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#pounditSaturday, June 25, 2022

Articles tagged: Miami Heat

Could Tyler Herro receive a max contract?

Tyler Herro

Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro struggled a bit as a rookie but improved as a sophomore. Now in his third year, he’s taken over as one of Miami’s most consistent players and late-game options.

Through 55 games this season, Herro averages 20.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. The points and assists per game are both early career highs, while his shooting percentage has also improved to .442%. And he’s still ascending.

That’s good news for Miami, who will soon have to make a decision of Herro’s future. He’s in line for a rookie contract extension this coming summer and it may cost the Heat a pretty penny to retain him beyond the 2022-2023 season.

Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report reports that rival executives and agents polled by B/R believe Herro may max out. That would mean a deal of five years and $184 million, but not everyone is sold on those numbers. Others anticipate the extension will be closer to Jaylen Brown’s recent deal — somewhere around the four-year, $106 million range.

Whatever the Heat ultimately decide to pay Herro — if anything — Miami’s front office will need to get a little creative. They’ll benefit from the extension not kicking in until after next season, but there will still be some financial issues to maneuver.

For Herro, the goal is simple: Continue to play well into the postseason and prove that he’s worthy of a big-money, long-term investment.

Heat willing to trade one of their best players?

Pat Riley

Despite their tremendous success this season, the Miami Heat may not be willing to turn one of their top players into a made man.

Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported Friday that league insiders believe that the Heat could potentially trade away guard phenom Tyler Herro if they see an opportunity to land another superstar player. Fischer adds that Herro is eligible for a lucrative contract extension this summer and that some rival executives and agents believe such an extension could approach Herro’s max of five years and $184 million.

The 22-year-old Herro has been a demolition man for Miami this season, slicing up defenses to the tune of 20.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game off the bench. Herro is also the clear frontrunner for Sixth Man of the Year and has been a key closer for the Eastern Conference-leading Heat.

But Herro’s rapid progression may possibly be pricing him out of Miami’s long-term range. While Herro will still be on his rookie deal through next season, the Heat have significant money invested in Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo through 2026. Duncan Robinson is also under contract through at least 2025, and Kyle Lowry is under contract through 2024. Furthermore, Fischer notes the presence of both Victor Oladipo and Caleb Martin adding depth to Miami’s guard situation, both of whom reportedly have interest in remaining with the team.

Granted, the Heat have previously indicated unwillingness to trade Herro, and one school of thought suggests that he could be the team’s long-term young pillar, along with the 24-year-old Adebayo. But the team did have some reported frustrations with Herro less than a year ago. Thus, Miami’s postseason performance with Herro this season will likely go a long way towards determining his ultimate future with them.

Photo: Steve Mitchell-USA Today Sports

Rapper J. Cole helped Heat land key player?

Rapper J. Cole looks on

The Toronto Raptors may have Drake in their corner, but the Miami Heat appear to have found a counter of their own.

Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer reported this week on how rapper J. Cole helped the Miami Heat land forward Caleb Martin, who has been a key piece for them this year. According to Boone, Cole has a private gym in North Carolina where top players in the state often play pickup basketball. Cole saw Martin, who had recently been released by the Charlotte Hornets, at one particular session this past offseason and was impressed by Martin’s shooting and athleticism.

Upon learning that Martin was still unsigned, Cole went to work trying to get him a deal, Boone says. Cole, who is well-connected in NBA circles, ending up contacting Miami Heat assistant coach Caron Butler.

“He had reached out to me and told me he had a very, very talented guy that was just wrecking shop up here in North Carolina and had just got released from the Hornets,” said Butler of Cole. “Obviously, we were still trying to improve on our talent. He reached out to me and I just invited [Martin] to an open scrimmage in the summer and from that point on [Martin] really earned his way on. But J. Cole having the foresight in knowing Caleb can come and help a contending team was just amazing.”

Boone’s article has other interesting tidbits on Martin, Cole, and how exactly the Heat signing materialized. You can read it in full here.

Martin has been a diamond in the rough for the East-leading Heat this year. He is averaging 9.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per contest and often earns crucial fourth-quarter minutes for Miami with his strong two-way play.

As for Cole, who is best known for his triple platinum album “2014 Forest Hills Drive,” he has a number of different fans in the NBA. Heat fans will be on that list too if Martin continues his excellent production into the playoffs.

Photo: February 15, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; American rapper J. Cole during NBA All Star Saturday Night at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Video: Did Erik Spoelstra cost Heat with late timeout?

Erik Spoelstra reacting

The Miami Heat lost a heartbreaker to the Toronto Raptors on Saturday, and many were discussing a decision that Heat coach Erik Spoelstra made late in the game.

The Heat and the Raptors played a game for the ages and ended up in double overtime. Miami got a stop with the game tied 114-114, and guard Gabe Vincent appeared to bank in a game-winning shot out of a scramble situation. The problem though was that Spoelstra called for timeout before Vincent shot it. Even the Heat announcers could not believe the timeout call.

Had Vincent’s shot counted, the Heat would have won the game. Instead, Tyler Herro missed a floater out of a set play following the timeout, and the game went into triple overtime. The Raptors went on to win 124-120 in the third overtime period, making for a gut-wrenching loss for the Heat.

Fans were quick to pin the blame on Spoelstra for the timeout call that went awry. But would Vincent’s shot even have counted?

You can actually check it for yourself using the stopwatch feature on your phone. Watch the video above and start your timer at the five-second mark on the game clock for a frame of reference. Then stop your timer when you see the ball leave Vincent’s hands.

We tried it for ourselves and did so three times to try to be as accurate as possible. Our results were 5.24 seconds, 5.13 seconds, and 5.18 seconds. Keep in mind that, by our example, Vincent would have needed to get the ball out in under five seconds. That leads us to believe that the shot would not have counted, even if Spoelstra had let his team play it out.

Objectively speaking, Spoelstra’s decision was the right one as well. Calling a timeout allowed Spoelstra to get his best players on the floor and draw up an out-of-bounds play, something that he is one of the best in the NBA at. That is a much better plan than relying on a miracle shot in a chaotic transition sequence. Even if the decision did not work out in the end, you live by it because it is the right call strategically.

The Heat were playing on the second night of a back-to-back as part of a stretch of three games in four nights. That makes this loss, in triple overtime no less, particularly agonizing. But while bad timeouts by coaches have cost teams games before, the timeout by Spoelstra was probably not one of them.

2 NBA teams have interest in John Wall if he is bought out?

John Wall in a suit

John Wall has not played at all this season, but there are some teams that reportedly would have interest in him if he becomes a free agent.

Wall was traded by the Wizards to the Rockets in Dec. 2020. He played in 40 games for them that season before the sides agreed it would be best for him to move on. He hasn’t played at all this season.

But in a column published on Wednesday, NBA reporter Marc Stein said two teams would have interest in Wall if he becomes available.

Stein says the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat would have interest in Wall.

The Rockets would have to reach a buyout agreement with Wall for him to become a free agent. Wall is making $44.3 million this season and set to make $47.3 million next season.

Few teams would have interest in trading for Wall on that kind of salary. His best shot at playing for another team would be reaching a buyout and taking less money.

When he did play last season, Wall averaged 20.6 points and 6.9 assists per game. This is the second time we’ve heard him linked to the Clippers.

Photo: Nov 8, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) walks on the court after the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Heat could soon get unexpected boost to their lineup?

Erik Spoelstra

The Miami Heat are now the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference, and the good news may not end there for them.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported on Tuesday that Heat guard Victor Oladipo was moving around well during a “vigorous” recent practice session, hitting jumpers and running without any visible limp. The report adds that it would not be a surprise if Oladipo returned at some point in February, which was the original expectation of the Heat.

While the Heat may have been anticipating Oladipo’s return, this news likely comes as an unexpected development to rival teams and especially to fans, many of whom might have forgotten that Oladipo was even on the Heat.

The two-time All-Star Oladipo continues to recover from right quadriceps tendon surgery last May, his second such procedure in a two-and-a-half year span. He re-signed with the Heat on a one-year deal this past offseason and has largely gone off the radar as he rehabs. One of the last updates we heard about Oladipo came back in September (though it was a fairly positive one).

The 30-17 Heat look formidable right now and have six players averaging double-digit points per game this season. Oladipo almost certainly cannot be expected to recapture his prior All-Star form. But his return would give Miami even more depth (and could make this potential trade candidate more expendable as well).

Photo: Feb 20, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra on the sideline against the Atlanta Hawks in the second quarter at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Video: LeBron James flexed while down big to Heat

LeBron James flexing his muscles

LeBron James seemed to lack situational awareness during Sunday’s game.

The Los Angeles Lakers played the Miami Heat, and James got loose on back to-back possessions in the second quarter for a dunk as well an and-one basket. After the and-one, James made a point of flexing his muscles and pounding his chest.

What that video does not show you though was the score at the time. The Lakers were trailing the Heat 68-48, even after both of James’ baskets. In other words, James was flexing while down 20. Check out another angle.

Bam Adebayo, who was on the receiving end of the two James baskets, eventually got him back in the fourth quarter. Adebayo swatted a James layup attempt into the first row, as James pleaded in vain for a foul.

To the Lakers’ credit, they did mount a late comeback and “only” lost by a 113-107 final score. But it still goes down as an L and drops the Lakers back under .500 on the season. On the bright side though, at least James was able to have his moment in front of the cameras.

This kind of behavior is definitely typical for the ex-MVP James. Just a few days ago, he was boasting on Instagram after beating the NBA’s worst team.

Heat, Suns announcers trade barbs on Twitter

Pat Riley

There could be an interesting subplot to the upcoming Miami Heat-Phoenix Suns matchup on March 9.

Heat star Jimmy Butler got ejected from Wednesday’s win over the Portland Trail Blazers for screaming in the face of an official after an and-one.

Phoenix Suns announcer Eddie Johnson, who is the team’s television play-by-play analyst, tweeted a random shot at the Heat and their famed “Heat culture” in response to Butler’s ejection.

The Heat’s radio play-by-play guy, Jason Jackson, responded to Johnson’s post with a barb about all of the technical and flagrant fouls that the Suns have racked up themselves this season.

Johnson fired back by asking how Miami’s culture was any better than that of the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, or San Antonio Spurs.

It seems pretty odd that the Suns announcer Johnson would diss the Heat when the two teams were not even playing each other on Wednesday. But he might still be salty from the the last Heat-Suns game on Jan. 8. Miami won that game, which was played in Phoenix, by a 123-100 final, despite not having Butler and Bam Adebayo against a full-strength Phoenix team.

After that game, Johnson went after a Miami fan who was bragging about the win on Twitter and talking about “Heat culture.”

“I would call it LBJ, Shaq, D Wade, Riley and Spoelstra Culture,” Johnson wrote at the time. “Too bad the late arriving fans to game who stay in [the] bar at halftime and then rip teams when they win about Heat culture on Twitter are not on board yet about the meaning of a culture!”

There is not much history otherwise between the Suns and the Heat. That makes this the biggest beef between the two sides not involving a mascot.

H/T NBA Reddit

Photo: Steve Mitchell-USA Today Sports

Heat willing to trade surprising player?

Pat Riley

The Miami Heat are one of the best teams in the East this season at 28-16, but even they may be ready to cause a bit of chaos on the trade market.

Matt Moore of The Action Network reported on Wednesday that there is a belief around the league that the Heat could be open to trading sweet-shooting swingman Duncan Robinson.

Robinson just signed a new five-year, $90 million contract with Miami this past offseason. He has also been a staple in the Heat lineup over the last few seasons, emerging as one of the league’s top three-point threats and striking fear into the hearts of opponents during Miami’s 2020 Finals run especially.

But Robinson has regressed to 34.8 percent shooting from deep this season. Even worse is that teammate Max Strus, himself shooting 41.4 percent from deep, has taken Robinson’s spot in the starting lineup lately.

With Tyler Herro locked in as Miami’s sixth man and other Heat wings like Caleb Martin and Kyle Guy making cases for more playing time, that leaves Robinson looking a bit expendable. Thus, we can add a potential Robinson trade to the list of Heat rumors as the Feb. 10 trade deadline approaches.

Photo: Steve Mitchell-USA Today Sports

Giannis Antetokounmpo disses Heat over bubble run

Giannis Antetokounmpo warms up

Giannis Antetokounmpo won’t explicitly say that the Miami Heat won a Mickey Mouse conference title in 2020, but that seems to be what he thinks.

The Milwaukee Bucks star was interviewed this week by The Athletic’s Eric Nehm. In the interview, Antetokounmpo spoke on the 2020 Orlando bubble and dissed the Heat, who beat the Bucks in the second round that year.

“Year 7. Ended with Miami,” he said. “I don’t make excuses as an athlete, but it wasn’t a satisfying year for me because I felt like if it was a normal situation, it wouldn’t end up like that. But at the end of the day, I felt like Miami was built to be an NBA bubble team, you know?”

The Bucks lost to the Heat in five games during the bubble in what was a massive disappointment for Milwaukee. Miami then went on to win the East. The two teams met again during last year’s playoffs with the Bucks sweeping the Heat in the first round and eventually winning it all. This season, Miami is 28-16 while Milwaukee is not too far behind at 27-19.

Antetokounmpo can blame the bubble all he wants, but the Bucks were not championship material in 2020. They had a number of holes on their roster, which they were able to plug during the offseason. Milwaukee added players like Jrue Holiday, Bobby Portis, and PJ Tucker, all of whom ended up being massive contributors to their eventual 2021 title. They got their revenge on the Heat in the process, but Miami was hobbled by their extremely short offseason at the time.

This is not the first time the Heat have faced questions over the legitimacy of their Finals run, and they have offered a response to their doubters. Perhaps a rubber match against Milwaukee in this year’s playoffs would be the best way to settle the rivalry once and for all.

Photo: Oct 23, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) warms up before the game against the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports