Could Sacramento Kings be a landing spot for Heat’s Tyler Johnson?

Miami’s Tyler Johnson reacts during a game against Washington on March 6. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS – With Sacramento looking to add a shooting guard and losing out on their first choice, could the Kings be a landing spot for the Heat’s Tyler Johnson?

The Kings gave restricted free agent Zach LaVine a four-year, $78 million contract offer that the Bulls matched, leaving Sacramento with about $19.5 million in cap space and still looking for an additional shooting guard. Reports then surfaced Sacramento was preparing to pursue Celtics free agent guard Marcus Smart, but that was shot down and no offer has come so far.

The Kings apparently are not giving up, and Tyler Johnson could be a backup plan if nothing else materializes.

Johnson, whose contract is about to spike to $19.25 million in 2017-18 and has two years remaining, would be cheaper than LaVine seeing the annual payout would be about the same but Johnson would have two fewer years on his deal. Johnson grew up about 120 miles south of Sacramento, in the Bay area, and attended college at Fresno State.

Although the Heat have been dormant since July 1, that doesn’t mean Pat Riley isn’t on the phone. The main objective is to clear cap space, which still would benefit Miami this late in the game with free agents Wayne Ellington, Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem still unsigned and reports surfacing the Heat have met with Carmelo Anthony, who will sever ties with Oklahoma City either through a trade, the NBA’s stretch provision or a buyout.

Freeing up $19 million would put the Heat about $1 million below the salary cap but more importantly about $23 million away from the luxury tax threshold, allowing Riley and the Heat more flexibility to bring back their free agents along with having the option to offer minimum or exception money, depending on what they pay Wade, to other players.

Additionally, Miami would fall about $11 million under the 2019-20 projected salary cap of $109 million. The 2019 free agency class is one of the richest in recent history and although $11 million won’t buy a superstar, it does put the Heat closer in case it can move more money or, at the very least, it allows them to add a solid player.

The other benefit to trading Johnson is it helps alleviate the logjam at shooting guard that could include Dion Waiters, Ellington, Wade, Josh Richardson and Rodney McGruder. Richardson, who played shooting guard for most of 2017-18, is expected to start at small forward this season.

The Kings are loaded with youth in the backcourt with three of their top four guards – point guards De’Aaron Fox and Frank Mason III and shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovich – having just one-year in the NBA. Shooting guard Buddy Hield has been in the league two years. Bogdanovich was Sacramento’s second leading scorer last season with 11.8 points per game.

Johnson, who also can fill in at point guard, has played four seasons with the Heat. His scoring slipped to 11.7 point per game last year after averaging 13.7 in 2016-17, when he came off the bench in all 73 games he played.

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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”

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: With no cap space, can Heat turn to trades to improve roster?

Miami Heat NBA basketball team president Pat Riley talks to the media during a season ending press conference in Miami, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald via AP)

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: Can the Heat improve through trades this offseason? We’ll shift to a different question each day leading up to the start of free agency. Continue reading “2018 Miami Heat Offseason Preview: With no cap space, can Heat turn to trades to improve roster?”

Heat offseason Q&A: Tyler Johnson talks about surgically-repaired thumb, his teeth and his impending pay raise

Tyler Johnson. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

MIAMI — Tyler Johnson has a lot going on this offseason.

It started with surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb on April 30, a procedure that’s expected to keep him in a cast for six weeks. In addition, Johnson visited the dentist recently to begin the process of replacing his missing teeth. Continue reading “Heat offseason Q&A: Tyler Johnson talks about surgically-repaired thumb, his teeth and his impending pay raise”

Should Heat take on final year of Carmelo Anthony’s large contract to shed future money?

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

Oklahoma City’s vision of a Super Team was a flop and now the Thunder are looking at a tumultuous summer after being eliminated in six games by the Jazz in the first round of the playoffs.

Russell Westbrook’s five-year, $205 million extension is ready to kick in and the 2016-17 MVP likely is not going anywhere. But the same cannot be said about any of the Thunder’s other stars, and even coach Billy Donovan, whose job could be in jeopardy.

Paul George is entering free agency and his future in OKC is uncertain. But whether George stays or ends up in Los Angeles, the Thunder are stuck with the aging Carmelo Anthony. OKC would like nothing more than for Anthony to decline his player option but someone who turns 34 in a month and is coming off the worst season of his career is not going to turn down $27.9 million.

So then what?

If Anthony remains expect the Thunder to attempt to buy out his deal, similar to what the Bulls did with Dwyane Wade last summer. But, first, OKC may try to get something in return and this is where the Miami Heat could come in.

Miami has its issues with the cap and could be a trade partner for the Thunder. The Heat, though, likely would have to shed long term money to make it worth paying nearly $30 million for one year of a fading star.

With center Steven Adams under contract for three more years and $77.5 million, unless this turns into a blockbuster, including Hassan Whiteside ($25.4 million next season, $27.1 million in 2019-20) in a deal could be difficult.

More realistic would be Miami packaging two contracts, say James Johnson ($14.4 million next season, three years total remaining) and Tyler Johnson ($19.2 million each of the next two years) and take back an additional cheaper contract to make the deal work.

The Thunder, who, like the Heat, already are significantly over the cap next season, would then get two players they could plug in around Westbrook, with James Johnson as their starting power forward and Tyler coming off the bench.

The Heat would get a player with one season left but even in that one year Anthony would probably be their leading scorer. Anthony averaged 22.4 points two seasons ago in New York and believes he has something left. He said as much following the playoffs when he went on a rant on how he was used this season and on his future, most notably telling reporters he was not going to “sacrifice” and come off the bench. “So that’s out of the question,” he said.

“I think everybody knows I’ve sacrificed damn near everything and was willing to sacrifice nearly everything for this situation to work out,” he said. “It wasn’t no strategy to me being here, me being a part of the actual system and what type of player and things like that.

“As far as being effective as that type of player, I don’t think I can be effective as that type of player. I think I was willing to accept that challenge in that role, but I think I bring a little bit more to the game as far as being more knowledgeable and what I still can do as a basketball player.”

Unless Pat Riley has other deals in mind that would make the Heat an instant contender, this would be more about the future while keeping Miami somewhat competitive next season. And, with Wade and Anthony being close, perhaps the thought of playing alongside Anthony would help keep Wade around another year.

Now, if the Heat and Thunder really want to make a splash then they could pull off the mega-deal with the Heat shipping James Johnson, Tyler Johnson and Whiteside to OKC for Anthony and Adams.

That would change the looks of things and solve some cap issues.

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Heat Mailbag: Best trade partner for Whiteside; chances Carmelo end up in Miami

Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade talks with Hassan Whiteside during a game this season. against the Phoenix Suns. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Time for another Miami Heat mailbag. … Postseason edition.

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

    From Joan, Ft. Lauderdale: What team is the best trade partner for a Whiteside deal?

The Heat will be active on the trade front, especially when it comes to Whiteside, whose disappointing season was punctuated with a more disappointing playoffs. Whiteside, though, will be difficult to move because of his contract – two-years and $52.5 million remaining on a four-year, $98 million deal – but Pat Riley might have some options.

The best could be the Milwaukee Bucks, a team that has underachieved and now must win a Game 7 in Boston just to advance out of the first round of the playoffs. The Bucks are talented but lack a true post presence. Milwaukee was last in the league in rebounding with just 39.8 per game and the 7-foot Whiteside led the league in rebounding in 2016-17 with 14.1 per game. The package likely would start with center John Henson, who is due $10.5 million next season and $9.7 million in 2019-20.

A secondary option remains the Suns, the team with the worst defense in the league last year allowing 113.3 points per game. Tyson Chandler was their starting center and will be 36-years-old next season. Next year is the final year of his deal at $13.6 million.

The offers, though, are not expected to come rolling in for a player whose trade value has plummeted. The question is would Miami rather essentially dump Whiteside and back as little as possible just to get out from under his contract or would they want a couple of players who can contribute but cost them more on the cap in the long run?

    From Kevin, Fort Myers: Any chance Carmelo Anthony ends up in Miami?

Ah, the Carmelo conundrum. The Thunder’s so-called Super Team was not so super this season and now they will be forced to break it up, especially if they lose this opening round series to the Jazz and Paul George does not re-sign. Their priority then would be to move Anthony, who will exercise the player option on his $27.9 million salary for 2018-19. One way for the Heat to shed some salary for the future would be to package a couple of long-term contracts for the final year of Anthony’s deal, which would mean insisting on Tyler Johnson – who will make $38.5 million the next two years – be a part of that deal.

As for Whiteside being involved, OKC has Steven Adams, who comes with his own albatross of a contract being owed $77.4 million over the next three years. As for Anthony, his numbers took a dive last season, from 22.4 points per game to 16.2 and has shot just 40.4 percent. And he turns 34 in one month.

[Bam Adebayo plans to work on ‘everything’ this summer after promising rookie season with the Heat]

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[The achievers and the underachievers for the Heat in their series with the 76ers]

[Heat’s Dwyane Wade a finalist for NBA Cares Community Assist Award; voting open to fans]

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The achievers and the underachievers for the Heat in their series with the 76ers

Miami Heat’s Justise Winslow, drives up the court against Philadelphia 76ers’ Robert Covington during the first half of Tuesday’s Game 5 in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

The Miami Heat’s stay in the 2018 playoffs was brief. The Heat were bounced from the postseason by the upstart Philadelphia 76ers in five games in a series that was both one-sided and competitive, depending on which half you are referencing.

While the Heat either led or were tied at halftime of all five games, the Sixers outscored them by an average of 15.6 points in the second half of the five games.

Not the recipe to win in the postseason.

The Heat, like every team, can look back and point to some things that worked and some that didn’t.

So, we bring you the achievers and the underachievers for the Heat in this series.


    Justise Winslow: Winslow has been a maligned player throughout his career in Miami, many wanting for more from a No. 10 overall pick in the 2015 draft. He was trending in the right direction the last couple of months of the season and continued that direction in this series.

Winslow averaged 9.8 points and 6.6 rebounds. He didn’t shoot well (.357) but he left an imprint on every game, especially the Heat’s Game 2 win when his defense overshadowed in 2-point performance. And just as importantly he played with confidence and aggressiveness, showing an ability to knock down the 3-pointer, though not settling for the outside shot, and attacking the rim. That said, are the Heat now more apt to trade the 6-foot-7 forward or do they view him as a more important piece to their future?

Dwyane Wade: This goes without saying. Some believe this was Wade’s swan song after 15 seasons but that is something we will not know for months. What we do know is Wade proved he still can play and could be an important piece both on the court and as a locker room leader if he decides to return for a 16th season.

Wade’s value to this team since returning Feb. 8 was huge. He became the centerpiece to a solid bench and made the most of his limited minutes, especially in crunch time. He had two vintage performances in the series – 28 points in Game 2 and 25 points in Game 4 – and finished as the Heat’s second leading scorer behind Goran Dragic, averaging 16.6 points while chipping in with 4.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists.

Others who had their moments: Dragic led the Heat with 18.6 points and added 4.6 assists per game. And while his scoring was important for a team that at times found it difficult to score, the Sixers shut him down the fourth quarter of the entire series, limiting him to just 10 points in the five fourth quarters combined.

James Johnson was active, aggressive and he relied on his versatile skills give the Heat some offense. Johnson averaged 12.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.8 assists, while shooting 54.8 percent. The biggest disappointment was his defense, allowing Ben Simmons to shoot 58.3 percent against him.


    Hassan Whiteside: You can’t start the list of players who were non-factors in this series with anybody other than the Heat’s embattled 7-foot center. Whiteside averaged 5.2 points and 6.0 rebounds while logging just 15.4 minutes per game. And while some would blame coach Erik Spoelstra for giving up on Whiteside, the truth is throughout much of the season Whiteside never gave Spoelstra any reason to trust him. Twice in this series, including the Sixers’ Game 5 clincher on Tuesday, Whiteside came out early in the second half and never returned.

Now the Heat have a serious issue moving forward. Their highest paid player – Whiteside is due $52.5 million the next two years, the final two of the $98 million deal he signed two summers ago – is unhappy and is not shy about venting his frustration through the media – he was fined once by the organization this season for doing so – but his value on the trade market is at an all-time low.

Wayne Ellington: The Heat’s long-distance threat had a terrific season setting the franchise record for 3-pointers in a season (227) and the NBA mark for the most threes while playing as a reserve (218).

But Ellington never could get on a roll in the playoffs and although he shot 40 percent on threes he really was a non-factor. Ellington made 12 threes in the series, but just one coming in the fourth quarters, which the Sixers controlled the entire series. Wade said before Game 5 his biggest disappointment as the leader of the second team was never being able to get Ellington on a roll in the series.

Team defense: The Heat lean on their defense as the centerpiece of their culture. But that defense certainly let them down in this series. Miami’s surrendered 114.2 points per game and had a defensive rating of 109.6 in the five games compared to giving up 102.9 points with a rating of 104.0 during the regular season.

The Heat allowed the two highest scoring games in their playoff history, 130 in the opener and 125 in Game 3, while Philadelphia converted 18 3-pointers in each game. And the Sixers blitzed Miami for 74 points in the second half of that Game 1 blowout. Philadelphia had four players shoot at least 50 percent in the series.

Other disappointments: Tyler Johnson played hurt after injuring his thumb early in Game 3 but Miami needed more than six points per game from their starting shooting guard, especially with Whiteside struggling. Whiteside, Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson combined to give Miami fewer than 20 points per game.

The Sixers led the league in rebounding during the regular season but the Heat were pounded on the boards the entire series. Philadelphia had a 250-205 rebounding edge for the series, including 18 more offensive rebounds. That advantage led to the Sixers totaling 81 second chance points.

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Why did the Heat’s season end in the first round of the playoffs? A look at the reasons

Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers fights through Kelly Olynyk #9 and James Johnson #16 of the Miami Heat at Wells Fargo Center on April 24, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Miami’s playoff run didn’t last long.

The Heat enter the offseason after being eliminated in five games in the first round by the Sixers. Philadelphia earned the series-clinching win Tuesday.

Here’s why the Sixers ended the Heat’s season … Continue reading “Why did the Heat’s season end in the first round of the playoffs? A look at the reasons”

Heat mailbag: Does Whiteside have trade value? Who starts Game 5 if Richardson cannot play?

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)

PHILADELPHIA – Time for another Miami Heat mailbag. … Playoff edition.

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

From @shanethompson: After such a bad season will Hassan Whiteside carry any real trade value for the Heat? Or will Spo and Whiteside eventually have to make this work?

Whiteside’s trade value is at an all-time low. The Heat’s highest paid player is due $52.5 million the next two years, the final two of the $98 million deal he signed two summers ago. And while that value declined this season it has nosedived during the playoffs as he is averaging just 6.0 points and 6.3 rebounds in the first four games against the Sixers.

But that does not mean Pat Riley will give up on trying to move the 7-footer. Whether it takes adding a sweetener to the deal – perhaps Josh Richardson or Justise Winslow – or taking back another team’s disgruntled high-priced player or even a bad contract, the Heat will do all it can to trade Whiteside. And it might even mean just packaging him for the purpose freeing up some cap space. But Miami would have to trade more than just Whiteside to gain any significant money seeing it enters the summer about $17 million over the cap.

As for Whiteside and coach Erik Spoelstra co-existing, you make a great point. My feeling is the last thing Spoelstra wants is another year of dealing with Whiteside’s inconsistent play and his immaturity especially Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk capable of filling that hole, more reason for Riley to do everything he can to move on from Whiteside.

From @ChrisHypeTrain: What happens if Josh Richardson cannot play in Game 5?

The Heat are listing Richardson as questionable for  tonight’s do-or-die game in Philadelphia because of a sprained left shoulder. My gut says Richardson will play and if he plays he will start.

But let’s look at a couple of scenarios. If Richardson cannot play then Spoelstra has a decision to make with his starting lineup. Does he start Rodney McGruder for his defense or does he break up that second unit he has been going to late in the first quarter by starting either Wayne Ellington or Justise Winslow? But there is one more possibility here. Tyler Johnson has not played well and regardless of Richardson’s status, we may see a change in the starting lineup. If Richardson can go, I think McGruder would be the choice if Spoelstra decides to bench Tyler. If Richardson is out, we still could see McGruder in the starting lineup along with either Ellington or Winslow.

[2018 NBA playoffs: 76ers know what to expect from Miami Heat in Game 5]

[Mailbag: What adjustments can Heat make vs. Sixers in Game 5?]

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