• The Miami Heat are stuck in NBA limbo, or as I like to call it, the wheel of mediocrity.  They were just bad enough to miss the playoffs, but just good enough to not get a top-10 pick in the NBA draft.  The entire season was highlighted by Dwyane Wade’s retirement tour, which was well earned given his successful career.  Wade was respected throughout the league, so it was pleasant to see him get the goodbye that he deserved.

    The Heat were expected to be fighting for a lower seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs heading into the season, so they hit the nail on the head with that one.  However, they ultimately lost the battle and ended up as the 10th seed.  The Hoop-Ball Post-Mortem series continues with the Heat as we will dive into this season and what to expect in the future.

    Editor’s Note: The Finals are here! You can play FREE to win $1 MILLION in the Championship fantasy basketball contest, thanks to our partnership with @DraftKings. Submit your team with your first deposit of $5+ before the contest locks at 8PM on 5/30. T&Cs apply. Click here to enter!

    Overview

    The Heat were expected to perform around the level that they did in the 2018-19 NBA season, but there are many facets that impacted their future.  The contracts that were dished out to James Johnson, Dion Waiters, Kelly Olynyk, Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic are not boding well for them at all.  Those five players are set to put an $86,428,205 dent in the Heat salary cap this summer, which would leave them little to no room to improve the team.  They also took on Ryan Anderson’s contract and he is going to make $15,600,000 in the 2019-20 season.

    Their offseason consisted of signing Derrick Jones Jr., extending Justise Winslow’s contract and striking out on a Jimmy Butler deal. The first two proved to be solid moves as Winslow has finally started to look like the player that the Heat envisioned when they drafted him.  The mistake for the Heat was striking out on a Butler deal if they wanted to get into the upper echelon of the East.  However, Pat Riley has a plan for everything, so is he believed that was the right move at the time than he must have a way for the Heat to progress in the future.

    This team put together a few solid stretches that had many believing they would make the playoffs, but they eventually imploded and ended up as the 10th seed.  They ended the season with a 4-6 record in their last ten games, which is part of the reason they could not reach the playoffs as the race for the 6th-8th seed in the East was as close as we have seen in years.  It is hard to place blame on anyone for their lack of success this season. Here is their record and how they stack up against the rest of the league in analytical data.

    2017-18 record: 44-38 (6th seed)

    2018-19 record: 39-43 (10th seed)

    Offensive Rating: 107.3 (26th)

    Defensive Rating: 107.6 (6th)

    Net Rating: -0.3 (17th)

    Pace: 98.2 (23rd)

    Rebounds Per Game: 46.3 (10th)

    Assists Per Game: 24.3 (17th)

    Turnover Percentage: 13.1 (26th)

    Field Goal Percentage: 45.0% (23rd)

    Effective Field Goal Percentage: 51.5% (21st)

    3-Point Percentage: 34.9% (21st)

    Attendance Per Game: 19,641 (5th)

    The Heat will always be a popular team, so attendance will not be a problem unless the team is at the bottom of the standings.  As you can see, they were lacking quite a bit on offense this season, while their defense was thriving.  Overall, they do not stack up well against the rest of the league in many categories aside from defensive rating and attendance.

    The data shows that their offensive efficiency likely caused some of their difficulties, which could potentially be caused by the Heat’s lack of frontcourt volume on offense.  The five leading shot takers for the Heat were all guards aside from Josh Richardson, who is far from a big man.  Therefore, the decline in shot attempts from last season to this season for Hassan Whiteside and Kelly Olynyk could have contributed to the team’s offensive deficiencies.  Whiteside’s attempts dropped from 10.7 per game in 2017-18 to 9.4 this season, while Olynyk’s attempts decreased from 8.4 to 7.1 per game.

    The root of the Heat organization as long as Erik Spoelstra is their coach will be defense, so it is no surprise that they were near the top of the league in defensive rating.

    The Heat acquired Ryan Anderson’s horrific contract, which will hurt their salary cap for next season.  However, they dumped Tyler Johnson’s contract to the Suns in that deal, which did offer some long-term savings. They were also able to move Wayne Ellington in that deal, but Ellington was waived by the Suns and signed by the Pistons.  There is no telling whether this will help or hurt the Heat in the long-run, but it definitely decreased their amount of appealing assets and removed them from one of the most exciting offseasons we will ever see due to their overflowing salary cap.

    The fact that the Heat lost five more games in the 2018-19 season than they did in the 2017-18 season is not a great sign as it further proves the notion that they are in NBA limbo.  It will be interesting to see what moves are made to improve their situation, but for now their season can be seen as a success because of Dwyane Wade.  Wade did not get hurt and was an All-Star in the final season of his illustrious career.  Wade will forever be one of the greatest players to ever hit the court for the Heat, so giving him a proper goodbye made the sub-par season worth it.

    Coaching

    Erik Spoelstra is widely underrated in the NBA media as he consistently keeps the Heat competitive regardless of the roster provided to him.  He is a defensive-minded coach who brings a system that excels on that end of the floor.  As we saw in the data, the Heat were an upper echelon defensive team, so Spoelstra thrived in that area.  He is also phenomenal at developing his players as Josh Richardson, Bam Adebayo, and Justise Winslow all took a step forward.  Those three guys are the faces of the Heat franchise going forward, so seeing them advance their development is crucial for the organization.

    Spoelstra just finished his 11th season as the Heat head coach and has garnered a 523-363 record.  Despite the fact that he had LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh for his championship runs, Spoelstra should not be overlooked as one of the top coaches in the game today. He led the Heat to four straight finals appearances and two of those resulted in wins.  He is the winningest coach in Heat franchise history and holds a multitude of postseason coaching records as well such as series wins (15) and playoff victories (71).

    There have been some rumors over time about Spoelstra being on the hot seat, but none of them have come to fruition as he is obviously still the head coach.  LeBron James wanted him out at the beginning of his tenure with the Heat and more rumors swirled when the Heat were struggling after Dwyane Wade left for Chicago.  Pat Riley has stuck with Spoelstra through it all, so it is hard to believe that Spoelstra will be ousted prior to next season.

    However, some improvements and moves might have to be made for him to remain the long-term head coach.  Assistant coach Juwan Howard just left the staff to become the head coach of Michigan, so there is a spot open for Spoelstra to fill.  In my opinion, an offensive-minded assistant coach is a necessity as the Heat have struggled on offense in recent years with Spoelstra. Mark Jackson or David Blatt could work as offensive maestros if they are willing to take a step down from their prior head coaching duties. Player improvement and better health might help them improve naturally on that end, too.

    As you can see, the coaching is not the main issue for Miami, but there are ways that the staff could be improved.  If the proper moves are made to the roster and staff, Spoelstra’s job will remain secure and he will thrive as the head coach going forward.

    The Players

    Josh Richardson

    ADP:127/64 (ESPN/Yahoo) Total Value: 80/70 (8/9-cat) Per-Game Value: 71/64 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 73

    2018-19 averages: 73 G | 34.8 MP | 16.6 PTS | 2.2 3PM | 3.6 REB | 4.1 AST | 1.1 STL | 0.5 BLK | 1.5 TOV | .412 FG% | .861 FT%

    Josh Richardson was easily the best player on the Heat in the 2018-19 NBA season.  He is their most valuable trade piece, but he is also the franchise cornerstone as of right now.  He led the team in minutes per game, points per game, and field goal attempts per game.  The 16.6 points, 34.8 minutes, 3.6 rebounds, and 4.1 assists were also all career-highs for Richardson as he completed his 4th NBA season.  The Heat relied on him when they needed a bucket and the fact that he is an above average defensive player definitely helped his value to the team.

    Unfortunately, a left hip strain that he suffered in late March kept him off the floor for the last two weeks of the season.

    Richardson was almost moved for Jimmy Butler, but the Heat should be thrilled that they stuck with the budding star.  Although his efficiency and defensive stats were down from the 2017-18 season, there is much hope for Richardson going forward as a 3-and-D stud.  This was his first season as a primary scoring option, so it will obviously take some getting used to.  It is unlikely that Richardson has All-Star potential, but he is a starter-level player that should have a spot in this league for years to come.

    The Heat were not expected to win a championship in the 2018-2019 season, so Richardson did not fail in his ability to help lead the team on the court.  However, he will be asked to step up heading into next season with the departure of Dwyane Wade leaving space for a new leader in the locker room.

    Richardson will likely remain the best player on the Heat roster unless a big splash is made in the offseason, and we will see how he adapts to the environment he is placed in next season. The overall season for Richardson was a success as he did take a step forward and has cemented himself in the future plans for the Heat.

    Bam Adebayo

    ADP: N/A/138 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 84/87 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 118/116 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 82

    2018-19 averages: 82 G | 23.3 MP | 8.9 PTS | 0.0 3PM | 7.3 REB | 2.2 AST | 0.9 STL | 0.8 BLK | 1.5 TOV | .576 FG% | .735 FT%

    Adebayo was the only player on the Heat roster to play in all 82 games and had quite the rollercoaster season.

    He started 28 games, which all mainly occurred near the end of the year.  He took the appropriate leap from his rookie year to his sophomore season as he increased his points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, and field goal percentage.  These improvements were also due to the fact that he played 3.5 more minutes per game from last season to this season.

    Being Hassan Whiteside’s backup has to be an exciting job as you never know when Spoelstra will pull the plug and bench him or when the big man will just get hurt.  Whiteside was relegated to bench duties later in the season, where he continued to put up double-double numbers in his limited minutes.  Adebayo seized the opportunity and developed the way that the Heat hoped he would when they drafted him.

    Like Richardson, Adebayo is an essential part of the Heat’s future plans so his development is a vital part of their process.  Bam can become a fantasy powerhouse if the Heat find a trade partner for Whiteside and his massive contract.  This season has to be considered a huge success as Adebayo stayed healthy, outperformed his ADP, and developed as nicely as the Heat could have expected.

    Hassan Whiteside

    ADP: 70/71 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 104/96 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 104/92 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 72

    2018-19 averages: 72 G | 23.3 MP | 12.3 PTS | 0.0 3PM | 11.3 REB | 0.8 AST | 0.6 STL | 1.9 BLK | 1.3 TOV | .572 FG% | .449 FT%

    Whiteside had a 2018-19 season that almost mirrored his 2017-18 season.  Although there were noticeable differences like free throw shooting and games started, Whiteside has been on the decline since he signed his generous contract. He has put up around 13.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game over the past two seasons combined.

    He started 53 of his 72 games played, with Adebayo starting when he did not.  He averaged just 23.3 minutes per game this season, which is his lowest mark since he played in Sacramento in the 2011-12 season.  He is no longer the player that the Heat expected him to be when they signed him to a 4-year, $98 million contract prior to the 2016-17 season.

    From a fantasy perspective, Whiteside did not do too bad aside from his free throw shooting.  For anyone who picked him with the hope of punting free throws, he was a top-30/40 fantasy player in 9/8-cat per-game value.  He underperformed his ADP and regressed from the 2017-18 season, so this was not the ideal season for Whiteside.  There is a chance he gets traded, which could essentially revive his career.  Unless he gets traded, Whiteside should be a late-round target heading into next season.

    Justise Winslow

    ADP: N/A/138 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 146/169 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 131/160 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 66

    2018-19 averages: 66 G | 29.7 MP | 12.6 PTS | 1.5 3PM | 5.4 REB | 4.3 AST | 1.1 STL | 0.3 BLK | 2.2 TOV | .433 FG% | .628 FT%

    Justise Winslow took by far the biggest leap in terms of development from the 2017-18 season to the 2018-19 season.  He averaged career-highs in points, rebounds, assists, and field goal percentage.

    Winslow started 52 games and became the point guard for the Heat for much of the season as Goran Dragic was often hurt.  Winslow was not a point guard at Duke University or throughout his first three seasons with the Heat, so this was a huge change for him.  Nevertheless, Winslow thrived as the primary ball-handler as his production skyrocketed and the team was playing pretty well with him as the shot-caller. It was poor shooting and lackluster defensive stats that kept him from being a true fantasy force, though.

    He developed a more consistent 3-point shot and continued to play lock-up defense on the opposition each and every night.  He has the ability to become a ball-handling 3-and-D All-Star which is a rare player in today’s NBA.  Along with Richardson and Adebayo, Winslow is another player that will be a huge piece of the Heat’s future plans unless they orchestrate a trade for a star player.

    Winslow’s season was quite possibly the most impressive of anyone on the roster; he was able to thrive in a new situation and take the next step in his development as a 22-year-old.

    He was limited to 66 games as he suffered to two different injuries during the season.  In January, he suffered an ankle injury and in March he suffered a right thigh bruise.

    Next season will be a key indicator of what path Winslow is heading in his career, but he should be a late-round target in next year’s drafts unless the Heat roster changes dramatically or he is traded.

    Kelly Olynyk

    ADP: 139/137 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 125/131 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 159/155 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 79

    2018-19 averages: 79 G | 22.9 MP | 10.0 PTS | 1.4 3PM | 4.7 REB | 1.8 AST | 0.7 STL | 0.5 BLK | 1.4 TOV | .463 FG% | .822 FT%

    Kelly Olynyk was the last piece of the 3-headed monster that was the Heat frontcourt.  Although they were not nearly the best frontcourt in the NBA, the trio was serviceable and has had a balanced attack as each of them brought a different element on the court.  Olynyk is a very consistent player in that he has averaged just around 10.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game for the entirety of his career.

    His minutes have always ranged between 20.0 and 23.5, so it is no surprise that Olynyk finished just around his ADP in terms of total value.  Olynyk plays his role well and the Heat did not give him too lucrative of a contract when they signed him, so he is really a reliable asset for this team.  In his career, he has started 94 games out of 433 games played, so he is able to step in and provide quality spot starts when needed, but he is also willing to come off the bench as well.

    Expect the reliable Olynyk to remain in the late-round value conversation regardless of how the Heat roster shakes up or where he ends up playing if he is traded prior to next season.

    Goran Dragic 

    ADP: 49/64 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 277/292 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 156/183 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 36

    2018-19 averages: 36 G | 27.5 MP | 13.7 PTS | 1.6 3PM | 3.1 REB | 4.8 AST | 0.8 STL | 0.1 BLK | 2.0 TOV | .414 FG% | .782 FT%

    Although this might be unfair to Dragic, he was a huge disappointment in the 2018-19 season.  He was held to just 36 games due to a left calf strain and right knee surgery, but his season was lackluster even when he was playing.  He was playing about 110 spots below his ADP in per-game value, so anyone who took a middle-round shot on him wound up paying the price.

    He shot the lowest field goal percentage since his rookie year in 2008-09, but he still managed 13.7 points per game despite starting just 22 of the 36 contests he played in. His season overall was disappointing due to the fact that he was an All-Star in 2018 and followed that up with an injury filled, sub-par season.

    Dragic could potentially return to middle-round value for next season if it seems as though he will remain the starting point guard for 2019-20.

    Dwyane Wade

    ADP: 135/132 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 140/176 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 150/197 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 72

    2018-19 averages: 72 G | 26.2 MP | 15.0 PTS | 1.2 3PM | 4.0 REB | 4.2 AST | 0.8 STL | 0.5 BLK | 2.3 TOV | .434 FG% | .708 FT%

    Dwyane Wade. The Flash.

    There are no harsh words that can be spoken about one of the best players in the history of the NBA.  Wade finished his illustrious career with a healthy and productive season.  He had a triple-double in his final game, which is one of the best ways he could have ended his journey.  The Heat lucked out by drafting Wade and having him for 15.5 of the 17 seasons that he was in the NBA.  Wade was a 13-time All-Star, 3-time NBA champion, 8-time All-NBA, 3-time All-Defense, the 2006 Finals MVP, and the 2009 scoring champ. The accolades go on for one of the greatest shooting guards of all-time.

    The Heat era without Dwyane Wade begins now.

    Thank you D-Wade for everything you have brought to the game of basketball.

    James Johnson

    ADP: 115/120 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 255/264 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 223/253 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 55

    2018-19 averages: 55 G | 21.2 MP | 7.8 PTS | 0.9 3PM | 3.2 REB | 2.5 AST | 0.6 STL | 0.5 BLK | 1.3 TOV | .433 FG% | .714 FT%

    Without question, James Johnson has the most outrageous contract on the Heat.  The Heat went bonkers in the 2017 offseason and signed Johnson, Dion Waiters, and Olynyk to deals that they did not deserve. These deals are going to cause problems for the Heat, but Johnson’s could be the most problematic.  Johnson is making $15,349,400 in the 2019-20 season and $16,047,100 in the 2020-21 season since he will obviously opt in with the amount of money he is making.

    Johnson never in his career averaged more than 9.1 points per game before going to the Heat in the 2016-17 season.  In that season, he averaged 12.8 points on 47.9% shooting.  The Heat blindly gave him a 3-year, $43 million contract despite him being 30 years old and averaging just under 13 points per game.  Although Draymond Green is worth a $20 million per year contract despite averaging just 7.4 points per game this season, Johnson is not Green and does not bring nearly the same skill set that he does.  Johnson averaged just over one steal and one block per game in that season, with 4.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists.

    His 2016-17 season was great, but the contract that they gave him has put the organization in a horrible position.  No one will want to take on that contract, which leaves them with his contract, Waiters’ contract, Olynyk’s contract, Whiteside’s contract and Anderson’s contract that are clogging up the cap space.

    On top of all the contract issues, Johnson played well below his ADP and had a bad season overall.  He was limited to 55 games due to a left shoulder sprain and a hernia.  He regressed significantly and will likely be limited to a role player position for the remainder of his time with the Heat. Johnson should be a deep-league option at best heading into next season after a disappointing 2018-19 campaign, though if a ton of things break his way he’s got a multi-cat game that’s worth remembering.

    Dion Waiters

    ADP: N/A/141 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 279/285 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 199/223 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 44

    2018-19 averages: 44 G | 25.9 MP | 12.0 PTS | 2.5 3PM | 2.7 REB | 2.8 AST | 0.7 STL | 0.2 BLK | 1.5 TOV | .413 FG% | .500 FT%

    If James Johnson’s contract is not the worst on the Heat, Dion Waiters’ contract could potentially take that crown.  He is set to make $12,100,000 in the 2019-20 season and $12,650,000 in the 2020-21 season before he becomes a free agent.  The Heat got overly excited about a phenomenal run he had in the 2016-17 season and offered him a 4-year, $52 million deal.

    Aside from scoring the ball, Waiters does not bring much to the court and he barely even brings himself to the court as he has combined for 120 games in the past three seasons. Of course, injuries can’t be blamed on the player.  However, the Heat offered him that contract after he had a 46-game season for them, so they should not be surprised that he has combined for just 74 games since he signed the contract.

    An ankle injury — the same one that affected him last year — limited him to just 44 games this season.  It will be quite difficult to dump that contract, but the Heat are likely going to try to move it.

    Waiters has never averaged fewer than 25.9 minutes per game in his career, so he should be a role player wherever he ends up.  Regardless, there is a great chance that he will be a relegated to deep-league scoring like he was this season.

    Derrick Jones Jr.

    ADP: N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 259/242 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 252/242 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 60

    2018-19 averages: 60 G | 19.2 MP | 7.0 PTS | 0.5 3PM | 4.0 REB | 0.6 AST | 0.8 STL | 0.7 BLK | 0.7 TOV | .492 FG% | .607 FT%

    After a solid rookie season and a tough sophomore campaign, Jones Jr. improved quite a bit in his third year in the NBA.  Between illnesses, migraines, a right knee bone bruise and a hamstring injury, Jones was limited to just 60 games.  He started 14 games for the Heat and set new career-highs in points, rebounds, assists, 3-point percentage and blocks.  He is known for his ability to soar through the air for dunks, but Jones actually brings some solid skills on both ends of the floor that could make him a solid role player for years to come.

    He is just 21 years old, so there is definitely time for him to grow and turn into a starter level player or better.  However, he is seemingly on the track of career role player until he can develop more on the offensive end of the floor.  He will likely go undrafted in next year’s drafts, but the Heat could see a very different roster come next season so it is anyone’s guess what Jones’ role will be.

    Ryan Anderson

    ADP: N/A/140 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 443/448 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 473/480 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 25

    2018-19 averages: 25 G | 12.9 MP | 2.5 PTS | 0.4 3PM | 2.2 REB | 0.8 AST | 0.2 STL | 0.0 BLK | 0.6 TOV | .304 FG% | .750 FT%

    Anderson was a huge disappointment in the 2018-19 NBA season.  He was given a ridiculous 4-year, $80 million contract prior to the 2016-17 season that has haunted whichever team he is on.  He was traded from the Rockets to the Suns prior to this season and expected to start, but he failed horribly in his starting opportunity and became a benchwarmer after 15 games.  Later in the season, he was traded to Miami, so the Heat are now stuck with his contract for the 2019-20 NBA season.  Anderson will likely not have a role in the Heat rotation next season and should go undrafted come draft day.

    Duncan Robinson

    ADP: N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 450/443 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 451/443 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 15

    2018-19 averages: 15 G | 10.7 MP | 3.3 PTS | 0.7 3PM | 1.3 REB | 0.3 AST | 0.3 STL | 0.0 BLK | 0.3 TOV | .391 FG% | .667 FT%

    Duncan Robinson went undrafted out of the University of Michigan in the 2018 NBA Draft and signed a two-way contract with the Miami Heat.  He was a 25-year-old rookie, so the odds of development into a starter level player are unlikely.  However, his ability as a sharpshooter garnered attention and helped convert his two-way contract into a standard deal.

    He averaged 21.4 points per game on 48.3% shooting from beyond the arc for the Heat’s G-League team, the Sioux Falls Skyforce. He recorded 15 points in the final game of the NBA season as he got extended run, but his overall season was unimpressive.  He may have a role someday as a role player strictly for shooting, but there will need to be some growth in his game before that comes to fruition.

    Doctor’s Orders

    As I stated earlier, the Miami Heat appear to be stuck in NBA limbo.

    To be honest, there is little to nothing that they can do this offseason that would make them have a brighter future.  The best option would be finding any teams that would take James Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, Hassan Whiteside, Ryan Anderson, Goran Dragic, and/or Dion Waiters.  They have no cap space until 2020, which Pat Riley has already stated is the year that they expect to make a splash and become a powerhouse again.

    Next season will ultimately be the same as this season, which was fighting for a playoff spot in the East because they are too good to tank and not good enough to compete for the NBA title.  The Heat will have a boring 2019-20 season where I expect them to finish somewhere around a 41-41 record and 8th seed in the East.

    The 2020 offseason should be interesting and a turning point for the franchise.  The Heat will lose almost all of the contracts that they have now, so they will be able to pursue two big free agents in a class could potentially have a ton of stars.  Until that point, the Heat should focus on trying to unload the contracts they have for second-round picks in the hopes of adding a decent free agent to a one-year deal that could help their team compete in the short-run.  Among the possible options are Bojan Bogdanovic, Marcus Morris, JJ Redick and Rudy Gay, though they’re likely all too pricey and should command longer term than Miami would want.  Aside from that, there is really nothing the Heat can do this offseason that would help them reach NBA title level by next season.

    The Heat should focus on developing Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, and Bam Adebayo for next season so they can attract big free agents to come play with them in 2020.  The class could include Anthony Davis, Draymond Green, Andre Drummond, Jaylen Brown, Kyle Lowry, Ben Simmons, Pascal Siakam and Kristaps Porzingis, who could all be enticed to join a young core that is up-and-coming. Also, the Heat have a great fan base and Miami as a location is a turning point for some players. It doesn’t seem like most of those guys will get to the market, but you never know.

    The Heat have a bright future ahead of them, but for the time being they are trapped in the cycle of mediocrity.

Fantasy News

  • Jonah Bolden
    PF, Philadelphia Sixers

    Jonah Bolden has opted to withdraw from Team Australia in the FIBA World Cup.

    Bolden becomes the fifth NBA player to skip out on playing for Australia in the World Cup, a trend that seems to be prevalent for several country's national teams. Bodlen could be looking at an increased role as a backup center for Philly's thin bench this upcoming season. He is not expected to be a relevant fantasy option though.

    Source: Fox Sports Australia

  • Jeremy Lin
    PG, Toronto Raptors

    Jeremy Lin is in advanced discussions with the Bejing Ducks according to a report from Chinese journalist Sonx Xiang.

    Lin previosuly turned down a deal to play for CSKA Moscow, and has also discussed his openness to playing in China. The nine year guard still hopes to resmue his NBA career at some point, but a move to China may be the best career option for him at this juncture.

    Source: Sportando

  • Dwight Howard
    C, Memphis Grizzlies

    The Lakers will soon ask Memphis permission to speak with Dwight Howard according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

    Shams goes on to mention that there is mutual interest here and that Joakim Noah could be another veteran of interest for LA. The realistic options for free agents at the five really don't go much further than these two for the Lakers. Stay tuned for more updates on this developing story.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Dwight Howard
    C, Memphis Grizzlies

    In the wake of the DeMarcus Cousins injury, one name the Lakers are considering is Dwight Howard, according to Rohan Nadkarni of Sports Illustrated.

    Howard is still a member of the Memphis Grizzlies, but it is widely assumed that he will be waived before the season starts. A reunion in LA would certainly be pretty surprising for the Lakers after Howard famously did not resign with them after a miserable season playing with Kobe Bryant. Still, the Lakers need depth at the five and there really aren't any options on the market who compare to Howard's level of productivty, even at this stage of his career. Other center options the Lakers could pursue include Joakim Noah, Kenneth Faried and Zaza Pachulia.

    Source: Rohan Nadkarni on Twitter

  • Malachi Richardson
    SG, International

    Malachi Richardson has signed with Hapoel Holon in Israel.

    Richardson played 22 games for the Raptors last season and averaged 1.4 points. At 23 years old, he still has time to develop and possibly return to the NBA in the future.

    Source: Sportando

  • Rudy Gobert
    C, Utah Jazz

    Rudy Gobert scored 14 points along with nine rebounds, two assists and a block in France's 86-72 win vs. Brazil in the World Cup exhibition games.

    Gobert led the team in scoring across 22 minutes of playing time. With the new additions of Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic on the Jazz, Gobert may take a slight hit in scoring however you can still expect excellent field goal percentage, rebounds and blocks. Evan Fournier chipped in 13 points with five rebounds, three assists and a steal for France. Brazil's Bruno Cabloclo scored nine points, seven rebounds and a steal.

    Source: FIBA

  • Dennis Schroder
    PG, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Dennis Schroder scored 19 points to lead Germany to a 83-62 win vs. Hungary as the teams prepare for the Wold Cup.

    Schroder filled the box score tonight by adding three rebounds, seven assists, one steal, one block and four treys. He will come off the bench again next season behind Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Anyone who drafts the often-injured Chris Paul may want to handcuff him with Schroder. Fellow countryman Daniel Theis scored 11 points with six rebounds, two assists and one steal.

    Source: FIBA

  • Tyler Dorsey
    SG, International

    Tyler Dorsey has signed with Maccabi Tel Aviv B.C. of Israel.

    Dorsey played 21 games for the Grizzlies last year after being acquired midseason from the Hawks via trade. He played well over that span with 9.8 points in 21.3 minutes but will take his talents overseas where, "He'll have a chance to showcase what great things he can do," according to his new head coach. Maccabi has signed several former NBA players this offseason as Dorsey will be joining Omri Casspi, Nate Wolters, Quincy Acy and Tarik Black.

    Source: Macabi Tel Aviv on Twitter

  • Rayjon Tucker
    PG, Milwaukee Bucks

    Rayjon Tucker will be signing with the Bucks on a partially guaranteed deal.

    Tucker is a little older than most rookies and will be 22 before the start of the season but he played well enough at Little Rock last year to deserve a look, scoring 20.3 points per game and knocking down 2.4 triples per game at a 41.1 percent clip. He rounds out the Bucks 20-man training camp roster but since they already have 15 guaranteed contracts and both two-way spots occupied, he is very unlikely to make the team and could very well end up in the G-League.

    Source: Darren Wolfson on Twitter

  • De'Aaron Fox
    PG, Sacramento Kings

    Per Chris Hayes of Yahoo, De'Aaron Fox will be withdrawing from the FIBA World Cup in order to focus on the upcoming season.

    Fox follows the trend set by many other players that have withdrawn for the same reason. Maybe this is related to him only playing six minutes in the exhibition against Spain on Friday but either way, he should be in line to improve last year's huge leap in production and could even be in the All-Star conversation. Derrick White is much more likely to make the final roster now with Fox out.

    Source: Chris Haynes on Twitter