Miami Heat send A.J. Hammons to Sioux Falls, keep Matt Williams Jr. on NBA roster

Miami’s Matt Williams talks with Bam Adebayo during the second half of a preseason game against Washington. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

MIAMI – The Heat have assigned center A.J. Hammons to the Sioux Falls Skyforce and will keep guard Matt Williams Jr. on the NBA roster.

Hammons, who is guaranteed $1.3 million this year and $1.5 million next year, has not played in the first two regular season games after missing nearly two weeks while dealing with an illness.

Guard Derrick Walton Jr. has also joined the Skyforce, Miami’s developmental league affiliate, which started camp Monday.

Walton and Williams are on two-way contracts, which means they are allowed to spend a maximum 45 days in the NBA. For Williams, that clock starts today. Both spent the entire camp with the Heat and were allowed to remain with the team up until the Skyforce camp opened.

“We felt early on since Rodney’s out, if we needed a guy it might be at the wing position,” coach Erik Spoelstra said about Rodney McGruder, who will miss extended time after undergoing surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left leg. “And Matt has really been dedicated just to learning our system trying to get better, trying to more accustomed to the pro game.”

The Heat have a scheduled mapped out for Williams, which has him remaining in Miami “for the first handful of games until we get a real feel for our roster and season” before heading to Sioux Falls.

The Heat converted Williams’ contract to a two-way deal on Oct. 15. Miami is hoping to develop his 3-point shooting after the undrafted rookie out of Central Florida product made 39 percent from long distance in eight games as a member of the Heat’s summer league team and was successful on 3-of-6 threes in a preseason win over the Wizards on Oct. 11. He took 13 shots in the preseason, all threes, and made four.

Williams has been available in the first two regular season games but has not played. The Heat host Atlanta tonight in their second home game of the season.

The 7-foot Hammons was acquired from Dallas in the Josh McRoberts trade. He did not play in the preseason because of his illness.

“We wanted to send him so he can take part in the daily double training camp sessions (in Sioux Falls),” Spoelstra said. “He needs all the reps that he can get, he needs the conditioning, he needs the five-on-five, he needs the drilling. All of that stuff.”

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No surprises as Miami Heat get down to 15-man roster limit; convert Matt Williams Jr. to two-way contract

MIAMI – The Miami Heat are down to the 15-man roster limit.

The contract of guard Matt Williams Jr. was converted into a two-way deal Sunday, the final move in setting the roster. The Heat now are expected to go into Wednesday’s season opener at Orlando with 11 players from last season’s final roster plus four newcomers.

“We had a really productive training camp,” coach Erik Spoelstra said after Sunday’s practice. “I thought we covered some ground taking some steps forward. For the most part you could see the progress over the course of the preseason our team starting to get a little bit closer to our identity and playing better.

Miami’s Matt Williams, left, talks with Bam Adebayo during the a preseason game against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

“So now it felt more like a regular season practice just gearing up for the opener.”

Spoelstra said he has not felt this kind of continuity since the final season of the Big Three era, which was 2013-14.

“It certainly feels a little bit more – I hate to use the word – comfortable, but guys at least understand in a preliminary way what’s their role and what to expect and what our expectations are,” Spoelstra said. “That helps.”

The deadline for reaching the 15-man roster limit is Monday.

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The Heat roster will include returning players Goran Dragic, Wayne Ellington, Udonis Haslem, James Johnson, Tyler Johnson, Rodney McGruder, Josh Richardson, Dion Waiters, Okaro White, Hassan Whiteside and Justise Winslow. McGruder counts against the roster even though he will miss a significant amount of time with a stress fracture in his left leg.

Joining the Heat this season are Bam Adebayo, A.J. Hammons, Jordan Mickey and Kelly Olynyk.

The roster breakdown:

Point guards: Dragic.

Wings: Ellington, Tyler Johnson, McGruder, Richardson, Waiters, Winslow.

Power forwards/centers: Adebayo, Hammons, Haslem, James Johnson, Mickey, Olynyk, White, Whiteside.

Spoelstra was asked about his starting lineup. Three spots appear secured: Dragic at the point, Waiters at a wing and Whiteside at center.

“It’s not going to be anything dramatic,” he said. “The guys that are going to play are going to play one way or another. I’ll figure out who starts. But, I always kind of laugh at that. Everybody is always focusing on that. Then everybody focuses on who finishes the game. Well there’s a bunch of minutes in between. I’m going to have to figure that out as well.”

Williams joins point guard Derrick Walton Jr. as the two players with two-way contracts. They will spend most of the season with the Heat’s developmental (G League) team in Sioux Falls. Players under two-way contracts cannot spend more than 45 days of the season on an NBA roster with the rest of the time in the G League.

The two players are allowed to remain with the Heat until the start of Sioux Falls’ training camp, Oct. 23.

The Heat are intrigued with Williams 3-point shooting. Williams took 13 shots in six preseason games, all from 3-point range. He made four.

“We want to develop that,” Spoelstra said. “There’s such a premium on those type of wing skills in this league right now. He’s got deep range, NBA range. We want to spend more time developing that.”

The 6-foot-5 Williams went undrafted in June after a record breaking career at the University of Central Florida where he set the school and American Athletic Conference marks for 3-point field goals made (126) in a season and established the Knights’ single-game 3-point field goals made record (11).

“It feels good,” Williams said. “The hard work is starting to pay off. It just lets you know coach Spo and all the staff believe in my abilities.”

Williams was told he must improve his defense.

“That’s what I’m looking to work towards,” Williams said.

Miami cut its roster from 20 to 17 Saturday when it waived wing DeAndre Liggins and forwards Erik McCree and Tony Mitchell. Liggins, McCree and Mitchell all are expected to join Williams and Walton in Sioux Falls.

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Miami Heat now have 16 on roster for next season after signing guards Matt Williams, Derrick Walton Jr.

Matt Williams signed with the Heat on Monday. (Photo courtesy of the Miami Heat)

MIAMI — The Heat have added a few more new faces to their roster.

Miami announced Monday that it signed 6-foot-5 shooting guard Matt Williams, who impressed with his 3-point shooting on the Heat’s summer league team, and point guard Derrick Walton Jr., who played for the Magic’s summer league team in Orlando. Williams did not sign a two-way contract, according to a league source, but the Heat announced that they did use their first two-way contract to sign Walton. Continue reading “Miami Heat now have 16 on roster for next season after signing guards Matt Williams, Derrick Walton Jr.”