Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat blow kisses to TJ Warren on social media

The Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers aren’t exactly the best of friends.

This has been the case for years. Remember Udonis Haslem and Lance Stephenson? And LeBron James and Lance Stephenson? And Ray Allen and Lance Stephenson? And Juwan Howard and Lance Stephenson?

OK, you get it. There was some stuff with David West and Danny Granger too.

Things got a little chippy between the two teams again on Wednesday night, with Jimmy Butler and T.J. Warren had an exchanging of pleasantries during the Miami Heat’s 122-108 win over the Indiana Pacers. Butler had a great night, scoring 14 points on five-of-six shooting from the field. He also made all four free throws he attempted, and recorded six rebounds.

Warren had a rough night to say the least. He went one-of-five from the field and made one of two attempts from the free throw line. He had three points in 23 minutes of play. Warren was also a -25 while he was on the floor. When these two teams meet again on March 20, things should be interesting.

Miami leads the season series by a 2-0 margin. Prior to this game, they met on December 27 at American Airlines Arena. The Heat won narrowly, 113-112. The series is certainly trending in the right direction, particularly since the Pacers won the last three meetings prior to Miami winning the pair.

Friday, March 20 should be a whole lot of fun. That is the next time the Heat and Pacers will face off. Bankers Life FieldHouse will be the venue, and  it will set the stage for a Butler-Warren rematch.

If Warren shows up.

Maybe not if someone shows him social media from tonight.

It’s safe to say that Jimmy Butler is looking forward to this matchup. His post on Instagram said it all. Derrick Jones Jr., who played with Warren in Phoenix in 2017-18 also added his two cents on Twitter in regards to Wednesday night. Meyers Leonard did the same.  One thing is for certain: There is certainly no love lost between these two teams.

There is no doubt that his words with Warren ignited a competitive fire. That’s the type of Jimmy Butler we love to see. There is little doubt that he will be booed when Miami travels to Indiana. However, that will undoubtedly fuel the fire for him to play even harder. I can’t wait to see how it all plays out, and if the tensions increase in subsequent matchups.

Because all the Heat players appear to be firmly on Butler’s side, including the rookies:

And the veterans:

Handicapping the Miami Heat’s 3-Game Trip

The Miami Heat are playing great basketball. It feels almost like a return to the days of old,  back when the Big 3 were in town, even if they don’t have the front line starpower.

 

Now, the Heat are healthier than they have been — with Jimmy Butler and possibly Justise Winslow returning — and are firmly entrenched in the top three, we a two-game lead on the No. 4 Toronto Raptors and a full three games on the Philadelphia 76ers, who had fallen into a terrible slump prior to beating Oklahoma City.

 

After a five-win stretch, which included sweeping their 4-game home stretch against the Knicks, Jazz, Indiana, and Sixers, the Heat have gone lose-win-lose-win over their last four. They have the Indiana Pacers coming up again on Wednesday in Indiana, and then a trip to New York brings aways games against the Nets on Friday and the Knicks on Sunday.

 

It’s funny because the Heat has beaten Utah, Indiana, Philadelphia, and Toronto since December 23rd, and still the power rating algorithms are a bunch of haters. Miami is No. 3 in the NBA standings and beat these teams, but still, the predictive power ratings have them rated back at No.11. Toronto is rated at No. 7, Philly is rated at No. 9, and Utah is rated at No. 10. Ok. So what gives?

 

I guess the Heat will just have to go and beat these teams – and other top teams – again and we’ll see if they get any love in the power rankings.

 

Heat vs. Pacers | Wednesday 7 PM ET @ Bankers Life Fieldhouse

 

The Indiana Pacers just lost to the Heat in Miami, but now the boys have to go and prove themselves up in Indiana. Both teams are good on defense. The Heat allows just 107.28 and the Pacers let 106.16 points by per game. On offense, Miami puts up 111.11 against Indiana’s 109.46. So, on any given night, these two teams are very evenly matched.

But the Heat’s road offense is scoring around five points fewer per game than their overall average. Out on the highway, they score 106.17, which is the No. 21 road offense. The Pacers put up 111.21 per game at home which is the No. 18 home offense. Home vs. Away defense shows the Pacers improving to 104.7 points per game allowed, and the Heat falling to 110.11.

 

So, we could see the Pacers coming in as significant home favorites on the NBA odds offered at sportsbookreview.com. If the point differential is any indicator, we could technically see a spread of around 10 points. However, I would expect the handicappers to go with straight-up averages and cap this game out to be around 105 for the Heat and 111 for the Pacers.

 

If this is the case, and the point spread is set with the Heat +6, hop on it because they very well could win this one outright.

 

Heat vs. Nets | Friday 7:30 PM @ Barclay’s Center

 

Since we have already gone over Miami’s road stats, we’ll just stick with Brooklyn here. The Nets put up 109.63 per game at home, which falls right in line with Miami’s defensive numbers. So, that is the score we should expect from the Nets; roughly 107 to 109. However, they are not as good on the defensive front as the Pacers and allow 109 and change to go up on the visiting team’s scoreboard in Brooklyn. This one should come down to a pretty close game, but the personnel matchup favors Miami. Remember, we beat the Nets in Brooklyn last time around, 109-106. I predict a similar outcome in for this meeting.

 

 

Heat vs. Knicks | Sunday, 3:30 PM @ Madison Square Garden

 

The Heat have beaten the Knicks in seven of the last 10 meetings in the three most recent, the Heat have smoked the Knicks 3-0 by an average score of 111.67 to 101. The last time these two played was on December 20th when Miami smashed New York 129 to 114.

 

The Heat might not get the road sweep. But they very well might. I think they at least go two of three for the remainder of the week. They’ll keep their win ratio rolling and stay at the top of the Eastern Conference.

 

Erik Spoelstra defines a max player: Butler (and not Whiteside?)

It was a simple question about missed shots.

But it was natural for some to interpret part of the answer as an subtle shot.

OK, here’s how it started:

I’ve noticed a trend.

Jimmy Butler shoots poorly, as he did Thursday against the Toronto Raptors, making just 2-of-10 from the floor.

The Miami Heat win anyway, as they did, 82-74, to rise to 25-9 on the season.

And, according to the betting data here, they’re listed as significant favorites to win tonight’s game against Orlando so things continue to look good for them, even when Butler isn’t connecting consistently from anywhere but the foul line.

In fact, the Heat are now a ludicrous 11-2 when Butler makes five or fewer field goals in a game. So it’s not an especially small sample size. Butler has done everything well in his debut season with the Heat (defense, rebounding, passing, playmaking and especially leading). Especially except shoot well from beyond 10 feet. His percentages from every spot on the floor, past that distance, are his worst since his rookie season, when he was a benchwarmer for Chicago. He’s already had 12 games this season, including Thursday, when he shot under 37 percent. That happened only 14 times all of the 2018-19 season with Philadelphia and Minnesota combined.

So I merely presented the odd 11-2 number to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra after the win, acknowledging that he likely wouldn’t want Butler to keep shooting below his career marks simply to see if the Heat can win anyway.

Here’s the exchange, in full:

As you see, ESPN Sportscenter picked it up.

Why?

Well, in part because it’s a thoughtful assessment about what is really important to winning, and why Butler has been so critical for the Heat.

Spoelstra said he wasn’t concerned about the shooting. Then he pivoted.

“That’s what young players should learn coming into the league, of what a max player actually is,” Spoelstra said. “It’s not about stats. It’s not about that final number on the boxscore. It’s not about whatever 2k numbers you can get. It’s not. It’s about how your team functions and are you winning because of a player? And there is no debate about this. He’s having an incredible impact on our winning, on our bottom line, and why we chased him so hard as a max player. That should be the definition from here on out. But it’s not. It’s not clouded. It becomes about stats…”

OK, so on its face, that’s simply high praise of Butler.

So why did everyone, in the responses to the videos, start tagging @YoungWhiteside, for now-Blazers center Hassan Whiteside?

A few reasons for the connection.

Many know the checkered history between Spoelstra and Whiteside, though both have mostly praised the other since the Heat shipped Whiteside to Portland for Meyers Leonard and Mo Harkless, who was eventually dealt to the Clippers to clear enough space for Butler. Spoelstra’s frustration with Whiteside was evident the past couple of seasons, and it was mutual. Now it’s clear that Whiteside needed to go for Bam Adebayo and the team to thrive.

This was detailed on Heat media day, in my column.

But it’s the “2K thing” mostly.

That was Whiteside’s thing.

Remember Whiteside exploding on the scene, and actually winning Heat fan hearts by joking (well, not really) that he just wanted to “get my 2K rating up,” for the video game that so many players and fans play?

It stopped being cute when Whiteside began pouting about his role and touches, and it seemed as if he was more concerned with stat compiling than winning, often stranding teammates in search of blocks.

Now that Whiteside’s gone, suddenly the ball moves more on offense, with elite passing big man Bam Adebayo taking his place. Suddenly the pick-and-roll coverage is better, with Adebayo storming the perimeter to disrupt drivers before they even get near the rim. And suddenly the Blazers are struggling to make the playoffs, after making the Western Conference Finals without Whiteside last season.

And suddenly — and this can’t be overstated — Spoelstra has appeared happy again.

(And he keeps talking about “max players” and what they should be; Whiteside, of course, was given a max by Miami.)

Still, maybe Spoelstra didn’t mean anything toward Whiteside, and this was all about Butler. Certainly the Heat and Spoelstra will say so now, with Whiteside and his team making their only appearance at American Airlines Arena this season, this upcoming Sunday. We’re not necessary expecting a tribute video, but the Heat tend to go the classy route, so who knows?

Whatever was meant, or not, by Spoelstra here, this certainly makes an interesting subplot even more intriguing. Contrary to what Whiteside may have believed, the Heat now have shooters everywhere — including one from the podium, who didn’t miss his intended or unintended target Thursday.

 

Ethan J. Skolnick, the CEO of Five Reasons Sports Network, will relaunch his Season Ticket column next week with a column about Butler’s impact in other ways.

Waardenburg, McGustly set career highs as Miami dominates Coppin State 91-60

Sam Waardenburg posted his first career double-double with a 11 rebounds and a career high 15 points as the Miami Hurricanes capped off the non-conference slate of the season with a 91-60 win over Coppin State on Saturday.

Waardenburg’s 11 rebounds tied a career high and he set a new high in made field goals and tied his top mark in made 3-pointers, finishing 6-of-8 and 3-of-5, respectively.

“In his first few years, he struggled in November and December and played great after the new year,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “I don’t know what it is. I think it’s heading into the new year and he’s getting there sooner.”

“Last two days I missed some free throws and wasn’t happy with it, so I shot 700 free throws yesterday and it helped me with my shot, holding my follow through,” Waardenburg said. “My teammates are always telling me to shoot the ball, that it makes their job easier, so I had that mindset.”

Kam McGusty posted a career-high 28-point performance on 9-of-11 shooting, including 5-of-7 from the three point line, and 5-of-6 free throws. 

“I think he was very ready to play and very ready to shoot the ball,” Larrañaga said of McGusty. “When you make a three and then the same shot materializes the very next time down the court, well of course you’re going to look for it again and when you make it you feel like ‘Oh I’ve got the hot hand.’ Then you hit another and another. He made [three] in a row and that not only gets him going, but the whole team.”

“It goes back to the team chemistry we have,” McGusty said. “I’m just trying to give it my all and make that off year, this transfer year, worth it.”

The Hurricanes led as much as 40 points and set a season high mark of 91 points and a program record 18 made three point shots. Chris Lykes scored 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting including four three-pointers. DJ Vasiljevic added 21 points on 5-of-15 shooting and 8-for-8 from the free throw line.

“For 35 minutes it was our best offensive and defensive game,” Larranaga said. “The last five wasn’t indicative the way the team played. We took 38 3s which is kind of ridiculous to me, but we made 18 so we got to be pretty happy about that. We defended so well for such a long period of time, giving up only 45 points in the first 35 minutes. Love to see that kind of execution every game.”

The Hurricanes have won four in a row and enter their conference slate with an 8-3 record. They are already in the hole at 0-1 after losing their season opener to Louisville, which was ranked No. 5 at the time and rose to No. 1 at one point.

“We won four in a row but the challenge in the ACC is team we’re going to play now are really a whole lot more talented,” Larranaga said. “They got really good players and they’re more familiar with us; we’re more familiar with them. The challenges are greater. We open the season on the road against Clemson where it’s very tough to play and then we come back home to play Duke, who’s top 5 in the country and we’re already 0-1, having lost to the No. 1 team in the country Louisville back then.”

How Filippos Gkogkos joined Hurricanes basketball

Miami freshman Filippos Gkogkos entered the court to play the final three minutes of the Hurricanes 91-60 win over Coppin State on Saturday and collected his first two rebounds.

Gkogkos played basketball Romania and won the national title in 2015 before starting high school. He entered the University of Miami for its business school on an academic scholarship. His role is mainly to contribute on the practice squad and help the team prepare for these games.

Each minute he plays feels like a rewarding bonus. The first time he entered the court was on November 16 against Quinnipiac, but it was for less than a minute and he did not record any stats.

Head coach Jim Larrañaga shared the story of how he ended up joining the Hurricanes as a walk-on.

“Fillip walked into my office the first day of school and said he wanted to be on the team,” recalled Larrañaga, to which his response was, “It’s not like a club you join. Do you play basketball?”

“And he walked around my desk, picked up my iPad and immediately went to YouTube videos and showed me his videos. He said, ‘I played basketball in Romania.’ He speaks five languages. He’s brilliant. And I watched the videos and I said, ‘hey you know what, we’re shorthanded. Why don’t you come and try to be a walk-on?’”

After being told what a walk-on does, Gkogkos’ response was to express his desire to get better. Time will tell whether or not the Hurricanes will create a wide enough margin for him to get on the court during ACC play but everyone remembers their first career moments. 

Miami Heat’s 2-3 Zone Causing Problems

The Miami Heat’s 2-3 zone is giving certain teams fits.

Sometimes a simple solution is also the most effective in a complex NBA season.

Whether it be a matchup substitution or a defensive game plan, many times the obvious answer is in plain sight.

The Miami Heat stifled the Philadelphia 76er’s on Wednesday thanks in part to a seldom used zone defense, at least in today’s NBA.

We all know the Heat do things differently, most of the time it works out.

 

Catching professional coaching staffs by surprise is often a challenge, but occasionally an outside-the-box strategy can yield great results.

With a short rotation due to injuries, Miami Heat head coach Erik Speolstra has needed creativity as an ally.

The zone defense is particularly effective against teams that lack elite outside shooting.

Philadelphia fits that bill in the sense of volume, they take the fifth fewest three-point attempts in the league.

They shoot a decent percentage (36.2) but are streaky at that range.

We all know one guy that opposing defenses will gladly allow to launch from beyond the arc.

 

The zone is nothing new to the Heat as they have employed this season, but in live game action on the fly it can be effective.

Philadelphia shot just 12-for-39 (30.8%) from deep and did not attack the zone effectively with Joel Embiid until it was too late.

Miami has the athleticism to defend inside-out and crash the defensive boards, the Heat out-rebounded the 76ers 56-47.

Josh Richardson was just 3-of-10 from three-point range and Tobias Harris 2-of-6.

Philadelphia coach Brett Brown countered late with Furkan Kormaz (2-of-3 from 3pt) but it was not enough.

 

 

Teams will try to replicate the Heat’s formula against Philadelphia and similarly structured teams.

Like Dallas did in their 117-98 blowout to give the 76ers their second straight home loss.

Once again Philadelphia struggled from three-point range, this time converting just 10-of-34 (29.4%) attempts.

Miami has employed the strategy mostly out of necessity, it is not their ideal defense by any stretch.

How long it continues will be dependent on factors such as player availability and matchups.

It also protects players such as Bam Adebayo from foul trouble as there are three players on the baseline to pack it in.

Miami again employed the zone for stretches in their 129-114 win Friday, New York also put up a 10-for-34 mark from deep.

As long as the opponent complies and the bench is short, we may be in the zone for a minute.

Attrition may Have Uncovered Potent Lineup for Heat

A potent lineup for the Heat may have revealed itself.

The Miami Heat have somehow managed to maintain course despite crucial injuries to Justise Winslow and Goran Dragic.

 

Miami has started to show some vulnerability, as evidenced by their first truly bad loss of the year at Memphis.

Jimmy Butler needs a break.

However the team once again found enough gas Wednesday to end Philadelphia’s undefeated run at home.  The common denominators for most Heat lineups lately have been Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Kendrick Nunn.  That trio has been in the top three lineups for Miami in terms of minutes per game, with Duncan Robinson and Meyers Leonard rounding things out.

Switching to Airplane Mode

One intriguing combination has been to bring in Derrick Jones Jr. for Meyers Leonard early and late.  Leonard typically opens each half but has not been utilized much, if at all down the stretch.  Jones, Jr. has been seeing a huge increase in minutes recently due to several factors, including the razor thin rotation Erik Spoelstra has to work with.  That faith has been rewarded as Jones continues to carve out a more significant role.  Over the last seven games, DJJ is averaging nearly 30 minutes per game and is starting to feel it from downtown.  He is 6-for-13 in his last four games and has scored in double figures three times in that span, while his defense has also made a huge impact.

 

The lineup featuring Butler/Jones, Jr./Adebayo/Robinson/Nunn has been used in just three games going into Wednesday.  Yet in that limited sample the numbers have been encouraging and perhaps worth a look.  Rebounding is a legitimate concern without a second traditional big however, time will tell how the scales balance in that aspect.

 

Butler has been all that Heat fans could have hoped for but is exerting a ton out there. He struggled in his latest return to Philadelphia and is logging a Thibodeau-ian amount of minutes lately.  Butler is playing almost 39 minutes per contest in December which is nearly six minutes more than his career average. His 26.3 usage rate this season would be the second highest total of his career if maintained.

While DJJ has been a key cog in the wheel, the emergence of Adebayo is what has held things together.  The reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week has continued to carry the load on both ends.  Adebayo is the anchor, not only on defense but from the high post where his skill set shines.  Bam is averaging 18/11/5  in December and his ability to finish on the pick-and-roll, or run things from the top, has kept defenses off balance.

Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson have been inconsistent but when they are on, they give this group the scoring from the perimeter it needs.  Nunn erupted for 26 points at Philadelphia and has hit half his three-point attempts on this road trip. If he can start making the easy plays and distribute the ball, expect another nice progression from the rookie.  Meanwhile, Robinson has been feast-or-famine, but when he’s eating the whole offense changes.  He has become a comfortable second option on the perimeter when the initial action doesn’t hit, while doing just enough on defense.  Robinson is shooting over 47% from deep this month and is getting almost six minutes more per game.

The lineup is shooting 59.6% overall and 52% from deep, while averaging a 3.6 assist-to-turnover ratio.  On the opposite end they are holding opponents to just 40% shooting, including 26.5% from beyond the arc.  Conversely, they are 6.5 points better overall than the opponent so far.  Perhaps that is why they were the “Five on the Floor” to close the game out in Philadelphia.

When Dragic (and Winslow?) return, it will likely shake up the backcourt rotation once again.

For now, we may be seeing this group again when it counts.

Miami Hurricanes senior DJ Vasiljevic has pro potential

Since Jim Larranaga became the head coach of the University of Miami basketball team in 2011, the Hurricanes have had four players selected in the NBA Draft.

It started with Shane Larkin in 2013 coming off the magical ACC championship season led by Shane Larkin, who was selected by the Dallas Mavericks. The Hurricanes are working on a three year streak with Davon Reed (Suns) in 2017, Lonnie Walker (Spurs) and Bruce Brown (Pistons) in 2018 and even Dewan Hernandez (Raptors) who was drafted despite not playing a game last season due to NCAA violations.

This year, the Hurricanes have an opportunity to make a run back into the NCAA Tournament and get another player drafted. They’ve been led by the trio of Chris Lykes (14.8 PPG) , DJ Vasiljevic (14.5 PPG) and Kam McGusty (13.9 PPG).

Vasiljevic seems to have the most draft potential given his shooting ability. The senior is currently has a three point shooting percentage of 50.8 and his best game so this season was against Alabama A&M where all six of his shots were from the top of the key and he made five them as well as hit 2-of-2 from the free throw line to total 17 points in an 88-74 Miami win.

“Any time you can shoot the ball the way DJ can shoot the ball, you can find a spot for a shooter because the game is so open nowadays,” Alabama A&M head coach Dylan Howard said. “He’s gonna land somewhere, if not the NBA, he’s gonna go overseas and do great things.”

Vasiljevic has spent all four years with the Hurricanes, something that is now a rarity given his talent. He will surely have his jersey retired after notching his 1,000th career point againt Temple. 

“DJ has been with us for four years. I can tell you from the day he arrived he’s one of smartest, hardest working, best shooters, great leader, great competition I’ve been around,” Larranaga said of Vasiljevic. “He is the consummate teammate.” 

Saturday’s home game against Coppin State will cap off the Hurricanes’ out of conference slate of the season. Last year Miami entered conference play 8-4 and their lack of depth doomed them to a 14-18 season. This year, the Hurricanes are 7-3 — which includes a season opening loss to Louisville — with all their horses and have a better outlook going into conference play.

The Hurricanes have road wins over Temple, Central Florida and Illinois but also lost to Connecticut, Florida and Louisville, so the question is which set of results is the more accurate representation of the Hurricanes this season.

If Miami wins on Saturday and goes 9-9 in the ACC, would a 17-12 record be enough. That will be the question of 2020.

Heat’s Bam Adebayo Wins East Player of the Week

Bam Adebayo took home his first Eastern Conference Player of the Week award for games played Dec. 9th to Dec. 15th.

His stat line included his first two career triple doubles, and the Miami Heat went 2-1 in that span.

 

Lebron James was his counterpart in the Western Conference this past week, and showed his respect to the 22-year old Adebayo via Twitter.

 

James earned the honor in part to the Lakers victory over Miami last week, Adebayo follows Jimmy Butler as back-to-back winners of the award.

In case you were wondering, it has been a little while since the Heat had consecutive winners.

Adebayo has stepped into the spotlight with his usual workmanlike effort and is quickly gaining momentum as a Most Improved Player candidate.

Perhaps even greater honors could be in store.

With the arrival of Jimmy Butler Miami acquired the alpha they were desperately seeking.

What many outside observers may not have realized, there was another star quietly blossoming.

All Adebayo needed was the opportunity to show why he was coveted by Pat Riley and the Heat organization.

Now that the time has arrived, Adebayo is seizing the moment to enter the upper echelon of NBA big men.

We knew it all along.

Now the rest of the NBA world is finally catching up.

Follow us on Twitter for the most complete Miami Heat coverage anywhere @5ReasonsSports.

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Exclusive: The Reason for Dion Waiters’ Latest Suspension

 

During another grueling back-to-back, which the Miami Heat split — this time against the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks — it was apparent they could have used another playmaking guard who could break down the defense and get to the basket, thus taking some burden off All-Star Jimmy Butler. That’s been the reality in many games lately, as Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow recover from injuries.

So why isn’t Dion Waiters available to help the now 19-7 team?

Five Reasons Sports Network has learned the primary reason for Waiters’ latest suspension, this one for six games and his third of the season totaling 14 games. The active suspension, officially for “failure to adhere to team policies, violation of team rules and continued insubordination” was levied Dec. 12 and extends through the Heat’s Dec. 23 game against the Utah Jazz.

According to three sources, it was inspired by an Instagram post of Waiters hanging out on a boat during a time when the team was made to believe he was unavailable because he was sick. Waiters’ Instagram account (@Waiters3), with more than 350,000 followers, is now private, and no such photo is currently still posted as a regular picture post or Instagram story. But apparently the Heat saw something that troubled them.

According to one source, on its own, this infraction may not have warranted such a lengthy suspension, but it’s due to the cumulative effect of all of Waiters’ distractions, cutting against the team’s valued “Culture” during what has been a less tolerance approach to the season. (Heat president Pat Riley acknowledged after the 2018-19 season that he had “let the culture slip” and would not again). Hassan Whiteside, with his tendency to be mopey and me-oriented, was sent to Portland in a trade that netted team-first center Meyers Leonard. Another veteran, James Johnson, has had his own problems getting back in the mix after being sent away from the team during training camp because he didn’t meet the Heat’s conditioning-related goals for him.

But at least he’s played a little. Waiters has not.

This 6-game suspension came after one for seven games, stemming from Waiters’ “panic attack” on a team charter to Los Angeles in November after reportedly eating a “THC infused edible.” After that incident, the Heat, coincidentally or not, played one of their least focused games of the season. And that situation came after he was suspended one game to start the season after acting out on the bench and on social media, in a way the team didn’t appreciate, especially as it reflected his attitude toward Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.

According to multiple sources, that’s not all that Waiters has done to create what the team has deemed a distraction over the past few months, after what it termed “fresh start” for the now-28-year-old. The Heat originally signed him to a short, make good contract in 2016, and after he flourished during the season-ending 30-11 run, signed him to a four-year contract amid limited competition from outside suitors. Then he had ankle problems and the disagreements with the team began in earnest during the approach to his rehabilitation.

A pair of rookies, Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro, have taken minutes that many expected Waiters to get if he was fully recovered from those ankle problems this season, and in shape, which he said he was and largely appeared to be during his training camp and preseason action. And now Duncan Robinson has emerged in the perimeter rotation as well. Even so, with Winslow and Dragic sidelined, there appeared to be an opportunity for Waiters, a capable playmaker, a decent defender and an improved long-range shooter, to at least to showcase himself for a trade that would benefit both him and the Heat. Now, after this latest social media snafu, it appears even more likely that he won’t play for the team again.

The problem, of course, is finding a team that wants the rest of his contract, which expires after next season. Miami has a little more flexibility to find a trade as of today, December 15, since that is the date that many players around the league (signed in the offseason) are eligible to be moved.

But for Waiters….

“There’s been no interest,” one source said. “None. Zip.”

This latest incident won’t help. The team is reluctant to include an asset, whether a young player (such as Winslow or the emerging Derrick Jones Jr.) or a draft pick (Miami has a limited stock of second round picks) just to move Waiters.

Stay with Five Reasons Sports for more, including tonight’s new episode of the Five on the Floor podcast. The Heat play in Memphis on Monday night.