Mailbag: Would Gordon Hayward be a good fit for the Miami Heat?

 

 

Utah’s Gordon Hayward is looking at signing a max contract this summer. Could he be a fit for the Miami Heat? (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The offseason has officially begun for the Miami Heat and with it comes speculation, rumors and questions about the future.

Interest is starting to build on two fronts: The draft and free agency and we address both in our latest 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 @strick9si: I believe the heat should make a run at Gordon Hayward probably the best ideal free agent candidate with skill set, Thoughts?

The 6-foot-8 Hayward, 26, will become an unrestricted free agent this summer and he has played himself into a max contract. He will be coming off his best season averaging 21.9 points and 5.4 rebounds while shooting better than 47 percent from the field and nearly 40 percent on 3-pointers for Utah. On the surface he would be a nice fit in the Heat’s drive and kick offense as high scoring wing player.

But here is what it would take. Gordon is going to get the max, which for a player with seven years of experience means starting at $31 million. By signing Hayward, the Heat would be unable to retain Dion Waiters and most likely James Johnson and they would have somewhere around $6 to $10 million remaining depending on if they keep their first round draft pick and other cap maneuverings.

That’s a steep price. If Pat Riley and Andy Elisburg could find a way to keep Johnson I would say go for it. That would give you a starting lineup of Goran Dragic, Josh Richardson, Hayward, Johnson and Hassan Whiteside. But if the choice is Hayward or Johnson and Waiters and a little more cap space, I would go with the latter. Besides, even if Hayward leaves Utah, Boston likely would have the best chance to signing him.

@RotodenHeat: Who do you like for Heat in upcoming NBA draft?

Pat Riley says the Heat are in ‘purgatory’ with the 14th pick. But he also believes Miami can add a nice player, possibly one good enough for the rotation.

I would like the Heat to look at adding a power player, one that could step into the rotation behind Johnson (if he returns) and Whiteside and who can rebound and bring a little scoring. Those types of players should be there in the middle of the draft, including one or two out of the group of Wake Forest’s John Collins, Indiana’s OG Anunoby, UCLA’s T.J. Leaf and Duke’s Harry Giles.

[No ceiling? Pat Riley, Erik Spoelstra believe there’s still plenty of room for Hassan Whiteside to grow]

[Heat fans send loud and clear message: No Melo]

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Miami Heat fans send loud and clear message: No Melo

If it were up to the fans, the Miami Heat would steer clear of the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Miami Heat fans are united in their opinion as to whether their team should pursue a trade for Carmelo Anthony.

No Melo.

Several Heat fans responded to our story last week asking if the Heat should make a play for the Knicks’ embattled 10-time All-Star and they overwhelmingly are against the move.

We have a sampling of the responses from e-mail and Twitter:

Tom Lynett, of Jupiter, a Knicks fan, clearly has been unhappy with the Anthony Era in New York.

“I have been a Knicks fan my entire life and I am 60,” Lynett wrote. “Carmelo Anthony is the worst team player that I have ever seen. He makes no one better, he is never clutch and he may be the worst defensive player of his pedigree. If the Heat do sign him they will regret it almost immediately. Pat Riley is too smart to ever sign the most over rated player of his generation.”

Robert Happ is impressed with the job Erik Spoelstra has done and says Anthony just does not fit into the Heat culture.

“No,No,No,” he wrote. “CA is the absolute antithesis of what the Heat have been under Spoelstra and what he has accomplished in creating the “TEAM” concept. Even when we had the luxury of the “Big Three”, coach S somehow managed to get them to play together as well as possible. Having been a long-time avid Celtic fan, I really appreciate the job he has done since the BT have been “disassembled”. Watching a much less talented group develop into an almost play-off contender was most satisfying. Regardless of whether the Heat can keep either Johnson or Waiters(or both), Riley should be able to attract a much, much better alternative to Carmelo to make sure that the Heat build on the progress they made in the second half of the season and become a legitimate playoff contender next year. I saw enough of Carmelo playing with(?) the Knicks in the last few seasons to conclude that he would be the absolutely last addition the Heat should pursue @ this time. No, No!!!”

John Fernandes of Palm Spring likes the direction the Heat are going and does not believe Anthony would be the right fit.

“We don’t need an aging ball hog, that doesn’t play defense,” he said. “Cancer to a team. keep building with new, young players.”

Another reader wrote:

“A trade for Melo would be a disaster. The heat have a very good nucleus and with there first round draft choice they could be in a great position to be very strong in the future.”

Onto Twitter reaction:

From @gfvf1021: who wants the Heat to go after Gordon Hayward. The only problem is Miami has no chance to retaining James Johnson and Dion Waiters and signing Hayward.

“Hell NO…Bring back the squad and shoot for Hayward.”

Fromo @thisisjmp, who still has not gotten over Dwyane Wade’s departure:

    “Should the Heat pay Melo even more money than they refused to pay DWade? I can’t believe that this is even being discussed.”

From @Haracestraman1, a Melo fan who even does not believe he would help the Heat:

    “Love Melo but I don’t think that’s the right move.”

From @larryslater12, who has not been impressed with Melo’s play at the other end of the court:

    “Pat Riley is not interested in a player that don’t play defense at that price.”

From @_michaelberg, who would rather have James Johnson:

 “Nooooooo. Resign johnson n stay away from melo”

Finally, because of his faith in Riley and Spoelstra, @wiiiiigs leaves some wiggle room:

“Immediate reaction is no, but with Spo and Pat track record…”

[If Blake Griffin chooses to become a free agent this summer, should the Heat go after him?]

[If Heat bring back this season’s core, is it good enough to accomplish Pat Riley’s championship goal?]

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Could Danilo Gallinari be an option for Miami Heat in free agency?

Denver’s Danilo Gallinari shoots over Miami’s Rodney McGruder during the Nuggets win in Miami on Sunday. (AP Photo/Joel Auerbach)

MIAMI – Did Heat fans get a glimpse of the future on Sunday?

Denver’s 6-foot-10 wing man, Danilo Gallinari, who dropped 29 on Miami in the Nuggets’ win, is expected to decline his $16.1 million player option this summer and become a free agent. He likely will be second best player at his position behind Utah’s Gordon Hayward.

But is he a viable option if the Heat cannot sign Hayward?

Gallinari, 28, is having his second best scoring season, averaging 17.7 points, a bit under the 19.5 points he averaged in 2015-16. Both years he averaged a little more than five rebounds and two assists per game.

This season though has been his best from the floor since his rookie year with the Knicks, shooting 43.9 percent, 38.4 on threes.

Although those scoring/shooting numbers are not as good as the 6-8 Hayward’s (21.7 ppg, 46.3 percent from the floor, 38.9 on threes), Gallinari defense has been a bit better, holding the players he covers to 41.6 percent, 3.2 percent below their average, compared to Hayward’s minus 2.5.

Defense, though, is neither players’ strong suit, and certainly the weakness in Gallinari’s game. And Denver is one of the worst defensive teams in the league.

[Why is there no Last Two Minute Report for the Heat’s loss to the Nuggets?]

[Heat take Monday off for mental break with playoff fate still uncertain]

If Miami signs Gallinari as the small forward, it would then have to upgrade the defense at power forward, where Luke Babbitt is not expected to return as the starter.

Gallinari can be a matchup nightmare with his size. Just look at Sunday when the Heat were forced to guard him with 6-4 Rodney McGruder for much of game. Gallinari would just rise and shoot over the pesky McGrude. He was 11-of-19 from the floor, 3-of-7 threes.

Gallinari’s strength is his catch-and-shoot game and he can also get to the line, averaging 6.2 free throws per game (Goran Dragic leads the Heat with 5.1 per game). And Gallinari takes advantage of those trips making 90.2 percent of his free throws. The Heat are last in the league at 70.4 percent.

The other downside is Gallinari’s injury history. He averaged 56 games the last two season and has played 59 this year, missing time with a groin strain and a knee injury.

While nobody is saying Gallinari is a better option than the 27-year-old Hayward, he may be a nice second option, especially considering that many believe if Hayward leaves Utah he may prefer to play for his old Butler University coach, Boston’s Brad Stevens.

And Gallinari would be cheaper. While Hayward is expected to receive a max contract starting at $31 million a year, Gallinari likely is in the $20-25 million a year range.

With somewhere around $40 million to spend this summer, the Heat must decide if they want to use at least half of that on what could be the second best wing player on the market.

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Mailbag: What are chances Heat sign Hayward & Ibaka; Would you rather James Johnson or Waiters?

 

 

Miami forward James Johnson shoots over Philadelphia's Richaun Holmes in the Heat's victory Wednesday. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald/TNS)
Miami forward James Johnson shoots over Philadelphia’s Richaun Holmes in the Heat’s victory Wednesday. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald/TNS)

MIAMI – The Heat are expected to enter the offseason with at least $40 million in cap space.

And although this is not a stellar year for free agents, the Heat will be busy looking to upgrade their roster, which brings us to one of our questions for this week’s mailbag.

If you weren’t able to submit a question this week, send your questions for future mailbags via Twitter to @Anthony_Chiang and @tomdangelo44.

From @JasonMOrtiz: what are the chances the Heat can get both Gordon Hayward and (Serge) Ibaka in free agency?

The first issue would if they can afford both considering Hayward is going to get a max contract. But even if they could, the chances are pretty good that Toronto and Ibaka spoke around the time Ibaka was acquired from Orlando and the Raptors received as close to an assurance as possible that he will return. Of course, it go horribly wrong and Ibaka could want out but so far he seems to be fitting in pretty well with the Raptors.

As for Hayward, the seven-year veteran will receive a max contract starting at $31 million. He’s having a breakout year but is Miami willing to use what could be more than 75 percent of their cap space on a player who is solid offensively though not among the elite and average defensively? Additionally, Hayward played for Brad Stevens in college and a reunion with Stevens in Boston may be a stronger possibility.

I would say there is a better chance they get neither than both. As for signing one of the two; I believe Ibaka returns to Toronto and it will come down to if Miami believes Hayward is worth the money and if they do, can they convince him to come to Miami and not go to Boston.

From Anthony in Miami: If you can only pick one to keep this summer, who would you re-sign – Dion or James?

    Both players are having breakout years with Waiters solidly entrenched as the starting shooting guard and averaging 15.9 points (more than 20 in the last six weeks) and James Johnson working himself into Sixth Man of the Year conversation with his versatile play that has him averaging 12.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.1 block.

So, this is difficult to answer because both could be valuable pieces moving forward. Waiters is going to command more money on the open market considering he will be one of the top two or three shooting guards available. That likely will mean a minimum of $15 million a year and maybe closer to $20 million. James will come cheaper but at 30, he is five years older than Waiters. Because of that, and especially if you can get Johnson for around $10 million a year, I would go with Johnson. But that is a tough one to answer and a lot will depend on the other options available to the Heat.

From @nowhitechalk : What did you make of CB’s “staying ready” comments?

Chris Bosh is never going to close the door. Nobody really knows how his health is except those in his inner circle. We heard all last summer how he was cleared by an independent doctor and ready to play and then he failed the Heat’s physical.

I believe this is Bosh just keeping open all of his options. He will not be returning this season, that is certain. Training camp is a long way away and nobody knows what will happen between now and September. Could he return next fall? Sure. But there also is a very good chance he never plays again.

[Miami Heat sets the standard when it comes to balanced scoring]

[Heat guard Dion Waiters questionable for Orlando game because of ankle soreness]

[Okaro White doing whatever it takes for Miami Heat]

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NBA says Heat, not Jazz, were victimized by incorrect non-call at end of Thursday’s game

 

The Jazz have nothing to complain about when it came to the final seconds of Miami's victory Thursday. (AP Photo)
The NBA said the Jazz have nothing to complain about when it came to the final seconds of Miami’s victory Thursday. (AP Photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. – The NBA does not agree with the Utah Jazz.

The league released its Last Two Minute Report on the Heat’s 111-110 victory Thursday over the Jazz and had no issues with the clock management and said the Heat were victimized by a bad non-call in the final second, not the Jazz as the team claimed.

The league found issues with other earlier non-calls that went against each side.

Jazz coach Quin Snyder had to be restrained by his assistants as he chased down official Ed Malloy after Gordon Hayward’s potential game-winner with one second to play bounced off the rim.

The team believed it should have had more than 3.9 seconds on its last possession, which was the time on the clock when Miami lost the ball and Utah called a 20 second time out. Hayward’s shot was rebounded by Utah’s Rudy Gobert, who scored on the put back but after the buzzer sounded. That shot was confirmed by the L2M Report to be late.

The report, though, did not mention an issue with the clock and reviewed three other plays between 3.9 and 2.5 seconds and found no problems.

The Jazz also complained that Utah’s Joe Johnson was fouled by Miami’s Tyler Johnson away from the ball after Hayward released his shot. Not only did the league disagree, they said it was Joe Johnson who held Tyler Johnson.

The league’s explanation: Johnson (UTA) clamp the arm of Johnson (MIA) into his own body during rebounding.

On two earlier incorrect non calls: The review shows Gobert in the paint for longer than three seconds with 1:28 remaining and Heat guard Goran Dragic moved his pivot foot 45.1 seconds to play.

No call was made on either play.

Gobert was the most outspoken in Twitter. He sent out the following tweet following the game:

“It still amazes me that those kind of things happen in the best league in the world…”

The NBA notes it could change its view of any of the calls after further review.

 

Utah Jazz citing two reasons why they believe the Miami Heat’s victory was tainted

 

The Utah Jazz, and coach Quin Snyder, believe the the Heat were aided by the officials in the final seconds of Miami's victory Thursday. (AP Photo)
The Utah Jazz, and coach Quin Snyder, believe the the Heat were aided by the officials in the final seconds of Miami’s victory Thursday. (AP Photo)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz are not accepting the Miami Heat beat them fair and square Thursday.

The Jazz found two reasons to dispute the Heat’s 111-110 win that was secured when Gordon Hayward’s 12-foot pull up bounced off the rim.

The team believes it should have had more than 3.9 seconds on its last possession, which was the time on the clock when Miami lost the ball and Utah called a 20 second time out. The timing becomes an issue because Hayward’s shot came with 1.0 second remaining, according to the official stat sheet, and was rebounded by Jazz center Rudy Gobert, who scored on the put back but just after the buzzer.

Also, the Jazz are claiming forward Joe Johnson was fouled away from the ball by Tyler Johnson. They say the contact occurred after Hayward released the shot but before the buzzer, or during that one second window.

Jazz coach Quin Snyder had to be restrained by two assistants as he approached official Ed Malloy following the game.

Snyder, though, was careful with his words when he spoke to local reporters after the game.

“There was a number of things late in the game that were a little bit confusing,” he said. “We got a shot. Rudy got a put back that was after the buzzer.”

Gobert was more critical … not when asked by the media but on Twitter:

“It still amazes me that those kind of things happen in the best league in the world…” he tweeted.

The controversies was not addressed in the Heat locker room because when reports were speaking to coach Erik Spoelstra and the players nobody even knew there was an issue.

According to the official play-by-play, Hayward missed a potential go-ahead three-point shot with 29.9 seconds to play and James Johnson was credited with the rebound with 27.9 seconds remaining. That would mean the possession ends at 3.9 seconds, which is exactly what the clock showed when Utah gained possession and called a 20 second time out.

But, when Miami took a timeout with 13.2 seconds to play, the 24 second clock showed 8.0 seconds remaining. If the possession started at 27.9 seconds the 24 second clock should have read 9.3 seconds when the Heat took the time out, not 8.0 seconds.

Somehow, the Heat lost 1.3 seconds on the possession.

But since a 24 second violation was not called and Goran Dragic was credited with a turnover in the final seconds, that allows the Jazz to complain that more than 3.9 seconds should have been on the clock when they called the time out.

Except for now they are throwing their own timekeeper under the bus.

Malloy was interviewed by a pool reporter following the game and said the officials had no recourse.

“Yeah, we don’t have a trigger that allows us to look to see if a timeout occurs prior to the expiration of a shot clock,” he said.

As for complaining a foul was overlooked that happened away from the ball with less than a second to play. …

Malloy was asked about it but would not answer.

The NBA will review the final seconds in its Last Two Minute Report.

[Wayne Ellington doing unto others as he used to do unto the Miami Heat]

[Could Stephen Curry be in play for the Miami Heat next summer?]