Waiters was held out of contract drills during Friday’s practice but he will participate in shoot-around before the 8 p.m. home opener (Fox Sports Sun).
“He did the non-contact work, he’s feeling better,” Spoelstra said. “We’ll do shootaround tomorrow and get ready to tomorrow night.
“We’ll manage it day to day. We’ll continue to get him out there and get him feeling right.”
The news was welcomed considering Miami will be down two players, including center Hassan Whiteside who suffered a bone bruise in his left knee during the Heat’s 116-109 season-opening loss to the Magic. Rodney McGruder is out indefinitely after having surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left leg.
Waiters, 25, tweaked the left ankle three times in the Orlando game. The first time was in the second quarter when Waiters tumbled into the basket support. Then, in the third quarter, he went to the locker room to have the ankle re-taped.
The ankle has been an issue for Waiters since he sprained it on March 17. He missed the final 13 games of the season. Waiters then revealed during training camp the ankle was still swollen and that he could have had surgery, but he decided against it because he would have been forced to miss eight to 10 months.
Forward Okaro White’s strained left shoulder is improving and he participated in practice Friday. The Heat are waiting to see how he “responds after a night” before determining if he can play Saturday.
“I’ll announce it tonight,” he said after today’s shootaround. “We know who we’re going with, we know the majority of our rotation but everybody has got to be ready. You could see in the two games last night there was some normal fatigue for early in the season so if we have to go deep in the rotation we will.”
The Heat’s game notes list three starters – guards Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters and center Hassan Whiteside – and question marks at forwards.
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.
MIAMI — The Heat will enter the preseason finale without a few notable names.
Guard Goran Dragic did not travel with the team to Kansas City for Friday’s game against the 76ers, as he’s been excused from the trip with his wife and children arriving to Miami from Europe on Thursday night. Dragic, who led Slovenia to the EuroBasket championship in September, was not expected to play in the contest anyway after missing the past three preseason games to make sure he’s rested for the start of the regular season. Continue reading “Who’s in, who’s out for Heat’s preseason finale against 76ers”
The 6-foot-8 power forward is working on his playmaking skills this summer as one of the leaders of the Heat’s summer league team. He played in 35 games for Miami last season, earning his stay after two 10-day contracts, and showed he has skills to at least shoot from the perimeter, making 35.3 percent of his threes.
“The way James Johnson gets us into offense and is able to handle the ball at the forward position, that’s what I’ve been working on and been working on a lot,” White said. “That’s really where I want to improve.”
White has gotten off to a rough start in the Heat’s first two summer league games. He had three turnovers and one assist in Miami’s 81-68 loss to Orlando Sunday, this coming after committing seven turnovers with no assists in Saturday’s loss to Charlotte. White did lead the Heat in scoring in both games with 20 points in the opener and 15 on Sunday, although he is shooting 9-of-28. He has 14 rebounds.
“I was down on myself a little bit,” White said Sunday. “I didn’t think I played up to my ability. I felt some good things as far as pushing it. I just want to stay lower while I’m pushing it against shorter guys. I still want to get into the offense also and try to be a playmaker.”
And there were signs. White did push the ball from end-to-end a couple of times and late in the game he made a nice bounce pass off the dribble from the top of the key to guard London Perrantes on the baseline.
“We’re asking Bam and him to do a lot,” coach Chris Quinn said about first-round pick Bam Adebayo and White. “We’re putting the ball in those guys’ hands and asking them to make plays and asking them to do a lot for us. Those guys’ development is one of our biggest priorities.”
Quinn returned to the bench Sunday after being a part of the Heat contingent that met with free agent forward Gordon Hayward Saturday in Miami. He was not happy with Sunday’s start in which Orlando jumped to a 21—0 lead.
“It’s not the welcome back I wanted, that’s for sure,” Quinn said. “Two games in a row now we’ve gotten off to slow first quarters.”
Adebayo, who has 28 points and 19 rebounds in the two games, said White has counseled him on the speed of the game.
“He just told me it’s very fast, everybody can shoot, everybody can play defense,” Adebayo said. “Everybody is athletic. You have to get your shots off at the right time and don’t double guess yourself. Just go strong.”
White, who averaged 2.8 points and 2.3 rebounds for the Heat last season, is the only player on the Heat summer league roster with NBA experience. He signed a partially-guaranteed contract last season that will pay him $1.3 million for 2017-18 if he’s around at the start of the season. He already has been guaranteed $226,000.
White and Adebayo are the only players guaranteed a spot on the training camp roster.
“I had a good amount of time to adjust to the game and adjust to the style of pace and adjust to the way we play as a team,” White said about the difference between this summer and last. “I think a more relaxed player.”
White also is adjusting to being a player looked upon to shoot. With the Heat he was asked to bring energy, defense and rebounding when he entered the game, although he showed at times he could hit a big shot.
The biggest was a game-tying three in the final minute of the Heat’s January victory at Brooklyn in which Miami overcame an 18-point deficit to start the fourth quarter.
“I don’t want to just get out here and jack up shots,” he said. “I know my role and the way I want to play when I get with the big guys. At the same time, I want to get my teammates involved. It’s a little weird. But I’m taking the challenge.”