Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Udonis Haslem’

Revamped Heat Roster Maintains Youthful Core, Flexibility for 2017

July 11th, 2016 1 comment
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someone

I ask that you please not copy my work or ideas without providing proper credit. It feels rather awful to continue having to ask this favor, but I have specific reason to believe it continues to happen. 

The Miami Heat initiated its post-Dwyane Wade transition by completing a flurry of moves in rapid-fire succession on Sunday, the timing of which dictated by the man potentially set to replace him and the execution of which pursued with a singular goal in mind.

Pat Riley has always dreamed big. In the past 12 years, he has acquired Shaquille O’Neal and LeBron James — arguably the NBA’s two greatest post-Michael-Jordan era players — and paired them with Wade to secure the franchise’s five NBA finals appearances and three titles.

Title aspirations are standard course for Riley and owner Micky Arison. It represents the foundation for everything they do. How they think. How they plan. How they negotiate, even if the parameters for negotiation ultimately lead to the loss of a franchise icon.

Facing the potential overwhelming loss of the team’s most critical ever player, Riley and Arison were unwilling to concede so much in their negotiation with Wade as to paralyze their team’s ability to build a title contender. They believe the Heat is currently in a better position to succeed than would have been the case if they were to have met Wade’s demands. They believe they have compiled a solid core of multi-talented youngsters in guards Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson, forward Justise Winslow and center Hassan Whiteside. They believe they have a potentially perfect, floor-spacing frontcourt compliment to Whiteside in Chris Bosh, assuming health. And they believe they have a strong lead guard in Goran Dragic to spearhead the charge.

They may be right.

Johnson will compete with Richardson for the starting shooting guard role (a battle which he’ll win to start the season, with Richardson still sidelined with a partially torn medial collateral ligament). But, perhaps more importantly, he also serves as insurance against a lack of development from Winslow.

In his first season, Winslow showed great promise as a defender. But his offense at times proved to be so limited that defenders constantly sagged away from him, often effectively relegating the Heat to playing four-on-five basketball. If he improves his shooting, he could quickly become one of the Heat’s most vital players. If he doesn’t, his future as a starter could quickly be jeopardized.

Imagine, for a moment, a Dragic – Johnson – Richardson – Bosh – Whiteside unit.

In an offense system designed to capitalize upon it, what was once a shocking inability to space the floor – predicated largely on the always imperfect backcourt tandem of Wade and Dragic — could now be considered a strength. And depending upon where Richardson – who led the entire NBA in three-point shooting percentage after the All-Star Break, at 53 percent – and Johnson – who shot 41 percent on three-pointers last season (excluding heaves), despite often being miscast on offense as a point guard — level off with their shooting, a potentially big one at that.

That type of shooting could provide Whiteside — now a franchise cornerstone with his four-year, $96.4 million contract secured – the much-coveted floor-spacing into which to maneuver.

At 7-feet, 265-pounds, and with a ridiculous 7-foot-7-inch wingspan, Whiteside alters the geometry of the game. His individual statistics last season were silly – 17.6 points (on 60.6 percent shooting), 14.7 rebounds and 4.6 blocks per 36 minutes played. And he did it despite constantly having two, three, and sometimes four defenders draped all over him every time he tried to touch the ball. Because why not collapse at even the hint of danger? Who’s going to hurt you from the perimeter if you do? Not Wade.

This Heat team may well have lost its best player, but it will be fast in transition and it will look to capitalize upon a type of floor spacing it has never before had in the half court.

Imagine what Whiteside could do in an offense that spaced the floor around him. Is it so preposterous to imagine he could become one of the best, and most efficient, scorers in the whole of the NBA?

Is it so preposterous to envision a constant stream of Whiteside pick-and-rolls, Bosh pick-and-pops, and swished three-pointers when defenders rotate away from Heat shooters to try to stop it?

Is it so preposterous to imagine that with Whiteside down low; Bosh, Richardson and Johnson to space the floor around him; and Dragic’s speed and Winslow’s defense thrown into the mix; that the team, despite the absence of Wade – it’s leader and, perhaps more importantly, it’s closer — could still be a force with which to be reckoned?

Is it so preposterous to imagine that while it might struggle on offense at times with the absence of its most reliable crunch-time scorer, its defense will be undeniably improved without him?

Is it so preposterous to imagine that the addition of one elite player could have it competing for titles? Riley surely believes it.

But how do you get that elite player?

With Wade’s departure, the Heat found itself with just $19 million in salary cap space left to be spent on any one player, not nearly enough to grab an elite contributor, if even he were willing and available. It simply wasn’t going to happen this summer.

That, in turn, made Riley’s goal for filling out the roster crystal clear: Maintain maximum flexibility for the summer of 2017.  Read more…

Heat Rounds Out Its Roster With A Flurry of Questionable Moves

July 11th, 2016 No comments
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someone

In the wake of certain posts that appeared just after I sent this series of tweets, I have pulled out the following paragraphs from this earlier post in order to highlight some specific thoughts I presented in a broader post written on July 11, 2016. Virtually this entire post can be found word for word in my previous post (with only a few very minor modifications so as to make it a stand-alone piece). 

The Miami Heat initiated its post-Dwyane Wade transition by completing a flurry of questionable moves in rapid-fire succession on Sunday, the timing of which dictated by the man would could potentially replace him.

Tyler Johnson, who was on the books at just $1.2 million (the amount of his qualifying offer) to start the summer, signed a four-year, $50 million offer sheet with the Brooklyn Nets on July 7th.

Johnson’s official execution of his offer sheet served as the trigger upon which the team’s entire summer was based. It provided the Heat three days, until midnight Sunday, to decide whether to match it and retain him.

The Nets (in accordance with NBA rules) structured the contract to make it more difficult for the Heat to match, which would produce cap hits of $19.2 million in each of the last two seasons. Johnson will receive $5.6 million the first year and $5.9 million the second year. The Nets attempted to make the contract as poisonous as possible, also attaching a 15 percent trade bonus which would take effect if the Heat were to subsequently try to trade the contract down the road.

The question, then, becomes: Why would Johnson have signed it?

Johnson had reportedly met with the Heat organization in the hours leading up to his signing the offer sheet with Brooklyn. What they discussed, and why he ultimately signed the offer sheet, is still unclear.

Had he chosen not to sign the offer sheet and instead sign with the Heat outright, it could have leveraged a portion of its $19 million of remaining cap room to provide him the same $50 million payout, but in a more standardized way (say, $12.5 million per season).

That, in turn, would seemingly have benefited all parties. For the Heat, it would’ve meant smoother cap hits with no poisonous back end, and no rush to try to match anything. For the Nets, it would’ve provided immediate clarity, and eliminated the need to tie up $12.5 million of cap space for three valuable days (i.e., the Nets, by rule, were required to maintain cap space equal to the average value of the offer sheet from the moment it was signed to the moment the Heat announced its decision on whether or not to match). For Johnson, it would’ve meant a more accelerated payout of equal money.

Nevertheless, Johnson signed it. Which necessitated that the Heat match, which, rightly or wrongly, it chose to do.

The only question then remaining: How would the Heat complete its roster in the wake of that decision, while keeping intact its primary goal to maintain maximum flexibility for the summer of 2017Read more…

Miami Heat Player-by-Player Overview

May 27th, 2016 1 comment
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someone

I have a request. I try to write posts which I believe are unique, in depth and insightful. I hope you agree. I therefore ask that you please not simply copy my work without providing proper credit. It feels rather awful to see my work being exploited. If just you ask, I am more than willing to help out anyone and everyone in any way I can (and do so on a regular basis behind the scenes).

The Miami Heat will start the summer with just six players under contract for the 2016-17 season – Chris Bosh, Goran Dragic, Josh McRoberts, Justise Winslow, Briante Weber and Josh Richardson. Those six players will cost a combined $49.8 million.

The remaining nine players will become free agents – Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Udonis Haslem, Hassan Whiteside, Gerald Green, Amare Stoudemire, Tyler Johnson, Joe Johnson and Dorell Wright. Those nine players will carry a combined $54.7 million in cap holds.

The Heat will therefore technically start the summer over the cap, with a team salary of $104.5 million against a projected salary cap of $92.0 million.

Here is a brief overview of how things can go from there for all 15 current Heat players.  Read more…

Miami Heat Create NBA-Record $55 Million in Potential Cap Space

June 29th, 2014 5 comments
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someone

Many years from now, Saturday, June 28, 2014, could be remembered as a critical day in Miami Heat history. It marks the day when guard Dwyane Wade and forwards Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem declared their intentions to join LeBron James and Chris Andersen in opting out of their contracts. It could ultimately mark the day in which the destruction of the Big Three era was initiated in earnest, or the day in which the remodeling of Pat Riley’s two-time championship-winning creation received a major boost.

Agent Henry Thomas, who represents all three players, has reportedly informed Heat president Pat Riley of their choices. Wade will exercise his Early Termination Option for the remaining two years and $41.8 million on his contract, Bosh will do the same for the two years and $42.7 million remaining on his contract, and Haslem will not exercise his player option for the lone season remaining on his $4.6 million contract.

Technically, there is no mechanism to notify the league that an option or ETO will not be exercised. Since the contracts of Wade and Bosh contain ETOs for this summer, they are required to inform the league of their intentions. Since Haslem’s contract contains a player option, he need do nothing but wait.

These actions, particularly in the wake of James, Wade and Bosh meeting last week on Miami Beach, make it rather clear that the Heat’s stars, as well as its supporting players, have decided to work together to provide the Heat the salary-cap flexibility with which to add additional components to a roster that earlier this month lost in the NBA Finals to the San Antonio Spurs, cutting spectacularly short the Heat’s bid for basketball immortality – four straight NBA Finals appearances and three straight NBA titles, a feat which has only been accomplished once in league history.

Without the opt-out decisions, the Heat would have gone into the offseason far in excess of what is projected to be a $63.2 million salary cap for the 2014-15 season, and without much ability to materially improve. Instead, the moves enable the Heat to create as much as an all-time NBA-record $55 million in cap space with which to reconfigure the roster(1).  Read more…

Did the Heat Turn Down An Evan Turner for Udonis Haslem Offer?

February 27th, 2014 No comments
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someone

It has been suggested that the Miami Heat were engaged by the Philadelphia 76ers with an interesting proposition at the Feb. 20 NBA trading deadline. It has been suggested that Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie proposed a trade to Heat general manager Pat Riley of Evan Turner, in exchange for Udonis Haslem and a future first round draft pick.

Riley reportedly rejected.

Did he do the right thing? Well, that’s for you to decide.

The Mechanics

Let’s get a couple things out of the way before we begin.

First, the rumored trade, as described, doesn’t work. It violates salary cap rules.

Taxpaying teams like the Heat can only take back up to 125% of their outgoing salaries, plus $100K, no matter how much salary the team is sending away.

Haslem makes $4.3 million this year. He can therefore only be traded for a player(s) who makes as much as $5.5 million. Turner makes $6.7 million.

When trades are rumored about, oftentimes only the vital components are leaked. The technical details are often either not yet established or not considered vital, and are therefore not leaked alongside the rest of the trade. If indeed this rumor is true, that may be what’s happened here, particularly because the solution is simple. If the Heat were to add an expiring contract to the deal – say, for example, Rashard Lewis – the trade would be legal.

Second, there’s the matter of the draft pick. The concept of including a first round draft pick is quite vague. When would that pick be conferred? What protections would be attached to it?

The Heat’s current predicament answers these questions, and quite nicely.  Read more…

Categories: Commentary Tags: ,

Everything is Done: How Did It All Happen?

July 17th, 2010 5 comments
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someone

The Miami Heat finished last season with 16 players under contract and a team salary far in excess of the salary cap. They then created enough salary cap room to sign everyone who is on the roster today. Now they are far in excess of the salary cap once again.

So how did it all happen? How did they manage to get so far below the salary cap and then above it again all in the same season? With creative financing!

Everything has now been finalized. It’s done. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown.

(Note: The actions below, in some cases, may be out of order. They have been structured so as to make evident the Heat’s thought process along the way, as well as to promote ease of reader comprehension. Full comprehension also requires an understanding of cap holds and roster charges, which are described in detail here.)

This is a snapshot of the Heat’s salary cap situation at the end of last season:

Read more…

A Story of Sacrifice for the Miami Heat

July 15th, 2010 No comments
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someone

The contracts are all signed. The final numbers are all in.

We now know exactly how much each member of the Big Three sacrificed, why exactly they sacrificed, and where exactly the savings went.

Each member of the Big Three was eligible for a maximum salary of $16.6 million in the first year of any new contract signed, whether it was with their prior teams or with anyone else. But while the starting salary was to be the same no matter where they signed, the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement gives the home team a financial advantage when it comes to re-signing its own players. The home team is eligible to offer his player one more year (six instead of five) and bigger annual raises (10.5% of the first year salary instead of 8%).

Sign-and-trade transactions capitalize on this concept, in that they allow the to-be-traded player to be technically signed by his home team, and then be immediately traded to his new team. Pat Riley structured sign-and-trade transactions with both the Raptors (for Bosh) and Cavaliers (for James). No maneuvering for Wade was necessary because the Heat is already his home team.

The Heat’s trade partners were willing to accommodate the Heat, but only at a very steep cost. To the Raptors, the Heat sent its 2011 first round pick and returned the first round pick previously acquired from the Jermaine O’Neal trade in February 2009. To the Cavaliers, the Heat sent its 2013 and 2015 first round picks, gave Cleveland the option to swap first round picks in 2012, as well as a pair of second round picks. In total, the Heat surrendered four first round picks and two second round picks over the next five years to make the sign-and-trades happen.

The sign-and-trade approach increased the total potential value of the contracts of each of Bosh and James. Without the sign-and-trade approach, each would have been eligible for a five-year contract, starting at $16.6 million with annual raises of up to 8% of the starting salary, totaling $96.1 million. With the sign-and-trade approach, each player, and Wade, became eligible for a six-year contract, starting at $16.6 million with annual raises of up to 10.5% of the starting salary, totaling $125.5 million.

Each player then gave back a portion of that increase to accommodate the contracts of Miller, Haslem and other such things. The Big Three took discounts in order to accommodate the following:  Read more…

Udonis Haslem Re-Signs with Miami Heat

July 12th, 2010 11 comments
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someone

Udonis Haslem is staying with the Miami Heat.

Haslem signed a five-year, $20 million contract on Monday, roughly $13 million less than he could have received if he accepted more lucrative offers elsewhere.

Haslem had been heavily pursued in recent days. The Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks each reportedly offered him a five-year, $33 million mid-level exception contract over the weekend, and the New Jersey Nets offered three years and $20 million last week. He also received interest from the Utah Jazz, New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks. But every team that showed interest in him did so with pessimism that he could be lured away from Miami.

A week ago, Haslem expected he would sign elsewhere, but then the combination of a $58.044 million salary cap ($2 million more than expected) and the decisions by Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh to take less money made it possible for him to stay where he wanted.

The salary cap maneuvering which allowed for the possibility was orchestrated by Wade, when he approached Bosh and James to suggest they all take less money, specifically to re-sign Haslem.

The three had already agreed to reduce their starting salaries by $3.5 million to accommodate the contract of Mike Miller. They split the discount evenly, with each player reducing his starting salary by around $1.2 million, which equated to a $9 million sacrifice per player over the course of their six year deals.

Wade requested that they reduce their starting salaries by another $3.0 million to accommodate the contract of Haslem. James and Bosh obliged, with Wade taking a disproportionate share of that discount. Wade reduced his starting salary a further $1.2 million ($9 million over six years) to accommodate Haslem, while James and Bosh reduced their salaries a further $900K ($7 million over six years).

The sacrifices of Wade, James and Bosh enabled the Heat to create an extra $3.5 million of cap room, which the Heat then offered to Haslem as a full five-year contract with maximum allowable raises, totaling $20 million. Haslem then finished it off by agreeing to the deal with Miami that will pay him $13 million, or nearly 40%, less than he could have earned elsewhere.

“I would be changing my DNA if I left just for money,” he said.  Read more…

Categories: Commentary Tags:

Getting Creative With Udonis Haslem

July 10th, 2010 No comments
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someone

You may know that on Wednesday, the league announced the salary cap for the 2010-11 NBA season was set at $58.044 million.

What you may not know is that the Miami Heat entered the summer with a team salary of $89.7 million.

That’s because, according to league rules, all of a team’s free agents continue to count against the salary cap, at predetermined levels called “free agent amounts.”

Free agent amounts are designed to address a salary cap loophole whereby a team utilizes all of its cap space to sign outside free agents and then circles back to its own free agents utilizing their Bird rights, which allow teams to exceed the cap to re-sign their own players.

The rules use a player’s current status (type of free agent, whether coming off a rookie contract, and previous salary) as a rough guideline to predict the amount the player is likely to receive in his next contract, and sets that amount aside in the form of a cap hold. The cap holds for players on minimum salary contracts are equal to the minimum salary for the upcoming season, but for all other players are between 120% and 300% of their previous salary (though they can never be greater than a player’s maximum salary).

Free agents continue to be included in team salary until one of the following three things happens:

  • The player signs a new contract with the same team. When this happens, the team salary reflects the player’s new salary rather than his cap hold.
  • The player signs with a different team. As soon as this happens, the player becomes his new team’s problem, and his salary no longer counts against his old team.
  • The team renounces the player. A renounced player no longer counts toward team salary, so teams use renouncement to gain additional cap room. But it comes at a cost. By renouncing a player, a team gives up its right to use the Bird exception to re-sign that player. Teams are still permitted to re-sign renounced players, but only with cap room or an exception other than Bird rights.

To create the cap space necessary to acquire the contracts of LeBron James and Chris Bosh, each with a starting salary at $14.5 million, the Heat had to reduce its team salary from $89.7 million all the way down to at least $29.0 million below the $58.044 million cap. Anticipating that need, the Heat on Wednesday renounced most every free agent on the roster.  Read more…

Categories: Commentary Tags:

It’s Official!!!

July 10th, 2010 15 comments
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someone

With 13,000 Miami Heat fans anxiously waiting in AmericanAirlines Arena to welcome its newest trio of superstars, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh were upstairs finalizing their contracts. Minutes later, they emerged from a cloud of smoke, along with some unexpected news: They all took discounts large enough to accommodate the potential signings of both Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem in the days ahead.

James and Bosh signed matching six-year contracts, which start at $14.5 million and pay out a total of $109.8 million. Wade took an even bigger discount to stay in Miami, signing a six year deal which starts at $14.2 million and pays out a total of $107.6 million. They could have received $125.5 million apiece if they had demanded the maximum value allowed under the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement.

Each was eligible for a maximum starting salary for next season of $16.6 million, whether it was with their prior teams or with anyone else. But while the starting salary was to be the same no matter where they signed, league rules give the home team a financial advantage when it comes to re-signing its own players. The home team is eligible to offer his player one more year (six instead of five) and bigger annual raises (10.5% of the first year salary instead of 8%).

Sign-and-trade transactions capitalize on this concept, in that they allow the to-be-traded player to be technically signed by his home team, and then be immediately traded to his new team. Heat president Pat Riley therefore structured sign-and-trade transactions with both the Raptors (for Bosh) and Cavaliers (for James). No maneuvering for Wade was necessary because the Heat is already his home team.  Read more…