Report: As expected, Dion Waiters opts out of $3.2 million with Heat to become free agent

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Dion Waiters earned himself a raise with his play last season in Miami.

The Heat may well give it to him, but first this had to happen: He opted out of his contract for next season with the team, reports Chris Haynes of ESPN.

Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters intends to decline his 2017-18 player option to enter unrestricted free agency on July 1, league sources tell ESPN.

Waiters, 25, will turn down an option worth a little more than $3.2 million. His consistent production this past season bodes well for a considerable salary increase….

He had a breakout season under head coach Erik Spoelstra. In his lone season with the Heat, Waiters registered career highs in rebounds (3.3), assists (4.3) and 3-point percentage (40%). His 15.8 points per game average was the third highest on the team and his second highest career mark.

This was expected, one way or another he’s in for a big raise.

Waiters scoring was a key part of Miami’s 30-11 second half of the season, and he has said he wants to return to the Heat (and indications are the Heat want to sign him).

The questions are: How sustainable was his play last season, and how many years do teams want to be locked into him for?

Miami got Waters in the best shape of his life (just check out his Instagram), and that certainly was a part of it. So was the fact that, especially after Justise Winslow went down, Waiters got the ball in his hands more with a chance to create for himself. Miami may not be the only team willing to give him a lot of touches.

There will be teams interested in Waiters in the $8 million to $10 million range, maybe a little more. For a two guard who can score and is a solid defender, that’s a good deal.

Expect Miami to pay the most as, unless they luck out with a Blake Griffin/Gordon Hayward level signing, they will run back last year’s roster and count on the second half of the season not being a fluke. Same with Waiters’ success.