2018 Free Agency Primer: We bring you the top five players at each position

LeBron James speaks to the media after Cleveland was swept by Golden State in the NBA Finals. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Free agency starts at 12:01 Sunday. Barring any significant trades that allow them to shed salaries, the Miami Heat lack cap space to become a major player this summer.

More than 125 players are free to sign with any team, although several are restricted. Here is our list of the top players at this time at each position.


Chris Paul, Houston: The Rockets will try to find a way to bring back Paul – he can sign for $205 million over five years – and add LeBron James or Paul George.

Isaiah Thomas, Lakers: Thomas’ timing could not have been worse. He insists he is a max player but he won’t get close to that after a season in which his production fell and questions still persist about his hip.

Rajon Rondo, New Orleans: Rondo is no longer the player he was in Boston but he has rehabilitated his image in Chicago and New Orleans and continues to be a solid floor general.

Elfrid Payton, Phoenix: The Suns acquired Payton from Orlando at the trade deadline hoping he would be their point guard of the future. Not so and they are moving on from Payton.

Fred Van Vleet, Toronto (R): Van Vleet had a breakout year last season, his third in the league and will receive a nice pay raise from the $1.3 million he made in 2017-18.


Zach LaVine, Bulls (R): LaVine returned from ACL surgery and looked good in his half season in Chicago. If teams are not scared off by the injury he could get close to the max.

Tyreke Evans, Memphis: Evans had a solid year averaging 19.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists. At 28 he is looking at his last big contract.

Will Barton, Denver: An underrated player who has steadily improved the last four seasons had his best season heading into free agency. Mostly a reserve but proved last season he can be productive starting.

JJ Redick, Philadelphia: Redick made the most of his one-year, $23 million deal with the 76ers, averaging 17.1 points. Now, he is on the market again.

Marcus Smart, Boston: Smart has been a valuable reserve for the Celtics the last two years and helped his cause in the playoffs. One of the top defensive guards in the league.


LeBron James, Cleveland: Everything is on hold until James decides where he is headed – he first must decline his player option for $35.6 million. The Lakers appear to be in the lead but the Cavaliers are holding out hope he returns.

Kevin Durant, Golden State: Durant is expected to decline his player option for $26.2 million after signing a two-year deal last summer and re-signing with the Warriors. Durant said he’s ready to ink a long-term deal.

Paul George, Oklahoma City: The Thunder were hoping to retain George after the gamble it took last summer to trade for him and put together a team that could compete for a title. George opted out and will field offers, which doesn’t look good for OKC.

Trevor Ariza, Houston: The Rockets will make an attempt to somehow land James but that will take creativity and certainly would mean losing Ariza. Otherwise, the Rockets are in play.

Rudy Gay, San Antonio: Gay declined his player option for $8.8 million to test free agency for a second consecutive season. He averaged 11.5 points and 5.1 rebounds in his one year in San Antonio.


Aaron Gordon, Orlando (R): Gordon is going to get paid – he is seeking a max deal – and the Magic have a big decision as to whether they match an offer to keep him, let him go or try to work out a sign-and-trade.

Julius Randle, Lakers (R): Randle’s future is as murky as anybody’s on the market depending on what happens in L.A. The Lakers are trying to land some combination of LeBron, Leonard and Paul George – or even all three – and how it unfolds will determine whether Randle returns.

Derrick Favors, Utah: Favors is an under-the-radar free agent who will be a nice pickup for somebody if he leaves Utah. The Jazz want him back but his future will have everything to do with how much money is left after the big names move.

Jabari Parker, Milwaukee (R): Parker struggled this season playing just 31 games after returning from a torn ACL. Not sure the Bucks are eager to give him a large contract which could limit his offer on the open market.

Montrezl Harrell, Clippers: Another underrated player who played an important role on the Clippers after being acquired last summer in the Chris Paul trade. An explosive player with great energy who is a tough matchup at 6-8. Can also play center.


DeMarcus Cousins, New Orleans: Cousins’ torn Achilles came at a bad time. He would have been a max player but likely will have to take less after suffering the injury in late January. The big question is if the Pelicans really want him back?

Clint Capela, Houston (R): The Rockets love Capela and matching an offer would be a no-brainer if it weren’t for their pursuit of LeBron. Ideally, Houston retains Chris Paul and Capela and somehow lands LeBron, but that will be difficult.

DeAndre Jordan, Clippers: Jordan could exercise his player option and be traded to Dallas before free agency kicks off. He is a capable scorer, one of the best rebounders in the league and a huge asset defensively.

Jusuf Nurkic, Portland (R): Nurkic improved during his first full season in Portland but he remains an inconsistent player. The Trail Blazers will have a decision to make when he receives an offer.

Brook Lopez, Lakers: Lopez has expanded his game, making 246 threes on 34.5 percent shooting the last two years. He made just three threes in his first eight seasons. A return to L.A. is unlikely.

2018 Heat Offseason Preview

[Monday’s question: LeBron James could be on the move again, do the Heat have a chance of bringing him back?]

[Tuesday’s question: Will Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem return for a 16th NBA season or retire?]

[Wednesday’s question: Will 3-point specialist Wayne Ellington return to Heat?]

[Thursday’s question: With no cap space, can Heat turn to trades to improve roster?]

[Friday’s question: Does Hassan Whiteside’s contract make him untradeable?]

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


Miami Heat defense far from standard coach Erik Spoelstra has set

MIAMI – This is not what the Heat expected after four games:

A defensive rating of 107.1, 22nd in the league.

Allowing 108.5 points per game, 19th in the league.

Not after both of those numbers were fifth best last season and Miami brought back virtually the entire team from 2016-17.

“We just need to get just a little bit more acquainted with each other,” James Johnson said following Miami’s 117-100 loss to the Spurs on Wednesday.

“Maybe a little bit more talking, a little bit more eye to communication. The Spurs are a great team and they taught us a lot about ourselves.”

LaMarcus Aldridge of the San Antonio Spurs posts up James Johnson of the Miami Heat during Wednesday’s game at American Airlines Arena. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Yes, training camp was shortened this year, but shouldn’t three weeks of preseason and one week of the regular season be enough for that ‘getting-to-know-you’ period? Especially for a team returning 11 players from last season’s roster?

And just when the Heat appeared to be improving defensively holding the Hawks to 93 points Monday, along come the Spurs, who shoot 55.3 percent while rolling out a 1980s style front line of LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol.

How bad was the defense? Consider last season the Heat allowed an opponent to shoot better than 55.3 percent once. … and just barely. Cleveland made 55.4 percent of its shots on Dec. 9. And this was a Heat team that started 11-30.

Plus, that was on the road and Miami had eight available players that game. This was at home against a team missing its best player in Kawhi Leonard and veteran point guard Tony Parker.

But it wasn’t just the paint where the Heat’s defense shriveled. While big men Aldridge and Gasol were shooting 17-of-28, perimeter players Rudy Gay and Manu Ginobili were coming off the bench to shoot 12-of-12.

“They set the tempo of the game,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Post-ups, getting paint catches, pick-and-rolls. We just gave up a ton of easy ones and now they are in their rhythm and then you have to react. Then Rudy Gay started to get going as well and their 3-poiint shooters took over from there.

“We didn’t get a handle on our defense for basically the entire game.”

Johnson, who at 6-foot-8 has started at power forward the last three games, called it a “learning experience” for the Heat’s big men.

“Aldridge is a great player, probably one of the best down on the block and (Wednesday) he gave it to us,” Johnson said. “More showing us where we were at as big men. Letting us know the techniques we really need to play with on a daily basis and practice on a daily basis. He gave us everything tonight and I took a lot of that.”

Perhaps the better way to put it is learning how to play against a bigger team without Hassan Whiteside, because for anybody who believes the Heat do not miss their 7-foot-last-line-of-defense center when he’s out, this was exhibit A.

Sure, Miami can get away with not having Whiteside against Indiana and Atlanta – two teams expected to be on the lower half of the weak East – but against playoff teams, Whiteside needs to be on the court.

Whiteside has missed three games with a bruised bone in his left knee and is it not known if he will return for Saturday’s game against the Celtics.

“We need to learn,” guard Goran Dragic said. “We need to regroup, watch the tape and see what kind of mistakes we did. Of course, it was a different team out there than we used to play. They have a really good post-man. Big. He was scoring at will. But, we need to find a way to play better defense as a team. It’s not only individuals. Everybody needs to help each other.”

[Heat rookie Bam Adebayo’s starting debut a ‘big ask’ against Spurs front line]

[Goran Dragic, Pau Gasol to have EuroBasket reunion tonight when Miami Heat host San Antonio Spurs]

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

Waiting for James Johnson: No worries, versatile power forward still expected to sign with Miami Heat

James Johnson’s deal with the Miami Heat may be taking a little longer but it is expected to get done soon. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

With Dion Waiters having agreed to return on a four year deal, the Miami Heat are working on constructing their roster and the next move will be the expected return of James Johnson.

Waiters will sign for around $52 million, including incentives, according to reports. And with the 5 ½ day moratorium at the start of free agency ending at noon Thursday and contracts now allowed to be finalized, the deal with the team’s starting shooting guard should be either tonight or no later than Friday.

While news on the Johnson negotiations was much slower, a deal is expected to be reached and an official announcement from the team also should come by Friday.

The Heat, though, are in a unique situation with their cap money because of the Chris Bosh situation. The Heat were able to receive cap relief by waiving Bosh after an NBA doctor ruled in the team’s favor and determined Bosh’s blood-clot issues are considered career ending.

But because Bosh was released Tuesday, the waiver period officially expired at 5 p.m. Thursday, meaning the Heat could not start using the $25.3 million – Bosh’s 2017-18 salary – that has been cleared from the cap until 5 p.m. today.

Bosh, as expected, cleared waivers.

[Mailbag: With Dion Waiters returning, are there too many guards on the Miami Heat roster?]

[Heat guard Goran Dragic on Dion Waiters returning: 7-11 back in business]

Depending on the starting point for the Waiters and Johnson deals, the Heat could still have from $10 million to $12 million of cap space remaining without waiving forward Josh McRoberts, which would add another $4 million.

A good portion could be used to bring back guard Wayne Ellington if the Heat pick up their team option for $6.3 million. Miami has until the end of the day Friday to decide if it will allow Ellington to become a free agent or decides to keep him as a valuable scoring threat off the bench.

The Heat’s other option is to use all of their remaining cap space after signing Waiters and Johnson to pursue one of the top remaining free agents.

Among them: small forward Rudy Gay, shooting guard C.J. Miles, power forward Ersan Ilyasova, swingman Tyreke Evans, shooting guard Monta Ellis and small forward Mike Dunleavy.

Miami also must make decisions on their other free agents; center Willie Reed and forwards Luke Babbitt and Udonis Haslem.

According to reports, the Clippers, Warriors, Hawks, Sixers and Pacers are all interested in Reed. Babbitt could return to Miami on a minimum contract and Haslem is expected to return for his 15th season with the Heat on the veteran minimum of $2.3 million.

Miami also has a $4.3 million exception available once it is capped out.

In the end, Pat Riley will successfully pull off his Plan B after losing out on the Gordon Hayward sweepstakes. Riley went into action when learning Tuesday that Hayward would be signing with Boston. Hayward had meetings with Heat, Celtics and Jazz officials before making his decision.

Waiters agreed to his deal Wednesday, allowing the Heat then to concentrate on Johnson. Heat and Johnson continued to talk with Johnson never a threat to sign elsewhere.

Waiters and Johnson have set themselves up for lucrative deals by outperforming the contracts they signed last summer. Johnson, 30, made $4 million last season. Waiters, 25, earned $2.9 million before declining his $3 million player’s option this summer to become a free agent.

After helping the Heat overcome an 11-30 start and finish .500 (missing the playoffs because of a tie-breaker), both players expressed their desire to return to Miami several times since the end of the season.

Waiters had drawn interest from the Lakers and Knicks since free agency began Saturday and he received a one-year, $17 million offer from the Lakers. Johnson was not linked to another team until Utah’s name came up after Hayward announced he was leaving the Jazz. But that died quickly.

Waiters became the Heat’s starting shooting guard last season, and he’s expected to slide back into that spot this upcoming season next to point guard Goran Dragic.

Johnson had a breakout season and in post-season award voting, he finished fifth for Sixth Man of The Year and sixth for Most Improved Player.

Johnson, though, did start the final five games of the season and became the Heat’s go-to guy because of his ability to create his own shot. He is expected to remain as Miami’s starting power forward.

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


Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic on Dion Waiters returning: 7-11 back in business

Dion Waiters and Goran Dragic.

Goran Dragic is happy to have his running mate back.

Dragic posted a tweet during the night congratulating Dion Waiters on reports that the Heat guard had agreed to a four-year, $52 million contract. Dragic, who is spending most of his summer at home in Slovenia while preparing for the EuroBasket championships starting next month, referenced the nickname the two came up with last season, which is a play on their uniform numbers.

  7-11 back in business!!!

Pat Riley returned to re-signing his top free agents (Plan B) after losing out on Utah forward Gordon Hayward and agreed with Waiters Wednesday after reports that the 25-year-old had discussions with the Knicks and Lakers. It was reported the Lakers offered Waiters a one-year deal for $17 million.

Waiters, and the other 40 or so free agents who have agreed to deals, are eligible to start signing those contracts today at noon as Stage II of NBA free agency starts with the lifting of the 5 ½ day moratorium period.

The Heat, though, still have some work left with about $22 million remaining in cap money after the Waiters agreement. The first order of business, it appears, will be bringing back forward James Johnson, who briefly spoke with Utah after the Jazz learned Hayward would be signing with Boston but appears close to wrapping up a deal with the Heat.

Johnson, 30, has remained in South Florida – as did Waiters – for nearly the entire offseason working out with Heat players. He has continually expressed his desire to return after having a breakout season in his lone year with the Heat and his agent, Mark Bartelstein, has told several outlets a deal is close.

What then?

Miami has until Friday to decide if it wants to pick up guard Wayne Ellington’s option at $6.3 million. The Heat should have plenty of money to do so and still add another free agent.

Or, the Heat could use all of their remaining cap space after Waiters and Johnson have agreed to pursue one of the top remaining players. Some of those include small forward Rudy Gay, shooting guard C.J. Miles, power forward Ersan Ilyasova, swingman Tyreke Evans, shooting guard Monta Ellis and small forward Mike Dunleavy.

Miami also must make decisions on their other free agents, center Willie Reed and forwards Luke Babbitt and Udonis Haslem.

Chances are Reed will find a better deal elsewhere, Babbitt could return on a minimum contract and Haslem is expected to return for his 15th season with the Heat.

Miami also has a $4.3 million exception available once it is capped out.

[Chris Bosh’s jersey will be the fourth retired by the Miami Heat. Who will join him in the future?]

[Mailbag: After missing out on Gordon Hayward, where do Miami Heat rank if they bring back last year’s team?]

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

Miami Heat greet free agent Gordon Hayward with huge committee, banner

Gordon Hayward saw this banner as he pulled into AmericanAirlines Arena today to meet with the Miami Heat. (Photo courtesy Miami Herald)

ORLANDO – Gordon Hayward was greeted by Miami Heat players, coaches, officials. … and a banner of his likeness as he pulled into AmericanAirlines Arena early Saturday.

The Heat had the first meeting with one of the biggest names remaining in free agency, hoping to lure the Utah Jazz small forward to South Florida. Involved in the meeting were owner Micky Arison, President Pat Riley, CEO Nick Arison, GM Andy Elisburg, Alonzo Mourning, coach Erik Spoelstra and most of his coaching staff.

Several players also spoke to Hayward including Hassan Whiteside, Udonis Haslem and free agent James Johnson. Hayward and Johnson share the same agent, Chicago-based Mark Bartelstein.

Miami even delayed the arrival of coaches Chris Quinn and Juwan Howard to Orlando for the start of summer league, keeping them back in South Florida for the meeting. Eric Glass coached the Heat in their summer league opener, a 74-67 loss to Charlotte.

The Heat are hoping to land Hayward, who, if he leaves Utah, would be the biggest name to switch teams this summer.

[More sanity to free agency could benefit Miami Heat if they look to bring back both James Johnson, Dion Waiters]

[Blake Griffin to re-sign with Clippers; off the board for Miami Heat]

Hayward, 27, will command a max contract starting at $29.7 million. If he re-signs with Utah he could earn $172.4 million over five years. If he leaves the Jazz the most he can make is $127.8 million over four years, the difference being an 8 percent raise each year compared to 5 percent.

Hayward, though, is thought to be seeking either a three-year deal or a contract with a player option after three years so he can then take advantage of the increased max contract for a 10-year veteran. In that case he would make more money signing with the Heat considering Florida does not have a state income tax.

Hayward also has a meeting set up with Boston on Sunday and Utah on Monday and is expected to make his decision soon after meeting with the Jazz. While the Heat and Celtics appear to be the favorites, Boston was planning to sell Hayward on joining a super team, one that included Paul George.

But after Oklahoma City swooped in and acquired George from Indiana late Friday, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was scrambling to put together to Plan B.

If the Heat secure Hayward they will turn to re-signing power forward James Johnson. That would give Miami a lineup of point guard Goran Dragic, possibly Josh Richardson or Tyler Johnson at shooting guard, Hayward, Johnson and Whiteside.

Miami then would have a $4.3 million exception to spend on a lower-level free agent.

If Hayward shuns the Heat the options would be James Johnson and re-signing shooting guard Dion Waiters, which could leave them with $15 to $17 million more to boost the roster. Or the Heat could pursue Rudy Gay, who has never hid his desire to play in South Florida, to play shooting guard.

Either way, the Heat should climb in the Eastern Conference considering how many teams have been weakened through free agency or trades. The Heat tied for the eighth-best record in the East with a 41-41 record and missed out on the playoffs because of a tie-breaker

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


2017 Free Agency Preview: What mid-level free agents should the Heat pursue?

Sacramento’s Rudy Gay averaged 18.7 points. 6.3 points and 2.7 assists in 30 games last season before tearing his Achilles. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

With free agency set to start at 12 a.m. Saturday, we take a look at the biggest free-agent questions surrounding the Heat. Today we ask: What mid-level free agents should the Heat pursue? We’ll shift to a different question each day leading up to the start of free agency.

[Monday’s question: Should the Heat forget about ‘whales’ and bring back last season’s core?]

[Tuesday’s question: What will it take for the Heat to re-sign James Johnson?]

[Wednesday’s question: Can the Miami Heat find a way to keep Dion Waiters?]

[Friday’s question: Is there more pressure than usual on the Heat to get it right this summer?]


The stakes for free agency may have been raised with the Rockets already landing Chris Paul, who will pick up his option with the Clippers and then be traded to Houston. That gives Houston the start of a super team with Paul and James Harden and may put more pressure on the Miami Heat to attempt to think even bigger when the bell rings Saturday.

But landing two max free agents like Gordon Hayward and Blake Griffin will not be easy and even if Miami signs one of them and brings back either James Johnson or Dion Waiters, Miami still will be searching to upgrade the roster with any of its remaining cap space or through one of its exceptions.

With just a handful of players set to earn more than $20 million a season, the market is full of players who will be looking for deals not only between $10 and $20 million but many for under $10 million. And when talking about which of those types of players would draw the interest of the team, you have to start with their own free agents – Johnson and Waiters.

It’s very possible Miami could bring both back, and possibly for around $25 million combined. But if only one returns that could depend on who else Miami signs. If the Heat lands Hayward, then a power forward like Johnson would be a better fit. If Blake Griffin decides to leave the Clippers’ sinking ship for the Heat, then Waiters may be the more valuable.

But Pat Riley will have many other options. Among those:

Rudy Gay, SG, Kings: Gay is opting out of $14.3 million for next year so he could be a bit pricey. Still, he has been linked to Miami in trade rumors in the past. He will be 31 when camp starts and is coming off a torn Achilles that limited him to 30 games last season. Still, he averaged 18.7 points. 6.3 points and 2.7 assists before the injury.

Jonathon Simmons, SG, Spurs: Simmons, who is a restricted free agent, is a Heat type of player. He is 27 and once paid money to get a D-League tryout. He would be right at home on a roster that still should include several D-League graduates. Simmons is athletic and can play multiple positions. He averaged 6.2 points in the regular season before stepping it up to 10.5 points in the playoffs.

Luc Mbah a Moute, SF/PF, Clippers: Mbah a Moute is 31 but is coming off his best season and could be ready to break out like Johnson did last season. He’ll never be that kind of offensive player – he averaged 6.1 points in 2016-17 but did shoot 39.1 percent on threes – but it’s his defense that could attract the Heat.

Jonas Jerebko, PF, Celtics: At 6-foot-10, Jerebko is a power forward with an outside shot. He averaged 3.8 points and 3.5 rebounds while playing 15.8 minutes per game last season. He is 30 years old and had his best season three years ago, averaging 7.1 points and 4.8 rebounds, in his first year in Boston.

Omri Casspi, SF/PF, Timberwolves: The Heat have had interest in Casspi before. He is 6-9 and plays both forward spots. He’s had a tough three years, playing in just 36 games combined because of injuries, but if his medicals check out he can be had for a nice price. And at 29 he should have some productive years left.

C.J. Miles, SF, Pacers: Paul George eventually will be traded and the Pacers will sink in the standings. Miles would be a solid pickup. He is well respected around the league for the way he plays the game. He averaged 10.7 points and shot 41.3 percent on threes last season.

[Hoping the Heat can restructure Wayne Ellington’s contract to create additional cap space? Here’s why that’s not a feasible option]

[Ready for Heat summer-league basketball? Here’s the full roster and more info to know]

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

Miami Heat Mailbag: Where would small forward Rudy Gay fit in as a free agent signing?

Sacramento’s Rudy Gay drives to the basket in a game at New York in December. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

While teams are focusing on working out players for the June 22 draft, free agency always is on their minds.

The Heat and Pat Riley have decisions to make, not only with their own free agents like James Johnson and Dion Waiters, but who to pursue whether they sign both Johnson and Waiters, one of them or neither.

Which leads us to today’s question. If you weren’t able to ask a question this week, send your questions for future mailbags via Twitter (@Anthony_Chiang and @tomdangelo44).

From: @MV305MIA How hard will we go after Rudy Gay?

Gay already has informed the Kings he will opt out of the final year of his contract that would have paid him $14.3 million and become an unrestricted free agent.

The 6-foot-8 Gay will be 31 when training camp starts. He averaged 18.7 points on .455 shooting including .372 on threes (although he’s only averaging about one 3-pointer per game in his career), 6.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 30 games last season before tearing his Achilles. His ESPN player efficiency rating was ninth in the league at 17.95. He is a career .452 shooter and two years removed from averaging his career-high 21.1 points, which came during his first full season in Sacramento.

Reports surfaced early last season that the Heat may have been exploring a deal with the Kings involving Gay. Some rank Gay as a borderline top-10 free agent while others have him lower. Among small forwards he generally falls in behind Kevin Durant, Gordon Hayward, Danilo Gallinari and Otto Porter. The Heat could have conversations with all but Durant, who is a lock to return to Golden State, but could settle on Gay as a backup policy or as a lower priced option than, say, a Hayward.

Gay has been somewhat of an enigma. While his numbers have been pretty steady – between 18 to 20 points and around six boards each year – many believe he could be doing more. He typically is among the league leaders in efficiency, landing in the top 15 in each of the last seven seasons and in the top 10 in four of those.

Although Gay’s age and recent injury could be a deterrent, he would be a nice addition to any team and would certainly give the Heat another option offensively on the wing and also as a small-ball power forward. And his athleticism makes him a solid defender.

If Miami loses Johnson and Waiters and pursues a power forward (say, Blake Griffin or Serge Ibaka), Gay could fit in well, or he could be brought in to go along with either Johnson or Waiters if one of the two returns.

[Dion Waiters makes it clear he wants to return to Heat — ‘Let’s get it over with as quick as possible’]

[Erik Spoelstra a finalist for another coach of the year award]

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


Could the Heat be in position to add veteran Rudy Gay?

Rudy Gay #8 of the Sacramento Kings during the first half at American Airlines Center on March 3, 2016 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Rudy Gay #8 of the Sacramento Kings during the first half at American Airlines Center on March 3, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Heat are in the process of overhauling their roster, looking for young and athletic players, and it appears that a veteran NBA player wants in.

According to the Miami Herald, Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay has expressed interest in joining the Miami Heat via trade. Gay and the Kings have had a turbulent relationship during his three years with the team, and there is plenty of speculation that the Kings have been looking to trade Gay.

The 29-year-old is a career 45 percent shooter, including a respectable 34 percent from beyond the arc, while averaging 18.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Last season, Gay averaged 17.2 points per contest and rebounded above his career average, grabbing 6.5 boards per game.

While Gay would certainly add a talented scorer and established veteran to the roster, swinging a trade for the forward will be tough for Miami. The Heat made several additions this offseason, and any player signed this month cannot be traded until December, leaving the Heat with only a few assets to work with.

Beyond that, Gay is set to make $13.3 million this season and also holds a $14.2 million player option for next year. That means that if the Heat were to trade for Gay, they would need to send a package of considerable salaries to Sacramento.

According to CBS Sports, possible trade packages that the Heat could craft include a one-for-one trade of Chris Bosh, Hassan Whiteside or Goran Dragic, and the Heat likely aren’t inclined to trade any of those three. The Heat could also offer a package of Josh McRoberts, Udonis Haslem and Josh Richardson, but that is a price tag that seems too steep for the Heat to consider.

Miami’s best bet may be to allow Gay to play out his contract with the Kings and pursue the forward in free agency.

Read more at the Miami Herald and CBS Sports.