Tag: Udonis Haslem

Erik Spoelstra

Heat try playing 6-on-5 (video)


Over the weekend, the Heat tried getting a little advantage.

And by tried, I mean “accidentally mismanaged their way into.”

Erik Spoelstra sent Henry Walker in for Udonis Haslem during Friday’s Miami-Washington game, but Haslem didn’t leave the court.

Playing 6-on-5, the Heat got an open 3-pointer for Shabazz Napier. They also got a technical foul.

Bradley Beal missed the free throw, but the Wizards still won, 99-97.

(hat tip: Matt Moore of CBSSports.com)

If Chris Bosh is out for season, what are Miami’s options? They’re not pretty.

Washington Wizards v Miami Heat

It’s not official yet, but if Chris Bosh does have a blood clot in his lung his season is over. His condition is not yet a life-threatening situation Heat coach Eric Spoelstra said Friday, but it is not something that can be ignored and just played through either. The doctors need to figure out how and why the clots are forming.

If Bosh is out for the rest of this season, what options does that leave Pat Riley and the Miami Heat?

It’s not pretty.

With Goran Dragic running the show they should still make the playoffs in East, but the team with a starting five who made teams near the top of the East a little nervous disappears. The Heat have gone from the team you’d want to avoid in the first round to “I hope we get them.”

Bosh is that important. He is averaging 21.1 points and seven rebounds a game this season, but more than that he is the key to the spacing of Maimi’s offense. He can post his defender up if you go too small on him, step out and hit from the perimieter (including the three) if you go too big on him. He moves the ball, he creates matchup problems, and he’s a fantastic pick-and-roll defending big. He’s an elite player.

You don’t just replace that.

Miami has Hassan Whiteside and his energy, and post game, will get more run; but he’s not the polished shooter and floor spacer that is Bosh. Miami will likely lean on more Udonis Haslem, who may knock down the occiassional midrange baseline jumper but most teams will be happy to let him take it. Miami can lean more on Chris Andersen, but the Birdman has not been the same this season.

In the short term, the Heat have called up D-League forward Henry Walker (you may remember him better as Bill Walker, he changed his name). They likely will make a push to sign free agent Andray Blatche once his season in China ends. Blatche can hit some midrange shots, but again most teams would live with that considering the other options on Miami’s offense.

The best plan, now that Dragic is in place, is to go small and fast — try to run teams into the ground. With athletes like Whiteside, Luol Deng, and even Dwyane Wade Miami can win some games playing at pace. At least regular season games. The playoffs are another matter.

Spoelstra and the Heat have no good options. You simply cannot replace Chris Bosh.

But next season, Miami could be very interesting. And dangerous.


Report: Heat offering two first-round picks for Goran Dragic

Goran Dragic, Luol Deng

Goran Dragic told the Suns he’s interested in signing with only the Lakers, Knicks or Heat this offseason.

That has Phoenix owner Robert Sarver fuming and the Kings slowly backing away.

It also has Miami interested.

Chris Broussard of ESPN:

This offer is not what it appears to be.

Because they owe the 76ers a first-round pick, the Heat could trade only their 2019 and 2021 first rounders together outright. they could also specify trading first rounders two and four years after send Philadelphia the pick, which would be 2017 and 2019 at the earliest. Phoenix, which has a stockpile of draft picks, might not mind the wait as much as other teams. But a delay in when the picks are conveyed could hinder the Suns’ ability to flip the picks later.

There’s also the matter of matching Dragic’s $7.5 million salary. The Heat can’t trade just picks for him, and many of the players they’d likely look to include – Chris Andersen, Josh McRoberts, Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem and Danny Granger – have multi-year contracts Phoenix would likely find unappealing. One player Miami could trade straight up for Dragic, Luol Deng, would probably swing this trade too far in favor of the Suns.

After all, even though Dragic said he’s willing to sign with the Heat, there’s no guarantee they keep him. They should be wary of giving up too much for a pending free agent.

How the Heat hurt themselves and Hassan Whiteside with his contract

New York Knicks v Miami Heat

Hassan Whiteside has made an incredible journey – from being heralded as a potential lottery pick to playing in Lebanon to producing like a star in the NBA.

Unfortunately for him, he can’t immediately capitalize on his success. Unfortunately for the Heat, they might not be positioned to keep him once he can.

The key issue: the absence of a team option in Whiteside’s contract.

The Heat – who were over the cap and had available only the minimum-salary exception, which can be for one or two seasons – signed Whiteside to a two-year minimum-salary contract in November. The second season is partially guaranteed. Whiteside’s 2015-16 salary becomes $122,669 guaranteed July 1, $245,337 guaranteed Aug. 1 and fully guaranteed when training camp begins.

That’s a perfectly reasonable contract outline for a player like Whiteside.

He hadn’t played in the NBA in two years, so any contract – even a minimum deal – would have appealed to him. Therefore, Miami, holding leverage, fairly sought a cheap second season with no money automatically guaranteed. That way, the Heat would be rewarded for taking a chance on Whiteside if he exceeded minimum-salary production. And if he didn’t, it wouldn’t cost them anything.

After the second season of the contract, Whiteside will become an unrestricted free agent. That’s because there are only a couple conditions where a team can make a player a restricted free agent by extending a qualifying offer:

1. First-round picks coming off the fourth season of their rookie-scale contract

2. All players with three or fewer seasons of experience

Whiteside, a former second rounder who played for the Kings in 2010-11 and 2011-12, will have four seasons of experience after his current contract expires.

The only way the Heat could have made Whiteside a restricted free agent is making him a free agent after this season. There are two ways a team can make a player under contract a free agent – waiving him and declining his team option.

Unguaranteed seasons and team options are (too) often described interchangeably, but there are differences – and one is very relevant here.

If the Heat want to make Whiteside a free agent this summer, they must waive him. Of course, that would never happen – nor work. Every team would jump at the chance to claim Whiteside and inherit the final season of his minimum contract before he ever hit the open market.

But if Whiteside had a team option, Miami could have declined it and make him a free agent without going on waivers. With just three years of experience at that point, he’d be a restricted free agent.

Partial or unguaranteed seasons are not mutually exclusive with team options. The Heat could have kept the escalating guarantees in Whiteside’s contract and added a team option to give themselves another way of making him a free agent in case he blew up (which he has).

This is what the Rockets did with Chandler Parsons. Parsons began his career on a four-year contract with a final season that was both unguaranteed and contained a team option. The Rockets declined the team option to make Parsons a restricted free agent last summer. (That they declined to use their matching rights and let Parsons leave for the Mavericks is another story.)

There’s a key difference between Parsons and Whiteside, though. The Rockets, because they had him for three years, held Parson’s full Bird Rights. If Whiteside had a team option, the Heat would have only his Non-Bird Rights if they declined it and made him a free agent this summer.

Full-Bird Rights allow a team to exceed the cap to re-sign a player to a deal that begins up to his max salary, contains raises up to 7.5% raises and is up to five years long. That’s more than any outside team can offer, so it was impossible for Parsons to sign an offer sheet the Rockets couldn’t match. That they didn’t match Dallas’ was their choice.

Non-Bird Rights, technically a form of Bird Rights, allow a team to re-sign a player for 120% his previous salary or his minimum salary. Since Whiteside is making so little now, the Heat would have been able to offer him a starting salary of only $1,177,618 next summer (with up to 4.5% raises on a contract up to four years). Anything more would have required cap space.

Another team could sign Whiteside to an offer sheet worth up to the max salary. The Gilbert Arenas Provision applies for only players with one or two years experience, so that’s not a factor here, meaning neither are back-loaded contracts like Houston gave Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin. If an offer sheet exceed  what they could pay with their Non-Bird Rights – which it surely would – the Heat would not have had an opportunity to match unless they’d already cleared the requisite cap space.

The Heat don’t project to have space, though, let alone enough to match a big deal for Whiteside. They already have $69,632,912 committed to Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade (player option), Luol Deng (player option), Chris Andersen, Josh McRoberts, Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem, Danny Granger (player option) and Shabazz Napier. Those nine players alone take Miami above the projected salary cap of $66.5 million.

So, it’s quite possible the Heat wouldn’t have declined Whiteside’s team option even if they had given themselves the opportunity.

But by letting his two-year contract run out, Miami still must probably be cap-conscious to re-sign him.

After next season, the Heat hold Whiteside’s Early Bird Rights. Those allow the Miami to re-sign Whiteside on a two-to-four year contract that – using estimated figures until the NBA determines the average salary in 2015-16 – starts up to $5,885,440 and is worth up to$26,190,208 over four years. Anything more would require cap space.

If Whiteside keeps playing like this, he’ll definitely get bigger offers.

Bosh ($25,289,390 guaranteed) and McRoberts ($6,021,175  player option) are Miami’s only commitments in 2016-17. With the salary cap set to spike under the new national-TV contracts, the Heat should have plenty of flexibility to keep Whiteside.

But, if he continues to play like a star, Miami won’t have an will have only a limited advantage in re-signing him. A 27-year-old center who protects the rim and cleans the glass with his eye-popping length and athleticism and adds an efficient scoring touch could fetch max offers. Again, anything more than $5,885,440 would require the Heat to use cap space to re-sign Whiteside, meaning they can offer the exact same contract as all the other teams using cap space to pursue Whiteside.


Update: As Nate Duncan of Basketball Insiders pointed out, the Heat can offer 7.5 percent annual raises, even if they use cap space to re-sign Whiteside. Other teams are limited to 4.5 percent. Like other teams, though, the Heat can still offer just four years. Miami also can’t pay Whiteside a starting salary of more than the projected $5,885,440 without using cap space.


Might it have been easier to clear salary before this July and make Whiteside a restricted free agent? Even if Miami doesn’t want to dump Andersen, Chalmers, McRoberts and/or even Deng, the cost doesn’t seem so high if it would have meant keeping a young and productive big man like Whiteside.

Instead, the Heat literally never gave themselves that option, and Whiteside will have to wait another season to get paid. Now, it’s more likely to be by another team.

Kings filed protest after controversial loss to Grizzlies

Sacramento Kings v Phoenix Suns

The Kings lost a heart-breaker in Memphis on Thursday, after Vince Carter found Courtney Lee for an alley-oop reverse layup that the referees ruled was made before the final buzzer sounded.

But Sacramento didn’t see it that way.

Not only do the Kings believe that the shot should have been waved off due to there being only three tenths of a second remaining before the inbounds pass (meaning there couldn’t have been enough time for Lee to catch and shoot the way that he did), but they also think that the pass was tipped by Ryan Hollins before it landed in Lee’s hands.

If the ball was tipped, time would have expired, and the Kings would have come away with the victory.

Because there are two separate instances here where Sacramento feels it was wronged, the organization has filed a protest with the league office.

From Bill Herenda of CSN Bay Area:

Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro confirmed to Comcast SportsNet CA Kings filed protest regarding Memphis game & “feels strongly” about it

And from Sam Amick of USA Today:

Kings protested result based on alleged Ryan Hollins tip AND claim that Lee didn’t get shot off in time. No verdict yet from the NBA.

Unlikely they win, but Kings are pushing the protest – which costs $10k to do – out of principle, if nothing else.

Speaking of principle, that’s as good a reason as any for the NBA to deny the protest. Not only did the Kings blow a 26-point lead, but they hit two extremely low-percentage shots during the contest, as well. Enough went Sacramento’s way in this one; despite the controversial ending, the Kings have only themselves to blame for this loss.

The NBA last granted a protest back in 2008, but the circumstances were far less subjective than they are in this particular case.

The Heat protested the game because, with 51.9 seconds remaining in overtime, the Hawks’ scoring table personnel incorrectly disqualified the Heat’s Shaquille O’Neal – asserting that a foul committed by O’Neal was his sixth foul of the game, when in fact it was only his fifth. The error occurred because the Hawks’ Official Scorer mistakenly attributed to O’Neal a foul at 3:24 remaining in the fourth period that was actually called against the Heat’s Udonis Haslem.

NBA Commissioner David Stern found that the Hawks were grossly negligent in committing this scoring error, since they failed to follow league-mandated scoring procedures and failed to respond effectively when the members of the statisticians’ crew noticed the mistake. Because of this conduct by Atlanta’s personnel, Miami suffered a clear competitive disadvantage, as O’Neal – the Heat’s second leading scorer and rebounder that night – was removed from a one-point game with only 51.9 seconds remaining. Under this unprecedented set of circumstances, the Commissioner granted the Heat’s protest, and fined the Hawks $50,000 for their violation of league rules.

The result was a double-header of sorts two months later, where those final 51.9 seconds were replayed before a full game was played afterward as scheduled The irony, of course, is that O’Neal wasn’t even involved, because he had been traded to Phoenix before the replayed contest took place.

It would be difficult to see how the league could rule in the Kings’ favor here. There doesn’t appear to have been a similar level of “gross negligence” by anyone in Memphis, and the video evidence seems inconclusive, at best.