LeBron James on Douglas High shooting: ‘How is it possible that we can have minors buy a gun?’

Cleveland’s LeBron is introduced for for the upcoming 2018 NBA All-Star game during practice (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES – When asked about the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in which 17 people were killed, former Heat star LeBron James had one question:

“How is it possible that we can have minors go buy a gun?”

James, the Cavaliers superstar, and other players with ties to South Florida could not make sense of the tragedy in which a former student returned to the high school on Wednesday, killed 14 students and three teachers and wounded several others. He was arrested shortly after in the area.

The players were asked about the shooting during Saturday’s media day for All-Star Weekend.

“We have a kid who wasn’t legally unable to buy a beer at a bar, but he can go buy an AR-15?” James said “It doesn’t make sense. I’m not saying it should be legal for him to go buy beer. But how is it possible that we can have minors go buy a gun?”

Heat guard Wayne Ellington, who was fourth in Saturday’s 3-point contest, said the nation has to “come together” to makes changes so these mass shootings do not continue to occur. The shooting was the ninth deadliest mass shooting in modern US history, five of those coming in the last six years.

“I was at a loss for words,” Ellington said. “I couldn’t understand what’s going on, why (this) is going on in the world. Do we need to change? These young people doing unexplainable things, hurting each other and hurting innocent people it’s so unfortunate and sad, it’s something I don’t know how we can change but it’s something we need to come together and figure out.”

John Collins, the Atlanta Hawks rookie who graduated from Cardinal Newman High School, was calling home to try to understand what was happening.

“It was a real shock to me,” said Collins, who played in Friday’s Rising Stars Challenge. “Obviously, I never expected something like that to happen. I know a couple of people that were affected by that tragedy. You got to say your prayers and sending your condolences and thoughts to the victims.”

James, though, was the most outspoken in calling for gun control.

“We’ve seen these schools and these tragedies happen in America and there’s been no change to gun control,” said James, who will play in tonight’s All-Star Game at the Staples Center. “I don’t have the answer to this. But we have to do something about it. We’re all sending our kids to school right? We drop them off at 8 o’clock. At 3:15 they’re going to be ready to get picked up. Either we’re picking them or someone in our family is picking them up or they have to take a bus or there’s aftercare and they stay until 5. If they have study hall they stay until 5:30 or whatever. But we all feel like our kids are going to return, right?

“To the families in Parkland, down in Broward County, it’s sad and I’m sorry and it’s just a tragedy and I hope we don’t continue to see this because it’s too many in the last 10 years with guns.”

[Heat guard Goran Dragic on what he’ll do when All-Star Game turns into dunk contest: ‘Pass the ball’]

[If Cleveland’s Kevin Love has any animosity toward Dwyane Wade he’s not showing it]

[Ray Allen made biggest shot in Heat history and now is a Hall of Fame finalist; Tim Hardaway not on list]

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What to know about tonight’s matchup: Injury-depleted Heat look to continue hot stretch vs. Hawks


When: Monday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta

TV/Radio: Fox Sports Sun/WAXY 790AM, WAQI 710AM (Spanish)

Records: Miami 15-14, Atlanta 6-23

Line: Heat favored by 1 point

Miami Heat guard Josh Richardson drives against Atlanta Hawks center Miles Plumlee during the second quarter of an NBA preseason basketball game on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017 at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Fla. (David Santiago/Miami Herald/TNS)



F: Josh Richardson

F: Bam Adebayo

C: Kelly Olynyk

G: Dion Waiters

G: Tyler Johnson


F: Taurean Prince

F: Ersan Ilyasova

C: Miles Plumlee

G: Kent Bazemore

G: Dennis Schroder

Scouting report: Center Hassan Whiteside (left knee bone bruise), forward James Johnson (right ankle bursitis), forward Justise Winslow (strained left knee) and guard Goran Dragic (sore left elbow) will miss Monday’s game. The Heat will also be without swingman Rodney McGruder (left tibia surgery) and forward Okaro White (left foot surgery), who are both out indefinitely. Guard Dion Waiters will play despite an illness. … The Hawks own the NBA’s worst record and enter on a four-game losing streak. … Point guard Dennis Schroder leads Atlanta with team-high averages in points (19.7) and assists (6.7). … Hawks rookie forward John Collins, who attended Cardinal Newman High in West Palm Beach, is averaging 11.3 points and 7.1 rebounds this season. … Atlanta ranks fifth in the league in 3-point shooting percentage at 38.3. … Heat small forward Josh Richardson is averaging 15.8 points on 55.1 percent shooting from the field and 53.1 percent shooting from 3-point range over his last 10 games. … Miami has won four of its past five games, and have posted the league’s second-best defensive rating during this five-game stretch. … The Heat defeated the Hawks 104-93 in Miami on Oct. 23 in their first matchup of the season.

[Heat forward James Johnson diagnosed with right ankle bursitis; expected to miss 7 to 10 days]

[Doc Rivers on Heat’s ‘unassuming’ Erik Spoelstra: ‘The greatest coach that no one knows’]

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Mailbag: Did the Miami Heat make a mistake drafting Bam Adebayo?

Heat rooked Bam Adebayo shoots a foul shot during a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at American Airlines Arena last month. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS – Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has settled into a nine-man rotation of late with James Johnson, Tyler Johnson, Kelly Olynyk and Wayne Ellington receiving the majority of the minutes off the bench.

That leaves little floor time for rookie Bam Adebayo, the Heat’s first-round pick. Did Miami make a mistake selecting the 6-foot-10 big man from Kentucky? We answer that and more in our latest Heat mailbag.

If you weren’t able to ask a question this time, send your questions for future mailbags via Twitter to @tomdangelo44 and @Anthony_Chiang. You can also e-mail me at tdangelo@pbpostcom.

From @AsherWildMan6: Looking back should the Heat have spent their first round pick on John Collins?

The Heat selected Adebayo with their first pick, 14th overall. Collins, the former Wake Forest star who played at Cardinal Newman High in West Palm Beach, was taken five spots later by the Hawks. Several mock drafts had the 6-10 Collins coming to Miami as many believed he’d be a nice fit for reasons that Asher mentioned: He is an above average scorer who could have filled a need with the Heat at power forward.

But it is easy this early to say that because Collins is averaging 11.8 points and 7.8 rebounds and playing 23.1 minutes per game as opposed to Adebayo’s 3.5 points and 3.6 rebounds in 12.3 minutes per game he would have been a better pick for Miami.

The Heat are overloaded with centers with Hassan Whiteside, Kelly Olynyk, Adebayo and Jordan Mickey. And they have run through several starting power forwards before settling on Justise Winslow. And although it appears as if Adebayo has been slow to develop, I would give it time before saying the Heat made a mistake.

Adebayo, 20, has shown glimpses of what the Heat saw during his freshman year and workouts, especially during his season-high 31-minute outing against Minnesota when he had his only double-double with 13 and 13. Adebayo is as raw as any of the players taken in the top 20 of last year’s draft and when he’s on the court you can see the potential of someone who could be a solid NBA player for a long time. He is athletic, moves well around the basket and certainly knows how to finish when he receives a lob pass. And Adebayo is way ahead of Collins on the defensive end.

Even if Collins were drafted by the Heat, it doesn’t mean he’d be starting or playing nearly as much as he is with the Hawks, with one reason being his defense. But Collins is in a great situation as a young player on a team that is rebuilding and willing to play a rookie heavy minutes. I am not sure that Collins would be playing much more than 12 minutes a game if he were in Miami with Winslow and James Johnson receiving the bulk of the minutes at power forward.

From Jean, Boynton Beach: How big is this road trip coming up for the Heat? How important is it for them to stay around .500?

Before anything else, the Heat are searching for consistency and that is the reason this trip, which starts tonight in Minneapolis and continue with games in Chicago, Cleveland and New York, takes on additional meaning.

The Heat’s last four games are a snapshot of the season: Wins against the Wizards on the road and at home over the Celtics, who have the best record in the NBA; and home losses to Washington and by 25 points to the Pacers.

“Right now, it’s all behavior and habits,” Spoelstra said after the victory over Boston. “So, the test will be what we do for the next 48 hours. Guys really brought a purity to the work, a focus, a discipline the last two days and we got after it. It was training-camp level practices, but you’re not always able to do that during the course of the season, and snap into attention. So all those little things, that’s what I want to see. … It’s all about our behavior, our habits, our consistency, with all that before you even get to the final result.”

As long as Miami remains around .500 through a difficult month-long stretch of 14-of-19 games on the road – with three of those home games against Washington, Boston and Golden State – it should be OK. The Heat then have an opportunity to start pushing that record above .500 starting in the middle of December.


[Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters asked Hassan Whiteside to set better screens. Message received … and fulfilled]

[Short-term memory helps Heat’s Mr. Clutch – Dion Waiters – sink Celtics in final three minutes]

[How intense were Heat’s practices leading up to win vs. Celtics? Dragic called them ‘toughest practices’ in his career]

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Former Cardinal Newman standout John Collins plays first NBA preseason game in front of family, friends in Miami

MIAMI — John Collins has visited AmericanAirlines Arena many times as a fan. But he visited the arena Sunday for the first time as an NBA player.

The former Cardinal Newman basketball standout and current Hawks power forward kicked off the preseason with a game against the Heat on Sunday in Miami. Collins was impressive with nine points, 15 rebounds in 20 minutes of action.

It was a totally different experience than when he attended games at AmericanAirlines Arena to root on the Heat.

“I’ve been here too many times watching and now I’m actually going to be playing here,” Collins said before Sunday’s contest. “We play here two times a year during the regular season. That’s a surreal feeling. I don’t even know how to put words on that one.” Continue reading “Former Cardinal Newman standout John Collins plays first NBA preseason game in front of family, friends in Miami”

Derek Harper, Otis Thorpe to be joined by John Collins as Palm Beach County’s only first round picks in NBA draft

Former North Shore High standout Derek Harper was drafted 11th overall in 1983 by the Dallas Mavericks.(Getty Images)

When it comes to high school basketball, 1979-80 was a pretty good year for Palm Beach County.

At the south end a long, lanky big man named Otis Thorpe was catching the eye of college scouts at Lake Worth High School. Farther north, a steady, all-around guard named Derek Harper was leading North Shore High to a state championship.

After both forged college careers – Thorpe at Providence and Harper at Illinois – in which they were named first-team all-conference and garnered All-American mention, they became the first area players to be chosen in the first round of the NBA draft.

Harper, who left Illinois after his junior season, was the 11th overall pick of the 1983 draft by the Dallas Mavericks.

Otis Thorpe, who starred at Lake Worth High, was the ninth overall pick in the 1994 NBA draft. (Getty Images)

Thorpe remains the highest drafted player in county history, going to the Kansas City (now Sacramento) Kings in 1984 with the ninth overall pick.

Harper and Thorpe should have company Thursday as former Cardinal Newman High standout John Collins is expected to be drafted in the middle of the first round.

Collins, a 6-foot-9 power forward, played two seasons at Wake Forest and emerged this season, finishing runner-up in the ACC Player of the Year voting and being named the conference’s Most Improved Player. He is projected to go as high as No. 13 to the Denver Nuggets and some mock drafts have him being taken 14th by the Miami Heat, the team he rooted for while growing up in West Palm Beach.

“I remember hearing my name called, I remember falling on my knees,” Harper said Wednesday recalling the night he was drafted. “It sticks out to me, ‘Oh my God, this is really happening.’

“If I had to pick one word, ‘excited.’ Excited as heck. I’m sure he’s going through the same thing right now.”

Harper and Thorpe, who are members of the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame,  made up 40 percent of the 1980 Palm Beach Post All-Area team. Harper, the player of the year, averaged 27.0 points per game with Thorpe tossing in 20.0 per game.

Sixteen years later, Harper and Thorpe would face each other in the NBA Finals where Thorpe’s Rockets defeated Harper’s Knicks in seven games. The two developed a bond that started on the playgrounds of Palm Beach County and continued during their days in the NBA. But as anyone who has ever been around Thorpe knows, Thorpe was very difficult to get to know.

“A very shy guy, it’s like pulling teeth to try to get him to befriend you,” Harper said. “Otis has always been a stoic guy, a guy who was very comfortable in his skin and let his game do the talking.

“I admire him in the way of him being his own man, being comfortable enough to be himself.”

At Illinois, Harper was named first-team All-Big Ten and second team All-American as a junior in 1983 and decided to get a jump start on his NBA career.

Harper had a 16-year professional career, the first 11 with Dallas before he was acquired by the Knicks, and coach Pat Riley, during the 1994 season.

When he left Dallas, Harper was the franchise’s all-time leader in assists, steals and 3-point baskets. He became the first Mavericks player to be named to an NBA All-Defense team, earning second team honors in 1987 and 1990.

In New York, Harper made an immediate impact as the starting point guard, helping the Knicks reach those 1994 Finals. Harper led the Knicks with 6.0 assist while averaging 16.3 points in the Finals. Thorpe led the Rockets with 11.3 rebounds and averaged 9.3 points.

Although he makes his home in the Dallas area, Harper frequently comes back to Palm Beach Country and in 1987 he became a sponsor of a high school basketball tournament played each December at Palm Beach Lakes High School.

Thorpe starred for three seasons at Providence College, earning first team All-Big East honors his senior year after averaging 17.1 points and 10.3 rebounds.

Thorpe played 17 seasons in the NBA and was an All Star in 1991-92 with the Rockets. He played for eight different franchises, including 51 games with the Miami Heat in 1999-00.

In Houston, Thorpe teamed with center Hakeem Olajuwon to help lead the Rockets to that title over the Knicks. He was traded before Houston’s 1995 championship.

Thorpe, who lives in the Austin, Texas, area, was honored by the Rockets in February as part of the franchise’s 50th anniversary celebration.

The 1980 Palm Beach Post All-Area high school basketball team with Derek Harper (center) and Otis Thorpe (lower right).

[Tom D’Angelo’s 2017 NBA mock draft 2.0: Miami Heat eyeing player drawing some comparisons to Dwyane Wade]

[Anthony Chiang’s 2017 NBA mock draft 2.0: Who will be available for the Heat at No. 14?]

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Mailbag: Could the Miami Heat trade the 14th pick and come out of the draft with zero or multiple players?

Heat president Pat Riley, shown here with coach Erik Spoelstra, has proven he’s open to do anything with his first round draft pick.(Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

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 Los Angeles Lakers are attempting to acquire another lottery pick and who knows how many more would like to move into the top 14.

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.

[Tom D’Angelo’s 2017 NBA mock draft: Best case scenario falling to Miami Heat]

[Anthony Chiang’s 2017 NBA mock draft: Should Heat spend another first-round pick on a small forward?]


Collins, Giles, Jackson, Kennard, Mitchell leading way among players projected to be picked by Heat at No. 14


Duke’s Luke Kennard shoots during an NCAA tournament game in March against South Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The NBA draft is five days away and the mock drafts still are all over the place when it comes to the Miami Heat’s pick at No. 14.

A look at 15 different mock drafts shows nine different players projected to be selected by the Heat, with five listed at least twice.

The names that come up most often: Wake Forest power forward John Collins, Duke power forward Harry Giles, North Carolina small forward Justin Jackson, Duke shooting guard Luke Kennard and Louisville shooting guard Donovan Mitchell.

The Heat have worked out all five players. Collins, from West Palm Beach, told the Palm Beach Post “it was definitely one of the moments I’ll never forget.” The former Cardinal Newman High standout grew up a big Heat fan.

Here is a closer look at the five players most often linked to the Heat:

John Collins, Wake Forest, 6-10, 225, 19 years old: Collins emerged last season, his second at Wake and second under coach Danny Manning. He averaged 19.2 points and 9.8 rebounds, was named the ACC’s most improved players and was runner-up to Jackson as player of the year. He is more of an inside player (he did not attempt a 3-point shot in his two years in college) with power and skill. He said at the NBA combine in Chicago he has been working on his outside shot.

Harry Giles, Duke, 6-9, 232, 19 years old: Giles would be a risk-reward pick. He is considered the big man with the most upside in the draft but the risk is his history of knee injuries. He has torn the ACL in both knees, torn an MCL and had arthroscopic surgery on his knee just before his only season in college, limiting him to 11.5 minutes per game in 26 games. He averaged 3.9 points and 3.8 rebounds. Giles, who had the biggest hands at the combine, was considered one of the top two players in the country a year ago coming out of high school.

Justin Jackson

Justin Jackson, North Carolina, 6-8, 201, 22 years old: A rare player who remained in college for three years and it paid off by winning the ACC player of the year. Jackson’s scoring improved each year from 10.7 to 12.2 to 18.3. But his shooting percentage dropped from 47.7 to 46.6 to 44.3. His 3-point shooting did improve though, peaking last season at 37.0 percent as he helped North Carolina to the NCAA title. He has length and a scorer’s mentality with the ability to put up points from inside the paint and from the perimeter.

Luke Kennard, Duke, 6-5, 196, 20 years old: Kennard has been rising on the draft boards, with many mocks projecting him to be taken in the 10 to 12 range. He has been among the top shooters in the country during his two years at Duke, finishing at 52.7 percent overall, and he has terrific range. Last season he averaged 19.5 points and shot 52.7 percent from the floor including 43.8 percent on threes.

Donovan Mitchell, Louisville, 6-3, 211, 20 years old: Mitchell, like Collins, emerged in his second season increasing his scoring from 7.4 points per game to 15.6 and his rebounding from 3.4 per game to 3.2. His shooting, though, has been erratic at 41.8 in his career. But defense is the reason Mitchell has been rising on the draft boards with a 6-10 wingspan to supplement his quickness and athletic ability. Mitchell, an ACC first-team All-Defense pick, averaged 2.1 steals.

Other players projected to be drafted by the Heat at No. 14 include: Zack Collins, a 7-0, 230-pound freshman center from Gonzaga; Ike Anigbogu, a 6-10, 250-pound freshman power forward from UCLA, Lauri Markkanen, a 7-0, 230-pound power forward from Arizona and OG Anunoby, a 6-0, 235-pound small forward from Indiana.

[Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning were top two picks of draft and adversaries 25 years ago; today they are true friends]

[Miami Heat mailbag: Are there any players like James Johnson or Dion Waiters out there to sign this year?]

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Ex-Cardinal Newman F John Collins on his Heat workout: ‘One of the moments I’ll never forget’

John Collins #20 of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons gestures to the crowd during the final seconds of a win against the Louisville Cardinals at the LJVM Coliseum Complex on March 1, 2017. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

MIAMI — John Collins is in the middle of a very busy time.

The former Cardinal Newman basketball standout has traveled around the country to work out for the Kings, Lakers, Nuggets, Trail Blazers, Pistons, Bulls and Hornets during this busy evaluation process leading up to the June 22 NBA draft. But Wednesday’s workout for the Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena felt a little different. Continue reading “Ex-Cardinal Newman F John Collins on his Heat workout: ‘One of the moments I’ll never forget’”

ESPN’s Chad Ford: Zach Collins, John Collins, Harry Giles are three strong contenders to be Heat’s first-round pick

Zach Collins #32 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs reacts in the second half against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2017 NCAA Men’s Final Four National Championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium on April 3, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

MIAMI — There’s still two weeks of conversation to be had between now and the June 22 NBA draft.

But with the NBA combine and some pre-draft workouts already behind us, mock drafts are being recalibrated to account for new information. In ESPN NBA draft expert Chad Ford’s latest mock draft published on Tuesday, the Heat are projected to select Gonzaga center/power forward Zach Collins with the 14th overall pick. Continue reading “ESPN’s Chad Ford: Zach Collins, John Collins, Harry Giles are three strong contenders to be Heat’s first-round pick”

Mailbag: Who are the Miami Heat’s biggest competitors for free agent Dion Waiters?


Will another team make Heat guard Dion Waiters and offer he cannot refuse? (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The Miami Heat have said they want him back. And guard Dion Waiters certainly has sent out strong signals he would like to return.

But will it happen?

That not only depends on the Heat’s offer but what other teams think of Waiters, and if anybody makes him an offer he cannot refuse.

Who could that be? We answer that and more in today’s Heat 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 @SrMayo1: Do you see any teams with a big enough need at the 2 to offer (Dion Waiters) $18 million plus?

Even if the market is that high for Waiters (my guess is closer to $15 million a year), two teams come to mind:

The Lakers are overhauling their backcourt. They could take point guard Lonzo Ball with the second overall pick and shooting guard Nick Young, who has been shopped the last few years, is expected to decline his player option for $5.6 million and become a free agent. Add to that the Lakers will have about $24 million in cap space and, most importantly, Waiters’ former agent, Rob Pelinka, is the Lakers new general manager. Pelinka is in a interesting situation. After having spent years trying to convince teams to pony up for his clients, now he will be trying to make deals with some of those same players to come to L.A. for less money than they’ll be seeking. But if Magic Johnson likes the idea of a Ball-Waiters backcourt it just might happen.

Philadelphia likely will be the only team with more money to spend than the Heat. The Sixers need help in the backcourt, are looking to boost their 3-point shooting and Waiters is from Philadelphia, having been born and raised there. J.J. Redick has been linked to the Sixers. Although Redick, 32, is seven years older than Waiters, Philadelphia reportedly is seeking more of a veteran presence in the backcourt, a player who has playoff experience. But if Redick is looking for a better situation the Sixers could make a run at Waiters.

From @AsherWildMan6: with the way teams want bigs that can shoot, how come John Collins from Wake doesn’t get much love for Heat pick? 6-10 forward that has proven to be a scorer. I’m not saying he is Draymond, but with McRoberts back, he can also play back up center and add the element of outside shooting which Whiteside does not have. Also assuming Reed walks.

A few mock drafts had Collins going to the Heat early but some have backed off and now only Bleacher Report is sticking to that projection. UCLA’s T.J. Leaf, Indiana’s OG Anunoby and Duke’s Harry Giles now appear to be the more popular choices for the Heat. And many see how Luke Babbitt stretched the floor as the starting power forward last year and think Leaf is a better fit because of his outside shooting. Collins still is in the mix but been showing up in the 15-18 range more.

Also, I think a lot depends on who the Heat are more confident in re-signing among James Johnson and Waiters as to whether they draft a wing or a power forward. If they are confident they can sign both I believe they will pick the player they believe is the best among those from those two positions.

[South Florida is paying attention to the 2017 NBA Finals. A look at the numbers …]

[Do Heat need another ‘super team’ to compete with Warriors and Cavaliers? Udonis Haslem says, ‘No’]

[Will Dion Waiters give the Heat a hometown discount in free agency? Waiters didn’t rule it out]

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