.
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.
F JUSTISE WINSLOW
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.
PG GORAN DRAGIC
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.
G/F JOSH RICHARDSON
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.
G TYLER JOHNSON
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.
C HASSAN WHITESIDE
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?
G WAYNE ELLINGTON
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.
F JAMES JOHNSON
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.
G/F RODNEY MCGRUDER
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.
G DION WAITERS
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.
F OKARO WHITE
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.
F UDONIS HASLEM
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.
C AJ HAMMONS
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.
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.
The Josh McRoberts era in Miami has come to an end.
The embattled big man was traded Friday to the Dallas Mavericks, a move that was all about dumping his $6 million salary to make room to pick up the $6.3 million team option on Wayne Ellington’s salary.
Miami will receive second-year center A.J. Hammons from Dallas. The Heat also sent a 2023 second round pick and cash considerations to Dallas.
The trade started a string of moves that culminated with Ellington returning. In between free agents Kelly Olynyk, Dion Waiters and James Johnson, all of whom had agreed to contracts in the last two days, signed their deals. Olynyk became a free agent this week when his rights were renounced by Boston and Waiters and Johnson return after each had a breakout season. Waiters and Johnson were signed by Miami last summer.
McRoberts was signed to a four-year, $23 million contract three years ago, a signing that at the time was considered wise with McRoberts coming off the best season of his career and the Heat scrambling after losing LeBron James.
But since everything that could go wrong has and McRoberts became the poster child for the bad luck the Heat have experienced the last three years.
A series of injuries has limited McRoberts to just 81 regular season games the last three years. The year prior to signing with the Heat he started all 78 games in which he played.
McRoberts, 30, averaged 4.1 points and 2.8 rebounds while shooting 39.8 percent with Miami. In his first seven years he averaged 5.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and shot 47.6 percent.
“I completely get it, man,” he said. “’I’m a big white guy who gets hurt all the time. I wouldn’t like me either. So I completely understand where it comes from. I get it.”
That was when it was learned a right foot injury would knock him out of camp and he eventually would miss the first seven games of the season. He returned, found his way into the starting lineup and then in December was out again with a stress fracture in the left foot.
The injury forced him to miss the rest of the season.
Hammons was selected in the second round, 46th overall, by Dallas in the 2016 NBA Draft out of Purdue. He appeared in 22 games last season with the Mavericks and averaged 2.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in 7.4 minutes while shooting 40.5 percent from the field. Hammons was the 2016 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year during his senior season.
The Heat expect Hammons to join their summer league team in Las Vegas sometime next week.
ORLANDO — Other than meeting with Gordon Hayward on Saturday, things have been fairly quiet for the Heat since free agency began.
But are we overlooking that fact that James Johnson, who is one of Miami’s free agents, made time to help the Heat in their recruiting session with Gordon Hayward? Does that mean Johnson will be back with the Heat next season?
The countdown to the draft now can be measured in hours and not days and the speculation is heating up.
With the 14th overall pick the Miami Heat have options, although not as many as teams in the top 10 or with multiple picks. What are those options? We answer that and more in today’s mailbag.
If you weren’t able to ask a question this week, send your questions for future mailbags via Twitter (@Anthony_Chiang and @tomdangelo44).
From @AsherWildMan6: Do you think it’s possible that after the draft is over Miami leaves with no players? Could they draft someone for another team to acquire future (and needed) picks and or package 14 with McRoberts to unload and accumulate picks for the future?
The Miami Heat have that 14th and final lotter pick in Thursday’s draft. Could they find a trade partner?
The chances of the Heat drafting a player and then moving that player certainly is realistic considering Pat Riley’s history. The only reason the Heat cannot trade that selection prior to the draft is because of their willingness to unload draft picks and teams are not allowed to trade away consecutive first round picks (the Heat did not have a first rounder last season and already moved its 2018 first rounder).
Acquiring additional picks would be beneficial considering Miami does do not possess a second round pick in the next five years starting with this draft, and along with no first-round pick next season it already has dealt their first rounder in 2021.
The Heat would love to dump Josh McRoberts’ $6-million salary. If they could make a deal to move down in the draft that would allow them to pick up a second rounder and attach McRoberts’ salary to the trade that would be win-win. The Heat do have the option of stretching McRoberts’ contract which means releasing the power forward/center and taking cap hits of $2 million for each of the next three seasons instead of a $6 million cap hit this season. That $4 million savings in July could be valuable.
The more likely scenario, rather than coming away with no players in this draft, is the Heat moving down to acquire an additional pick, especially considering the new two-way contracts that allow teams to keep two additional players under their control who they send to the developmental league. The Heat value the D-League and have used Sioux Falls to develop players like Tyler Johnson, Rodney McGruder and Okaro White.
Portland has three picks and perhaps it would be willing to deal Nos. 20 and 26. Same with Utah which owns the 24th and 30th picks. Or perhaps Miami could drop down a few spots to late teens and add up a second rounder.
All of this, of course, depends on how much the Heat like the players that will be available to them with the 14th pick. Miami may not be sure it if can retain James Johnson and may believe someone like Lauri Markkanen (perhaps the best case scenario) or John Collins would be more valuable than an extra pick. Or the same when it comes to Dion Waiters and perhaps adding a Donovan Mitchell or Luke Kennard or OG Anunoby.
But one thing is certain, Riley and GM Andy Elisburg will explore every option.
From @ChrisHypeTrain: If the Heat hold onto the 14th pick could that player will be in the rotation next season or do you seem him spending time in the D league?
Yes. Okay, I know that’s a bit vague but the answer is yes to both. The Heat will be active in free agency but we have no idea how that will end up. Miami may need this pick to fill out the bench whether he is a big (more likely) or a wing. We saw two years ago both of the Heat’s picks, Justise Winslow at No. 10 overall and Josh Richardson in the second round, became key contributors.
Miami has had a lot of success using the developmental league to its advantage and would have no problem sending the pick to Sioux Falls for seasoning if it believed it was warranted. But with a lottery pick, the Heat’s plans are to add a player that can remain on the Heat roster and eventually contribute. … if they keep that pick.
MIAMI — As two super teams compete for the NBA championship, the rest of the NBA is sitting back watching and wondering what it will take to compete with the Cavaliers and Warriors.
Count the Heat among the teams plotting an offseason strategy to end what has become Cleveland and Golden State’s annual June meeting. The Cavaliers and Warriors have now faced off in three consecutive Finals.