Heat Mailbag: With Spurs rejecting offers from teams in West for Leonard, could Miami jump in? That & more on summer league

Heat president Pat Riley talks with the media at a season-end press conference on in April. (Photo Tom D’Angelo)

Time for another Miami Heat mailbag

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 tdangelo@pbpost.com.

[RELATED: Photos of the incredible style at the 2018 NBA Draft]

From @royvt: Can Pat Riley take advantage of (the Spurs not listening to any offers from Kawhi Leonard from Western Conference teams)?

Reports surfaced last week that the Spurs won’t even take the Lakers’ calls and won’t consider offers from any team in the West if they ultimately decide to move Leonard.

Of course, this could all be posturing, which nearly everything you hear this time of the year is, and San Antonio’s way to drive up the price for Leonard from the Lakers. But, if San Antonio truly is set on only trading Leonard to a team from the Eastern Conference, and it rejects all offers from Western Conference teams even if they outweigh any from their counterparts in the East, where do the Heat stand?

Knocking out any potential Western Conference teams benefits everybody in the East, but that does not change the Heat’s situation that much. Acquiring Leonard still comes as a big risk for Miami, and every other team, considering he can opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent next season. Even if Miami could put together the most attractive package in the Spurs’ eyes – and that is a big if considering the assets the Celtics and Sixers have – it would risk forfeiting its entire future if it traded Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow and Bam Adebayo and Leonard were to bolt next year.

The other side of this is Leonard can essentially dictate where he is traded by telling any team he will not re-sign with them next summer, which drastically reduces San Antonio’s leverage.

From @AsherWildMan6: Matt Farrell is a true PG. He graduated from Notre Dame and can shoot the three and attacks the hoop. Without knowing how long Dragic is in play as the PG, could Miami have found their PG of the future? Think he either makes the team or can be a PG of this team in 2-3 years playing sparingly this year?

The 6-foot Farrell will join the Heat’s summer league roster as an undrafted free agent after averaging 16.3 points and 5.5 assists his senior year at Notre Dame and being named to the All-ACC third team. He is a solid playmaker with a high basketball IQ but lacks athletic ability and is undersized. He was projected to be taken late in the second round or go undrafted.

As for his possible future with the Heat, that can be better answered after the three weeks of summer league play – Miami will participate in the Sacramento summer league July 2-5 and Las Vegas summer league July 6-17. Even if Farrell has an impressive summer, is invited to fall camp and the Heat like what they see, chances are he would be sent to Sioux Falls, the Heat’s G League developmental team. The Heat have gotten by without a true backup to point guard Goran Dragic the last two years using a variety of players to facilitate offense when Dragic was on the bench, including Justise Winslow, who started playing the position last season. Winslow and Josh Richardson are working more on their ball handling skills this summer but whether that means either will become more of an option at the point, or if the Heat decide to sign a true point guard for next season, remains to be seen.

[2018 Miami Heat Offseason Preview: LeBron James could be on the move again, do the Heat have a chance of bringing him back?]

[Pat Riley is on Twitter, but he does not have a burner account. Let him explain …]

[It’s easy to criticize how Heat have handled (traded) a lot of their recent draft picks, but it’s also easy to justify]

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook page]

Mailbag: Would Heat give up all young talent for Kawhi Leonard without guarantee? That & more on Grizzlies rumors, possible draft day deal

San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard reacts after a basket against the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2017 playoffs. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)

Time for another Miami Heat mailbag

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 tdangelo@pbpost.com.

From @TheSpencerG: If Heat were to get Kawhi how do we stay competitive w/o giving up too much?

Several questions about the possibility of trading for San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard, as you would expect. A couple centered on the price to acquire one of the top five players and arguably best two-way player in the league when healthy.

Everything has been speculation but the most widely reported deal when it comes to the Heat is Miami sending Goran Dragic, Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow and Bam Adebayo to San Antonio for Leonard and Patty Mills. With Leonard set to make $20.1 million and Mills $11.6 million, this deal would work. But what becomes the real gamble, even if both sides agree, is Leonard can opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent next season.

Without a guarantee from Leonard, it’s unlikely the Heat makes this move and gives up their three most valued young assets and the foundation of the future. Even if Miami believed it had a chance to retain Leonard and sign him to a long-term deal, that would have to be predicated on Leonard liking what he sees during the season and believing the Heat are on the cusp of contending. But with a nucleus of Leonard, Mills, Dion Waiters, Kelly Olynyk, Hassan Whiteside, James Johnson, Tyler Johnson, Dwyane Wade (if he returns), and Wayne Ellington (if he re-signs) just how good is this team?

Without some kind of assurance from Leonard, the Heat would have a difficult time pulling the trigger on this deal. But if Miami could get Leonard to commit (and, yes, that still comes with a bit of a gamble), it’s a deal the Heat definitely will think seriously about making.

From @Shadow_Knight3: Should Heat try to take a chance at Parsons which includes the 4th pick of the Draft.

Before answering this question let me say that nothing has been reported of talks between the Heat and Grizzlies. But a variation of one trade has been speculated so we’ll address it.

Memphis reportedly is so desperate to dump Chandler Parsons that they are willing to attach the No. 4 overall pick to a deal. A high price and one that is hard to believe depending on the return. Chandler, a 6-foot-9 small forward, was one of the worst signings of the summer of 2016 (and there were plenty) when Memphis gave him a four-year maximum contract worth $94.8 million. If the numbers sound familiar they should because it’s very close to the deal the Heat gave Whiteside that same summer.

The Parsons signing has been more disastrous for Memphis than the Whiteside signing has been for the Heat. He has played in just 70 games the last two seasons and is averaging 7.1 points,  2.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists while shooting 40.1 percent.

But just how desperate are the Grizzlies to dump that salary and could the Heat jump in to try to steal that pick? The more likely deal would be Parsons for Whiteside straight up. Two bad contracts traded for each other. The other big issue is then what does Memphis do with Marc Gasol, another bad contract, who is due to make 49.7 the next two seasons? And how would that help the Heat? As difficult as it was to watch Whiteside during the playoffs, he has given the Heat much more in the last two seasons than Parson has given the Grizzlies and that would solve nothing when it comes to the Heat’s salary cap situation.

Which means anyone who believes the Grizzlies would take Whiteside’s contract for Parsons and the No. 4 pick is delusional. Memphis is looking to dump a bad contract and does not want one in return. But let’s play along and say Memphis is that desperate, do the Heat have what the Grizzlies want to make the deal? The deal certainly could have to include some combination of Richardson, Winslow and Adebayo. But it is enough for Memphis to give up the chance of drafting Luca Doncic or Jaren Jackson Jr., or Mohamed Bamba or Michael Porter? And do the Heat believe a transformative player will be around at No. 4?

From @GajjarRahi: Who’s your starting SF in the future? Justice or Jrich?

A lot depends on the makeup of the roster but if both players are a part of the future, the Heat would ideally like to see Richardson at shooting guard and Winslow at small forward. But that is a big if with both being valuable trade assets and the Heat looking to upgrade the roster.

From @jphillips19915 Jun 17: Will we make a move Thursday night?

Oh yeah, there is a draft Thursday. Anything is possible as we discussed above with the reports concerning the Grizzlies, but the most likely scenario is Miami possibly obtaining a second-round pick. The tricky part is unless it is for a player, the deal could not be announced until July 1, which is when the Heat would have the money to trade for a pick in the second round.

[Udonis Haslem on LeBron James’ visit to Miami during playoffs: ‘We sat down to eat, is that a crime?’]

[Possible NBA draft rule change could prove costly for Heat]

[The Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes is on. Should the Heat enter the mix?]

[Mailbag: Is there even a realistic way for the Heat to acquire LeBron James?]

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook page]




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

Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade led the Heat to four Finals appearances and two titles. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

MIAMI – The Golden State Warriors have redefined the term “super team” and it is working out pretty good, so far.

The Warriors one upped the Cleveland Cavaliers last summer, adding a fourth All-Star to their roster in Kevin Durant and it has shown this postseason. With two easy victories over the Cavs in the Finals, the Warriors not only are two wins away from their second title in three years, but if they sweep the series, they will complete a 16-0 postseason, becoming the first team in NBA history to sweep four postseason series.

The Warriors and Cavaliers, who were 12-1 during the playoffs before running into Golden State in the Finals, have raised the bar and 28 other teams now are on the chase, including the Miami Heat. Heat captain Udonis Haslem knows the feeling of being on a super team when he played alongside LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade for four years, a period in which the Heat qualified for four Finals and won back-to-back titles in 2012 and ‘13.

The 14-year veteran, though, does not believe it will take the stars aligning just right to make a run at a title. Haslem says a good team with the right attitude can compete with anybody.

“You don’t have to have a super team,” Haslem said Saturday from the Mountain Dew NBA 3-on-3 fan experience at Bayfront Park. “The problem is the majority of the league doesn’t play hard. You’ve got 20 percent of the NBA that does play hard. So when you take a super talented team that actually plays hard and plays the game the right way you get a team like Golden State.

“They’ll be other talented teams. The question is will they play hard like Golden State? Will they play together like Golden State? That’s what separates them from other talented teams. It’s the way they approach the game.”

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

[There won’t be free-agent meetings and uncertainty for Hassan Whiteside this summer, and he’s OK with that]

[Justise Winslow, Udonis Haslem discuss ‘complicated’ Chris Bosh situation]

Forward Justise Winslow is not sure about a super team – “I don’t know how you define it,” he said – but he is sure about one thing. …

“You have to have a great team to get to the Finals,” he said. “I don’t know about a super team, I don’t know how you define it. I don’t know what players have to average or what kind of star they have to be.”

So how far away are the Heat from being mentioned with the Warriors of Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, or even the Cavaliers – the team Miami would have to go through in the Eastern Conference – with James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love?

Miami should have about $38 million to spend in free agency next month. But president Pat Riley and GM Andy Elisburg would have to believe there is one player – one major piece of a super team – worth spending a majority of that money on. Perhaps Clippers power forward Blake Griffin or Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward.

Although he has yet to be an All-Star, the Heat could have the first piece in center Hassan Whiteside, who at least is paid like one with a max deal that is paying him $98 million over four years. In the last two years Whiteside has led the NBA in blocks (2015-16) and rebounding (2016-17). And Whiteside believes Miami is not that far away with players like Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters (if he re-signs) emerging during the second half of the season.

That trio was the foundation to a team that went 30-11 in the second half of last season, which was second-best in the NBA behind Golden State, and missed the playoffs by one game.

Another key piece to that turnaround: forward James Johnson, who, like Waiters, will be a free agent July 1.

“You don’t know what a guy like Dion is going to bring and Goran,” Whiteside said. “Those guys can become superstars themselves. So you might not even have to go get anybody else. It might be enough.

“I think we got a chance next year. I feel like if we would have got into the playoffs (this year), we could have made a lot of noise in there.”

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook page]


Heat president Pat Riley in postseason press conference, ‘I’m pissed off’ about not making playoffs

MIAMI – Heat president Pat Riley spoke to the media today about Miami’s tale-of-two seasons and the future.

Riley, 72, was happy with the progress but made it clear he was not happy with not making the playoffs even after starting 11-30 and finishing 41-41. The Heat then were denied a spot because of losing the tie-breaker to the Bulls.

“I was pissed off,” he said. “I was upset. I hurt for them. We had that opportunity. We got in when you have that opportunity you can’t get back out. … This would have been fun. It would have really validated all the work they put in.”

Heat president Pat Riley offered his thoughts today about the season and Miami’s future. (AP Photo)

More of what Riley had to say in his post-season presser.

On not making the playoffs: “While I feel absolutely great about what happened. All of you who know me, I’m not happy about not being in the playoffs. It was a disappointment. I’m not all goose-bumply and fuzzy-haired. That’s not my makeup.”

On the team’s progress: “I don’t think there is any doubt there were three or four guys who emerged we feel good about. While we’re not in the playoffs we’re ahead of the game.

When asked if he is going after another ‘whale’: “I regret ever making that statement because now it’s out there. … The rules of the CBA will dictate that. A player will really have to come to you.”

Riley then added: “We’re going to focus on our guys. We have found out something about three of these guys. I felt last year they had something but they were never given the platform.”

On making his players a priority this summer: “First things first are to really focus in on our team and we’ll always observe what’s going on in free agency. We do have that flexibility. … I hope that Dion (Waiters) and James (Johnson) and the rest of our free agents like it here enough that we’re going to fair with them and they’ll be fair with us.”

More on Waiters: “We think Dion was more than a sample size with 46 games.” Said he will get better going to the basket and had the ability to be more than a 45 percent shooter. What bothered me is he didn’t shoot 85 percent from the free throw line.”

On Udonis Haslem: “We have 15 roster spots and I hope Udonis fills one of them. He is invaluable.” Added he will have to be on the roster as a player.”

On James Johnson: “He can get better. There’s another level for you efficiency wise at the end of the game. He knows exactly what I’m talking about.”

On if this team along with 14th pick and free agent can compete for a championship: “If you’re looking at Cleveland, Golden State, Houston, San Antonio the top four teams in the league. What happens with the other teams in the Eastern Conference, yes. You have to say to yourself I want to get there as quickly as I can and contend.

“Even if we brought all of these guys back and the 14th pick (and a free agent) you have to ask yourself, ‘Can we get there?’ I don’t know how this summer is going to work out. You don’t have to go whale hunting. I think you can acquire key players via trade.”

Where do the Heat stand with Chris Bosh: “I’m not going to answer that question. That’s being discussed but there’s no resolution to it right now. We don’t have Chris’ services. There isn’t anybody that feels worse for CB than I do. It got a little sideways at the end with feelings. The last three years had to be horrible for him.”

Riley said there has been conversations with the organization and Bosh.

On Erik Spoelstra: “The one night he wanted to drive out to the Rickenbacker bridge, I said, ‘Don’t do it. At 11-30 we had conversations, he had never been there. I think he learned a lot about himself at that time. We were in L.A. I walked into his office and said ‘Just coach ‘em up, man. That’s all you can do.’ And that’s what he did, he coached the hell out of them. … This was his greatest challenge going in.”

On resting players: “It’s become a travesty, an absolute travesty. We don’t rest. We maintain. To blatantly leave people home and not play them I just think is wrong.’

On if he is happy with Hassan Whiteside: “Yes. But there is so much more we need from him … to be a championship center. I do think he has that in him. … I’m proud of him. I’m glad we made him a priority last summer.”

On Justise Winslow: “He is more than a shooter. He’s a player, he’s a warrior, he’s a defender. The guy had a tough, tough ride this year. We’re measuring that guys after like 75 games. That’s so unfair.”

To the media he said, “I wish you would get off his 3-point shooting. I think it’s unfair to him. ”

[Mailbag: How should we view Justise Winslow after two NBA seasons?]

[Despite injury-shortened season, Heat have not forgotten about Justise Winslow’s potential]

[Erik Spoelstra says looking at games Heat were ‘supposed to win’ is ‘uneducated. … lazy’]

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook]

Three things to watch this week: Miami Heat to face two familiar faces

Dwyane Wade and the Heat were all hugs when he returned to Miami last month. (AP Photo)
Dwyane Wade and the Heat were all hugs when he returned to Miami last month. (AP Photo)

The Heat have four games this week starting Tuesday at home against the Knicks before heading back on the road for three more.

But it’s the final two games of the week that will draw the most interest. Miami will face its two most famous alumni on back-to-back nights, traveling to Cleveland Friday to meet LeBron James and the world champion Cavaliers for the first time this season and hopping over to Chicago the next night for their second look this season at Dwyane Wade.

Here are three things to watch.

New look Knicks: The Heat face the Knicks for the first time this season. New York has won three straight and 6-of-8 to climb back over .500 (11-9). The Knicks hope adding veterans Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah to Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis can make them relevant again. The Knicks have been among the most dysfunctional organizations in sports in the last 15 years, having reached the playoffs once while continuing to carry a bloated payroll despite failing time after time to land its targeted free agents. Still, adding Rose and Noah is a short-term fix.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade: The Heat get their first look at James on Thursday since he brought Cleveland a title. James returned to his hometown three years ago after leading the Heat to four consecutive Finals appearances and two titles. He has stretched his streak of playing in the Finals to six consecutive years. Wade will face his old mates for the second time, first in Chicago. Wade was pedestrian in his celebrated return to Miami after spending 13 years with the Heat, scoring 13 points on 5-of-17 shooting. Wade has been a nice complement to leading scorer Jimmy Butler, averaging 19.1 points.

Better health: Miami is coming off a successful 2-1 road trip out West despite being shorthanded. Justice Winslow (wrist) and Dion Waiters (groin) didn’t travel on the trip, Josh Richardson (ankle) also missed all three games and Luke Babbitt (hip) went down in the first quarter of the second game. Winslow has missed 11 games but appears to be the closest among the group to returning. He will go through a hard practice today and could play Tuesday. Babbitt and Richardson are day-to-day while Waiters will be re-evaluated in about 10 days. Miami has yet to play a game this season with its entire roster healthy.

[Off successful road trip, Miami Heat turn focus to winning at home]

[Miami Heat’s Josh McRoberts credits improvement to more time at power forward]

[Miami Heat making progress, but season remains all about development of four young players]

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook page]