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.

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[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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UCLA’s Ike Anigbogu could be in mix as Miami Heat seek help at backup center

Ike Anigbogu wasn’t the best player on his team last season or the most renown. Not even close. That was Lonzo Ball.

In fact, Anigbogu wasn’t near the top on a talented UCLA team with household names like Ball, T.J. Leaf, Bryce Alford and others. Yet, Anigbogu, a freshman who never started and averaged just 4.7 points and 4.0 rebounds while playing 13 minutes per game, is an intriguing prospect who most believe will be a first-round pick with one mock draft (NetScouts) pegging him to the Miami Heat at No. 14.

UCLA’s Ike Anigbogu blocks a shot in game against Washington in March. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images).

A quick introductory: Anigbogu is a raw but physically gifted prospect. At the NBA Draft Combine he measured 6-foot-9.75, 252.2 pounds with the second widest wingspan – 7-6.25. His hands were among the largest – 10.0 width and 9.5 length. His defense is far ahead of his offense, although he is a strong finisher, and he projects as a rim protector at the next level. He averaged 3.7 blocks per 40 minutes.  Anigbogu missed the first five games of the season after tearing the meniscus in his right knee.

Most mock drafts have him going in the first round but none higher than 14th. He also is projected to be picked 15th by Portland, 18th by Chicago, 23rd by Toronto and 25th by Orlando by various mocks.

Anigbogu could be on the Heat’s radar, maybe not at No. 14 but perhaps if he slips and Pat Riley and Andy Elisburg can trade into the early second round. Miami likely will be in the market for a backup center after it was revealed Thursday that Willie Reed, as expected, informed the team he will opt out of his contract.

Anigbogu patterns his game after another defensive-oriented center who plays in L.A. – the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan because of “the way he affects the game without putting so much pressure on the offensive side,” he said at last month’s combine in Chicago.

And he is well aware of the area where he must improve the most.

“I feel like I will fit doing the same things I did at UCLA, rim running, protecting the rim, being smart on the floor,” he said. “I plan to develop more of an offensive game. Right now I’m polishing things up. … go-to move, counters, working on my mid-range. I feel like I’m pretty mobile at the center/four position so I’m trying to develop a face up game.”

Because he is so raw with limited playing time in his only year of college, Anigbogu is aware he could be a perfect candidate to get some seasoning in the developmental league, something he said that came up in his conversations with NBA teams.

“I’m for any challenge they will throw at me,” he said. “Anything that’s going to help my development. I’m completely trusting the staff to make the decision for me.”

Anigbogu, Ball and Leaf all entered UCLA together with Ball and Leaf the anchors of the class. Ball was the third-rated prospect in the country according to 247Sports composite and Leaf No. 18. Anigbogu, from Corona, Calif., fell in at No. 47. The Bruins stumbled down the stretch last season, losing in the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament to Arizona and again three games later in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament, to Kentucky. UCLA finished 31-5.

While Ball is projected to be taken second in the draft, some mocks have Leaf, a much more refined offensive player who can fill the role of a stretch four, going to the Heat. Leaf is the same height as Anigbogu but 20 pounds lighter.

Anigbogu and Leaf have known each other from their AAU days.

“We always had a tight, close connection,” Anigbogu said. “He’s a versatile player that can score on all three levels and give all his heart every time on the floor. He’s super competitive.”

[Should the Heat take a chance on high-risk, high-reward draft prospect Harry Giles?]

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Consensus mock draft has Indiana’s OG Anunoby going 14th to Miami Heat

Indiana’s OG Anunoby goes to the basket in a game this season at Rutgers.(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Mock drafts are all over the board when it comes to the Miami Heat’s pick at No. 14. studied 12 of them and found eight different players projected as the 14th pick in the June 22 draft. Three different mocks had the Heat selecting Indiana small forward OG Anunoby and two had them picking UCLA power forward T.J. Leaf and North Carolina small forward Justin Jackson.

Others projected to go to Miami: Duke power forward Harry Giles, Arizona power forward Lauri Markkanen, Kentucky center Edrice Adebayo, UCLA center/power forward Ike Anigbogu and Wake Forest power forward John Collins.

The site assigned a numerical value to each mock limiting it to the 14 lottery teams and came with Anunoby being taken 14th. It had Jackson going 12th to the Pistons and Denver selecting Donovan Mitchell of Louisville one spot ahead of Miami.

That means Collins, the former Cardinal Newman High standout who at one time was linked to the Heat by three different mock drafts, drops out of the lottery. Collins is projected anywhere from No. 13 to 18 by most mock drafts.

The 6-8, 232-pound Anunoby played just 16 games last season before tearing his ACL. He is considered an elite defender and draws comparisons to Spurs’ All-NBA small forward Kawhi Leonard. He could be a steal at No. 14 considering he likely would have been projected much higher in the lottery had he not been injured.

The Heat will workout and/or interview about 50 players, according to vice president of player personnel Chet Kammerer, with the process starting weeks ago at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago.

Several prospects projected to go in the middle of the first round have come through South Florida for private workouts.

Miami’s biggest needs are a power forward/center and small forward. With James Johnson and Udonis Haslem becoming free agents July 1, the only true power forwards/centers on the roster behind Hassan Whiteside will be Josh McRoberts and Okaro White. Justise Winslow is the lone true small forward on the roster. Rodney McGruder started at the spot last season after Winslow was injured.

[Mailbag: What is the best possible outcome for the Heat in the NBA draft?]

[2017 NBA Finals: 10 storylines as the Cavaliers and Warriors meet for third straight year]

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



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

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

Interest is starting to build on two fronts: The draft and free agency and we address both in our latest mailbag.

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

From @strick9si: I believe the heat should make a run at Gordon Hayward probably the best ideal free agent candidate with skill set, Thoughts?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NBA draft 2017: A look at who mock drafts have Heat selecting with ‘purgatory’ pick

Wake Forest’s John Collins gestures to the crowd during the final seconds of a win over Louisville in March. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Heat president Pat Riley calls it “purgatory,” picking 14th, or in the middle of the first round. But that doesn’t mean Miami is not looking for a heavenly player.

“We’re in purgatory,” Riley said. “What I mean by that, either win a championship, you make the playoffs or you get the first pick in the draft. Everybody else is in purgatory. And that’s where we are right now. It’s sort of between heaven and hell. That’s where we are. But we like 12 through 20.”

Riley said Vice President of player personnel Chet Kammerer and his staff scouting staff of Adam Simon, Eric Amsler, Keith Askins and Bob McAdoo already have scheduled workouts with draft eligible players. The Heat have the worst odds among the lottery teams, 1.8 percent, of moving in into the top three, that includes 0.5 percent chance at the top overall pick, 0.6 percent at No. 2 and 0.7 percent at No. 3.

“I do believe that between 12 and 20, or 20 and 12, these players can flip-flop, that there will be a very good player in the draft,” Riley said. “We’ll probably take the best player, depending on free agency and who’s going to stay and not going to stay.”

“And possibly some of these guys from 12 to 20 could be better than the guys from seven to 12.”

Here is a list of the players some of the mock drafts have the Heat selecting. Most vary, but one showed up on two mocks, one with ties to South Florida and Palm Beach County. and DraftExpress: Sophomore John Collins, 6-8, PF, Wake Forest.

Collins, who is from West Palm Beach and starred at Cardinal Newman High School, averaged 19.2 points and 9.8 rebounds. He led the ACC with a 62.3 field goal percentage, 63.9 in ACC games. And although most believe Collins was the best player in the league, he was runner-up to North Carolina’s Justin Jackson in the Player of the Year voting. He voted to the All-ACC first team and was the league’s Most Improved Player. Sophomore OG Anunoby, 6-8, SF, Indiana.

Like Collins, one of a handful of non-freshman projected to go in the first round, Anunoby missed the final 15 games of the season because of a knee injury; undergoing surgery on Jan. 31. He averaged 11.1 points and 5.4 rebounds while shooting 54.9 percent. Freshman T.J. Leaf, 6-10, PF, UCLA

Leaf has the versatility the Heat like with an ability to play inside or out and he is not a liability on defense. He averaged 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists.

HoopsHype: Freshman, Harry Giles, 6-10, PF, Duke.

We know Heat like Duke players and Giles could be there in the middle of the first round, but with a risk. He has torn both ACL’s and has had three knee surgeries since 2013 and never was at full strength last season. He averaged 4.3 points and 4.0 rebounds.

Bleacher Report: Freshman Justin Patton, 7-0, C, Creighton.

Even with Hassan Whiteside expected to hold down the position for several years, the Heat could find it difficult to pass on a player with this much upside. Patton averaged 12.9 points and 6.1 rebounds and would benefit from a year in the D-League.

SB Nation: Freshman Jarrett Allen, 7-0, Fr., C, Texas.

Another freshman big man with plenty of potential. Allen and his 7-5.5 wingspan, averaged 13.4 points and 8.4 rebounds.

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

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

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