Miami Heat

Pat Riley Talks Wade, Roster, Whiteside, Richardson

While a buyout for Dwyane Wade is a popular topic of speculation around the NBA this fall, Heat president Pat Riley declined today to say whether his club would have interest in Wade as a free agent. Speaking to reporters, Riley praised Wade extensively and reminisced about the first championship the future Hall-of-Famer won with the franchise, but was careful to avoid tampering with a player under contract with the Bulls, wishing Wade the best in Chicago.

Wade was just one topic of discussion today for Riley, who also said that the Heat’s roster is set for training camp at 19 players, with he and Erik Spoelstra feeling as if it wasn’t necessary to fill that 20th and final spot. Riley also made a few other comments worth passing along, so with the help of Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, we’ll round up some of those comments below. Be sure to check out Jackson’s piece for even more from Riley.

Let’s dive in…

On the fact that there are no All-Stars on the Heat’s roster:

“There were only 12 All-Stars in the Eastern Conference last year. We felt there were players last year who had All-Star years [on the Heat] but they weren’t selected. We have stars on our team but they’re not considered that.

“I respect the fact Kevin Durant gave us an audience when we went to the Hamptons to talk to him [in July 2016]. I felt we were a long shot. The same thing happened with Gordon Hayward [this past summer]. If we have the opportunity, we will always continue to pursue a player of that ability to come here. We made the decision to stay with this team. I like this team. … We are way ahead of a rebuilding cycle. We are one step away from being a very good team. One step away could be the collective effort of an ensemble cast, or one step away could be a move to bring a player here.”

On expectations for Hassan Whiteside:

“If he wants to achieve the goals he talks about in the media, and puts out on social media, which are great, great goals — to be Defensive Player of the Year and make the All-Defensive Team and be respected. Those are things you must bring every single night [and you] must bring every single day in the offseason. H is on the road to achieving some of those goals. He wants to win. He appreciates the team and his teammates around him. That kind of growth has come slowly but it’s there. We’re expecting a great year out of Hassan and we need a great year out of Hassan.”

On Josh Richardson‘s extension:

“He’s a prototype contemporary player and he’s young. … When you take a look at player value, there are a lot intangibles you have to look at. We didn’t want him to go in the open market next year and coming off a great year, having to match some crazy contract. If the average salary in the NBA is close to $9-10MM, that’s where a lot of these guys are falling. When these words come out of my mouth, $8MM or $9MM as the average salary, if I’m a player in this league, I am saying to myself, ‘I am going to stay straight, be right, do whatever I can to have a 10-year career in this league and set up my family for life.’ We felt he was worth it and we expect great things from him.”

On being happy with the team’s current point guard depth:

“If we didn’t feel comfortable with Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson and Dion Waiters, then we would have gotten a veteran with 10, 12 years in the league. We don’t feel like we need that. If we did, it would have been easy for us to acquire that type of player.”

Heat Notes: Adebayo, Jersey Sponsor, Dragic

Don’t expect the Heat to shy away from utilizing Bam Adebayo in Year 1, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes.  Adebayo has already established himself as a defensive force and has even surprised team execs with his offensive range.

He can defend fours [power forwards] and fives [centers] at this point. For a man that has a great body, he has good feet and that’s so crucial defending the ball,” Miami’s vice president of player personnel Chet Kammerer said.

It’s within reason, Jackson writes, that Adebayo could step up as the primary backup to Heat center Hassan Whiteside.

Jackson also relays a story that Adebayo surprised the team during his pre-draft interview when he suggested that he had three-point range. The squad, per Kammerer, later gave him a chance to prove it and were impressed with the results.

There’s more from Miami:

  • The Heat have agreed to a jersey sponsorship deal with Ultimate Software, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel writes. Ultimate Software is the “official human resources/payroll provider” of the franchise.
  • The Heat will approach the luxury tax mark in 2018/19, even with Chris Bosh‘s contract coming off of the books, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. Jackson breaks down the options Miami had heading into the summer and why they chose the path that they did.
  • Slovenia’s success at EuroBasket 2017 has further validated the trade that brought Goran Dragic to the Heat, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel writes, at least in the eyes of team president Pat Riley. “I’m proud that we have him. And he’s right now the player that I think Erik Spoelstra relies on as much as some of the other guys or maybe even more so in how he wants to play,” Riley said.

NBA’s Board Of Governors To Examine Revenue Sharing System

ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst have published an expansive and well-researched report on NBA teams’ finances, providing details on the league’s revenue sharing system, the impact from national and local television deals, and how a lack of net income for NBA franchises could push the league toward considering relocation or expansion.

The report is wide-ranging and detailed, so we’re going to tackle it by dividing it up into several sections, but it’s certainly worth reading in full to get a better picture of whether things stand in the NBA. Let’s dive in…

Which teams are losing money?

  • Nine teams reportedly lost money last season, even after revenue sharing. Those clubs were the Hawks, Nets, Pistons, Grizzlies, Magic, Wizards, Bucks, Cavaliers, and Spurs. The latter two teams – Cleveland and San Antonio – initially came out ahead, but paid into the league’s revenue sharing program, pushing them into the red.
  • Meanwhile, the Hornets, Kings, Pacers, Pelicans, Suns, Timberwolves, and Trail Blazers also would have lost money based on net income if not for revenue sharing, according to Lowe and Windhorst.
  • As a league, the NBA is still doing very well — the overall net income for the 30 teams combined was $530MM, per ESPN. That number also only takes into account basketball income, and doesn’t include income generated via non-basketball events for teams that own their arenas.
  • The players’ union and its economists have long been skeptical of NBA teams’ bookkeeping, alleging that clubs are using techniques to make themselves appear less profitable than they actually are, Windhorst and Lowe note. The union has the power to conduct its own audit of several teams per season, and it has begun to take advantage of that power — according to ESPN, the union audited five teams last season, and the new CBA will allow up to 10 teams to be audited going forward.

How does the gap between large and small market teams impact income?

  • Even after paying $49MM in revenue sharing, the Lakers finished the 2016/17 with a $115MM profit in terms of net income, per ESPN. That was the highest profit in the NBA, ahead of the second-place Warriors, and could be attributed in large part to the $149MM the Lakers received from their huge local media rights deals.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, the Grizzlies earned a league-low $9.4MM in local media rights, which significantly affected their bottom line — even after receiving $32MM in revenue sharing, Memphis lost money for the season. The Grizzlies will start a new TV deal this year that should help boost their revenue, but it still won’t come anywhere close to matching deals like the Lakers‘.
  • The biggest local TV deals help drive up the NBA’s salary cap, with teams like the Lakers and Knicks earning in excess of $100MM from their media agreements. According to the ESPN report, the Knicks made $10MM more on their TV deal than the six lowest-earning teams combined.
  • As one owner explained to ESPN, “National revenues drive up the cap, but local revenues are needed to keep up with player salaries. If a team can’t generate enough local revenues, they lose money.”
  • Playoff revenue from a big-market team like the Warriors also helps push up the salary cap. Sources tell Lowe and Windhorst that Golden State made about $44.3MM in net income from just nine home playoff games last season, more than doubling the playoff revenue of the next-best team (the Cavaliers at about $20MM).

How is revenue sharing affecting teams’ earnings?

  • Ten teams paid into the NBA’s revenue sharing system in 2016/17, with 15 teams receiving that money. The Sixers, Raptors, Nets, Heat, and Mavericks neither paid nor received any revenue sharing money. Four teams – the Warriors, Lakers, Bulls, and Knicks – accounted for $144MM of the total $201MM paid in revenue sharing.
  • While there’s general agreement throughout the NBA that revenue sharing is working as intended, some teams have “bristled about the current scale of monetary redistribution,” according to ESPN. “The need for revenue sharing was supposed to be for special circumstances, not permanent subsidies,” one large-market team owner said.
  • The Grizzlies, Hornets, Pacers, Bucks, and Jazz have each received at least $15MM apiece in each of the last four years via revenue sharing.
  • However, not all small-market teams receive revenue-sharing money — if a team outperforms its expectations based on market size, it forfeits its right to that money. For instance, the Thunder and Spurs have each paid into revenue sharing for the last six years.

Why might league-wide income issues lead to relocation or expansion?

  • At least one team owner has raised the idea of expansion, since an expansion fee for a new franchise could exceed $1 billion and it wouldn’t be subject to splitting 50/50 with players. A $1 billion expansion fee split 30 ways would work out to $33MM+ per team.
  • Meanwhile, larger-market teams who aren’t thrilled about their revenue-sharing fees have suggested that small-market clubs losing money every year should consider relocating to bigger markets, sources tell ESPN.
  • As Lowe and Windhorst observe, the Pistons – who lost more money than any other team last season – are undergoing a relocation of sorts, moving from the suburbs to downtown Detroit, in the hopes that the move will help boost revenue.

What are the next steps? Are changes coming?

  • The gap between the most and least profitable NBA teams is expected to be addressed at the NBA’s Board of Governors meeting next week, per Lowe and Windhorst. Team owners have scheduled a half-day review of the league’s revenue sharing system.
  • Obviously, large- and small-market teams view the issue differently. While some large-market teams have complained about the revenue sharing system, they’re outnumbered, with smaller-market teams pushing those more successful clubs to share more of their profits, according to ESPN.
  • Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen is one of the loudest voices pushing for more “robust” revenue sharing, sources tell ESPN. Some team owners have argued that the system should ensure all teams make a profit, while one even suggested every team should be guaranteed a $20MM profit. There will be “pushback” on those ideas, Lowe and Windhorst note. “This is a club where everyone knows the rules when they buy in,” one owner said.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, some teams have floated the idea of limiting the amount of revenue sharing money a team can receive if it has been taking payments for several consecutive years.
  • Any change to the revenue sharing system that is formally proposed at the NBA’s Board of Governors meeting would require a simple majority (16 votes to 14) to pass.

Heat Exercise 2018/19 Option On Justise Winslow

The Heat have exercised their fourth-year team option on Justise Winslow, the club announced today in a press release. Winslow’s status for the coming season won’t be affected by the move, but it will guarantee his salary for the 2018/19 season.

Winslow, the 10th overall pick in the 2015 draft, missed nearly all of his second NBA season in 2016/17 due to a shoulder injury. After playing in 78 games in his rookie year, Winslow appeared in just 18 last season, averaging 10.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, and 3.7 APG. He looks good to go for the 2017/18 campaign, however, and is expected to battle for the starting small forward job in the preseason.

By exercising their final team option on Winslow, the Heat ensure that he’ll count for $3,448,926 against the cap in 2018/19. The move will also make Winslow eligible for an extension during the 2018 offseason. If he and the Heat don’t strike a deal at that time, the 21-year-old would be on track to reach restricted free agency in 2019.

Decisions on 2018/19 rookie scale team options are due by the end of October, so we should start hearing about more of those moves in the coming weeks. You can follow along with those team option decisions right here.

Heat Notes: Winslow, Sullinger, Williams

It has been an eventful few days for the Heat, who saw point guard Goran Dragic lead Slovenia to its first EuroBasket championship with an impressive 35-point performance in the final game of the tournament, earning MVP honors. Dragic’s 35 points in the championship game were the highest EuroBasket Final output since Pau Gasol poured in 36 back in 2003.

Meanwhile, the Heat also officially announced its contract extension with Josh Richardson today. According to reports, Richardson’s new deal will lock him up through the 2020/21 season, with a player option for 2021/22. Miami also added undrafted rookie Erik McCree to its roster for training camp.

Here’s more from out of South Beach:

  • Justise Winslow has been “off the board with his commitment this summer,” a source tells Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, suggesting the third-year forward is working hard to develop his jump shot and his all-around game. As Jackson notes, the Heat are expected to exercise Winslow’s 2018/19 team option in the coming weeks. Winslow will compete with Richardson and Rodney McGruder for the starting job at small forward, Jackson adds.
  • According to Jackson, Heat president Pat Riley was “intrigued” by Jared Sullinger, who visited the team earlier this summer. However, Sullinger wasn’t in shape at the time, and Miami didn’t make him an offer. The big man has since signed with a team in China.
  • Jackson also notes that the Heat still have one of their two-way slots open, suggesting that camp invitee Matt Williams is a candidate for that spot since his contract can be converted into a two-way deal.
  • In an Ask Ira feature, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel wonders if all the incentive bonuses on new contracts for players like Dion Waiters and Kelly Olynyk may put head coach Erik Spoelstra in a difficult spot this season.
  • If you haven’t weighed in already, be sure to vote on the Heat’s win total for 2017/18. Polling will close on Tuesday morning.

Heat Sign Erik McCree

The Heat have moved one step closer to filling up their training camp roster, announcing today in a press release that they’ve signed forward Erik McCree to a contract. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but it figures to be a short-term deal that’s mostly – or fully – non-guaranteed.

After starting his college career at Murray State, McCree transferred to Louisiana Tech and has spent the last three years at the school. The 6’8″ forward averaged 17.7 PPG and 8.9 RPG in his senior year, with a respectable shooting line of .476/.362/.770. He went undrafted in June.

With the addition of McCree to their roster, the Heat now have 19 players under contract, including 13 on guaranteed salaries. Rodney McGruder and Okaro White – who don’t yet have fully guaranteed contracts – have the inside track on the team’s final two regular season roster spots, so McCree looks like a good bet to land with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s G League team, as an affiliate player.

Heat Sign Josh Richardson To Four-Year Extension

SEPTEMBER 18, 1:23pm: The signing is official, the team announced on its website.

SEPTEMBER 13, 5pm: The Heat are finalizing a four-year contract extension with Josh Richardson, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), who reports that the deal will be worth $42MM. While Richardson was a second-round pick in 2015 and wasn’t eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason, the league’s new CBA made him eligible for a veteran extension until opening night.JoshRichardson vertical

According to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link), Richardson’s agents met with Heat president Pat Riley about two weeks ago and the team expressed a willingness to give Richardson the maximum offer. Under the terms of the CBA, that max amount would mean a starting salary of 120% of the estimated annual salary.

Richardson’s new deal will go into effect for the 2018/19 season and would run through 2022 if he plays out the entire contract. However, the final year of the extension, for the 2021/22 campaign, is a player option, according to Jackson, who provides a year-by-year breakdown of the pact (Twitter links).

Richardson’s cap for 2017/18 won’t be impacted by the new deal — he remains on track to earn the minimum $1,471,382 this season. However, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks (ESPN Now link) details, the Heat now project to sit roughly $5.5MM below the tax with $117.5MM on the books for 2018/19. That figure could increase to approximately $119.6MM if Dion Waiters and Kelly Olynyk hit games-played bonuses in their respective contracts, according to Marks.

Richardson broke out as a rookie, evidenced by his 46.1% mark from behind the arc. He slumped as a sophomore though, in part because of ankle injuries. In 105 career games with the franchise to date, the shooting guard has scored 8.4 points per game and nearly averaged a steal per contest.

Sources tell Jackson that Richardson will be given the opportunity to compete with Justise Winslow and Rodney McGruder for the Heat’s starting small forward job this fall.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Poll: Miami Heat’s 2017/18 Win Total

The Heat entered the offseason with aspirations of re-adding some of the star power they’ve lost since the days of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. However, despite getting a meeting with Gordon Hayward, Miami failed to land its top target, and pivoted to Plan B: Re-signing its own players and adding a second-tier free agent in Kelly Olynyk.

Outside of the addition of Olynyk and a couple minor losses – Luke Babbitt and Willie Reed found new homes – the Heat’s roster looks very similar to last year’s version. With all the core pieces involved in last season’s 30-11 second-half run returning, and Olynyk and Justise Winslow set to join them, it’s reasonable to be enthusiastic about Miami’s chances of making some noise in the Eastern Conference.

Still, this also looks a lot like the team that had a 11-30 record in the first half of the 2016/17 campaign, which shouldn’t be overlooked. Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside, and Dion Waiters make up a solid core group of scorers for the Heat, but none of those players – or anyone else on the Miami roster – has made a single All-Star appearance, limiting the club’s upside.

Oddsmakers projecting the Heat’s 2017/18 win total lean slightly more toward the second-half version of the club than the first-half version. Offshore betting site Bovada has Miami’s over/under at 43.5 wins.

What do you think? Can the Heat build on last year’s scorching final stretch and reach 44+ wins in 2017/18, or was their offseason too quiet to expect a major step forward? Vote below and jump into the comment section to share your thoughts.

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Previous over/under voting results:

Spoelstra Accepts Coach Of The Year Award

Fans are paying an average of $1,300 per ticket for the Mavericks‘ season finale in hopes of seeing Dirk Nowitzki‘s final game, but Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News warns that Nowitzki’s retirement isn’t a sure thing. The German star hasn’t made a decision about playing beyond this season and says health may be the main factor. A right Achilles problem early last season limited Nowitzki to 54 games and doomed the Mavericks to a 3-17 start.

“If I miss another 30 to 40 games in a row, then obviously, it’s not meant to be,” said Nowitzki, who is preparing for his 20th NBA season. “But if I can stay sort of healthy like I did at the end of the season, when I thought I moved OK and had some good games, then maybe we’ll do two more [seasons]. But we’ll see how it goes.”

There’s more news tonight out of Texas:

  • Assuming he spends the entire year in Dallas, Nowitzki will join Kobe Bryant as the only players with 20 years of service to the same organization. During an appearance this week on Sirius XM radio, Nowitzki lamented the league’s move away from franchise cornerstones (h/t to Michael Singer of USA Today). “The new NBA is a little different,” he said. “It’s about making money, it’s about winning and not as much about being loyal anymore.” Nowitzki displayed his loyalty this summer by re-signing for $10MM over two years after opting out of a $25MM salary.
  • Rudy Gay hasn’t played a game yet for San Antonio, but he already calls himself “a Spur for life,” relays Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News. Gay agreed to a two-year, $17MM contract this summer that contains an $8.8MM player option for next season, but he sounds fully committed to San Antonio. “I think it was a do-or-die point in my career,” said Gay, who is coming off an Achilles injury that ended his season in January. “I wanted to be with an organization that was known for winning and can help me raise my game to the next level.”
  • Rockets mentor Mike D’Antoni accepted his Coach of the Year award Friday from the National Basketball Coaches Association, writes Steve Aschburner of NBA.com. D’Antoni was a co-winner along with Miami’s Erik Spoelstra after guiding Houston to a 55-27 record and the third seed in the Western Conference. “The tie was legitimate and there were five or six others who received significant votes,” said NBCA president Rick Carlisle of the Mavericks. “So it really spoke to the quality job that everybody did from top to bottom.”

Southeast Notes: Howard, Richardson, Oubre, Spoelstra

Dwight Howard will suit up for his fifth team in seven seasons as he prepares for a new start with the Hornets. The 31-year-old has been an effective player, when healthy, but has regressed from the player that was an MVP candidate in Orlando.

Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes Howard views his opportunity with the Hornets as a chance to reestablish himself. Under the guidance of his former and current coach Steve Clifford, Howard feels he can prove doubters wrong and prove to himself he can still be a productive player.

“This opportunity for myself to really get back everything that I would say has been taken away. I’m not too much worried about the naysayers, the rankings and stuff, but just the hearts of the people,” Howard said. “I’m in a much better place mentally, physically and spiritually than I have been in a couple of years.

Despite the downward trend in recent years, Howard posted 13.5 PPG and 12.7 RPG while scoring from the floor at a 63% clip last season in Atlanta. Charlotte has a need for defense and that is one part of Howard’s game that remains a threat.

Read more news around the Southeast Division below:
  • In a separate column, Bonnell writes that the Hornets did not have much financial flexibility to acquire a premier backup point guard after acquiring Howard. That led to the signings of Michael Carter-Williams and Julyan Stone; one player who has not done much since winning Rookie of the Year and the other hasn’t played in the NBA since 2014.
  • In his latest Ask Ira column, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes that Josh Richardsons four-year, $42MM contract extension is a worthwhile investment for the Heat. While he may not consistently crack the starting lineup, Richardson will be a key part of the team’s core going forward, Winderman adds.
  • Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni shared the honors of the new Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award, NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner writes.
  • Chase Hughes of CSN Mid Atlantic writes that Kelly Oubre, after a productive sophomore season in Washington, will be one of the team’s most vital players. Hughes notes that Oubre is the “most athletic player and best wing defender” on the Wizards‘ bench and will need to be consistent in that role to help the team.
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