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Miami Heat: Dion Waiters headed to Memphis as deadline nears

The Miami Heat continue to make several moves ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline, and Thursday saw more fireworks. The Heat  traded Dion Waiters to Memphis according to a report from Shams Charania.

Waiters is part of the trade that has seen veteran Andre Iguodala head to Miami.

Waiters had interesting tenure with Miami Heat

Dion Waiters has a complicated tenure in Miami. He came to the team in the 2016-17 season. He had a tremendous first year in Miami, playing in 43 games and averaging 15.8 points. 2017-18 saw him play in 30 games, starting all of them. He averaged 14.3 points of that year. Although there was a bit of a downturn in production in terms of points, he still remained a solid player for Miami. He provided them that secondary scoring option.

This season in particular had been filled with off-the-court issues. The issues, combined with the emergence of young stars, has led to minimal playing time. Waiters is in the third-year of a four-year $52 million contract. He is set to be paid 12.6 million next season. He will then become an unrestricted free agent in 2021.

His best game for Miami this season came on January 24 against the Los Angeles Clippers. He went five-of-12 from the field and four-of-nine from beyond the arc. Scoring 14 points in total, that would be his highest output of the season to this point.

We are now beginning to see more pieces of Wednesday night’s trade come to fruition. The Miami Heat have been linked to several other names as the deadline approaches. It will be interesting to see who they pull the trigger on. One thing is clear: Pat Riley truly believes that this team can be a contender.

These moves should help Miami stay in the thick of what is an extremely crowded Eastern Conference.

He Gone? Miami Heat’s Dion Waiters posts cryptic message

Dion Waiters hasn’t provided any excitement on the court for the Miami Heat this season.

But he can’t stop making us notice him off of it.

Waiters, who has been suspended several times, and hasn’t played in a single regular season game, does not appear to be a tradeable commodity at the moment. He hasn’t gotten time even with Justise Winslow out — Winslow won’t play again Wednesday and may be shut down soon, based on current trends. And he hasn’t found his way back into Erik Spoelstra’s good graces as fellow unfortunate big-money long-term signing James Johnson has recently.

So this probably isn’t about a trade.

Still, it was interesting on a Heat off night, with the Spurs visiting Wednesday and Miami trying to snap its first two-game losing streak of the season.

That was posted, spotted and quickly deleted.

But not before some screenshots.

So what’s that about?

It could be that Waiters is taking a social media break, which wouldn’t be such a terrible decision, after his Instagram post of himself frollicking on a boat — on a day he was supposed to be sick — contributed to his most recent suspension.

Or not.

Maybe he’s just trolling.

Is he saying peace?

Or is he…. at peace?

What’s clear is that, while Waiters is part of the team contractually, and was with them in the locker room on the New York road swing, it doesn’t seem like this situation will end with any of the Philly Cheese, Waiters Island, Miami moments that got him that contract in the first place.

One season remaining after this, at a healthy $13 million rate.

Look for him on IG soon, if not between the lines.

 

Winslow, Butler Practice for Miami Heat, Will Travel

For all their success this year, the Miami Heat have yet to accomplish one important goal . . . fielding a healthy roster.  The Heat came into the season missing their newly signed superstar, Jimmy Butler, due to the birth of his first child.  And there were the self-inflicted setbacks, most notably from high-paid reserves Dion Waiters and James Johnson.

But most concerning has been the rash of injuries that has plagued the Heat’s back court rotation of Justise Winslow and Goran Dragic.  The injuries to both of Miami’s point guards has led to an increased burden on Butler and a “playoff-style” rotation of 8 or 9 players that has seemingly shown in weary legs at the end of road games and back to back scenarios.  Even with Dragic’s recent return and stellar play, the shortened rotation has still been in place thanks to the uneven play of forwards Kelly Olynyk and Chris Silva.

Reinforcements, however, look to be on the way with a breakout game from Johnson Sunday night against the Blazers.  Johnson’s size, playmaking ability and defense were on display for the first time in months as he finally received the nod from Coach Erik Spoelstra with Butler taking the night off.  “We stay ready around here,” replied Johnson when asked how he was able to shake off the rust of weeks on the bench to impact the game in such a fashion.

And it would seem that the return of Winslow may be on the horizon as he was upgraded to questionable on Sunday night, even though he didn’t play.  Monday Winslow was seen swimming with dolphins and teammate Bam Adebayo and Tuesday Spoelstra told media that he practiced with the team and was travelling to Indiana for Wednesday’s game against the Pacers, a positive sign.

Butler practiced with the team as well, which is a good signal that he will be available as well on Wednesday night.  So a fully healthy Heat squad is finally a real possibility in the coming days which should be a welcome sign to Spoelstra and his staff, as well as present new rotation challenges.  But after weeks of riding an 8-man rotation, those are great challenges to have.

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.

Miami Heat suspend Dion Waiters for 10 games

This is yet another chapter in the Miami Heat-Dion Waiters saga.

It has been a tumultuous season for Dion Waiters and the Miami Heat, and it is apparent that the Heat have had enough of his antics. On Sunday, it was announced that the team has suspended him for 10 games.

The most recent incident occurred on Friday when Waiters was ill because he ate too many gummies. The incident occurred a flight from Phoenix to Los Angeles, before the team was set to take on the Lakers. He fell asleep by the time the plane landed and he had a seizure when he woke up.  Waiters’ mother took to Instagram on Friday to deny the report.

Having missed nine games already this season,  he is in the third season of a four-year, $52 million contract.

In the meantime, the Miami Heat are performing well despite all of this off-court drama. Currently, they are ranked third in the Eastern Conference with a 6-3 record. They are set to take on the Pistons on the road on Tuesday.

It definitely seems like the Miami Heat are tired of the drama surrounding Waiters, whether it be one situation or another. This 10-game suspension is certainly warranted, given all of the things the team has had to go through this year with him. It would be one thing if he was a crucial part of this team, and was relied upon heavily in order for Miami to win. However, they have shown that they don’t need Waiters to win. Others have stepped up nicely to fill the void left by him.

It will be interesting to see if he has a role with the team following the suspension. I’m guessing his days in Miami are numbered. He is becoming a huge distraction and is obviously disgruntled. It may be best for both parties to cut ties and move forward. It is quite possible that a change of scenery is needed for him to continue being an effective player in the NBA. Right now, things are not going well for him in Miami.  It may be best for everyone involved to move forward.

Looking high, low for info about Dion Waiters’ latest issue

The Dion Waiters saga in Miami has taken a strange twist. After being fat shammed by most of NBA twitter for seemingly eating too many sweets while recovering from an ankle injury last season, his relationship with the Miami Heat took an even more sour turn this season. He was ultimately suspended by the Heat for conduct detrimental to the team, after his bench and Instagram comments about Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. And, even while being declared active, has not played for the team yet this season.

Now, on the team flight to Los Angeles, Waiters suffered a medical emergency when he overdosed on gummies according to Andy Slater of 640AM.ThTh

 

 

We certainly hope Waiters is OK, regardless of the circumstances.

The Heat have yet to comment further, as they returned Saturday and have a day off before preparing for Tuesday’s home game against Detroit.

While we wait, Twitter has been ruthless, as expected.

 

The guess here, however, is the Heat are not laughing.

More as it comes in.

The Miami Heat have no room for Dion Waiters

The veteran and the Miami Heat should part ways.

Dion Waiters is back with the Miami Heat, but he still is on the outside looking in. He practiced with the team on Wednesday, but he will not travel with them to face the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday.

To me, Dion Waiters is the odd man out right now for the Miami Heat. The team has gotten some great contributions from rookies like Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro. Many did not predict that the youth movement would start out as smoothly as it has for the Heat. The two rookies don’t even look like first-year players. They look like seasoned veterans, and have put a spark into this Miami Heat team.

The Miami Heat have found their dynamic duo

For their efforts, Nunn and Herro have averaged 21 and 16.3 points. One of the key assets of Waiters’s game is his ability to provide scoring. He is a volume shooter who used to be able to provide that spark off the bench. Now, that role is filled. Quite honestly, I don’t see where Waiters fits into this team at the moment. The whole situation is kind of fascinating. With the emergence of the rookies and the fact that Waiters’ tenure with the Heat has taken an unfortunate turn, it’s the perfect juxtaposition.

I will be interested to see what Miami does with him. They can’t really break up the rotation at the moment. Things are firing on all cylinders, and it will be stupid to jeopardize that. I could see him forcing his way out of Miami. Including this year, he has  two years left on his contract and is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2021. Making a $13 million per season, the contract doesn’t exactly make him the easiest players to move. If anything, is a hindrance.

Waiters is the odd man out

As it stands right now, I don’t see where he fits on the Miami Heat. He is a good player and has done a lot for them. However, it would be too risky to break up the roster right now. Everybody seems to be jelling and meshing with each other. He would definitely be a bigger asset to another team. He could come back and be a solid rotation player, assuming they don’t change the way they’re doing things right now. However, I don’t see that happening. I think his days as a member of the Miami Heat are numbered, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in a new uniform before the trade deadline. It would be best for both parties to move in a new direction.

 

 

Miami Heat suspend Dion Waiters before zero tolerance season

“I let the culture slip.”

With those words — spoken after last season by Miami Heat president Pat Riley — you knew the next season would be different. Riley felt burned after he gave much-criticized lucrative long-term contracts to non-stars in 2016 and 2017 and then those players returned the reward by slacking on their conditioning.

And before it even begins, this season is different.

First, Riley banished James Johnson from training camp not for failing the conditioning test — he passed — but for failing to meet Riley’s special weight requirement.

Now, Dion Waiters, who had weight issues last season but got himself in better shape this offseason, has been told he isn’t “in Heat shape” by Erik Spoelstra (we posted that video), and has been steered toward a bench role as Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro have gotten preseason starts.

And he’s been openly unhappy about it.

So now he’s been suspended for one game.

Notice the language.

“Number of unacceptable incidents.”

Remember Waiters telling Ira Winderman that he wasn’t cool with coming off the bench, even after he flourished in that role against Charlotte in the third preseason game?

Remember this from Spoelstra about what he wants from Waiters, which Waiters then somewhat contradicted right after?

Here was Waiters:

There was some speculation that Waiters was away from the team for three days this week after Charlotte game because of a disciplinary action, though my sources did confirm an actual personal issue unrelated to his unhappiness.

Even so, it doesn’t seem to be stopping.

Here are some tweets that tell the story:

 

Instagram always remembers, and this doesn’t appear that it is going away anytime soon. Unless Waiters ends up elsewhere:

We know how this goes.

Just ask Hassan Whiteside. In Portland.

Do the Miami Heat have a Dion Waiters issue?

Dion Waiters had a great game on October 9th, scoring 19 in a preseason rout of the Charlotte Hornets.

The problem came after it.

It was reported by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that Waiters is not happy with anything short of a starting role this season. To be clear, Waiters made no public demands. Waiters, like Hassan Whiteside (traded to the Portland Trailblazers in the offseason) aren’t by any accounts bad guys. But both, perhaps Whiteside more than Waiters, have reputations for putting individual success first. And that maybe they aren’t your prototypical Heat guys.

Waiters can help the Heat if he’s in shape, which he appears to be. His ballhandling, shooting and swagger are useful attributes. But only if he buys in. So will he start? And how will he react if he doesn’t?

The Heat don’t typically throw rookies in the fire right away, but there Tyler Herro was, opening Monday’s win against Atlanta as Waiters was inactive, and scoring the Heat’s first 14 points. Herro is making a compelling a case, with hsi shotmaking and playmaking, to start alongside Justise Winslow and Jimmy Butler in the backcourt.

It should be noted that Waiters did what he was supposed to do this summer: he got in better condition. Is he in “Miami Heat shape”? Spoelstra said at training camp Waiters wasn’t quite yet, an assessment Waiters didn’t seem to appreciate. But, as every knows by now, Miami Heat shape requires more effort to tone and condition your body than is necessary for the average NBA team. And even that doesn’t guarantee anything. You still need to fit with your teammates on the floor. The Heat have made a point of Herro’s gym rat nature. Is Waiters meeting the same standard? It’s not enough for a veteran of several seasons to just shave off a few extra pounds.

A starting spot should be determined by your level of play, chemistry with your teammates and how all of that correlates to overall team success on the court. Waiters does have chemistry with Goran Dragic; we saw that in the 2016-17 run. So it might be prudent to keep 7-11 duo intact. Waiters improved his three point shooting last year, especially in catch and shoot situations last year with Winslow and Josh Richardson handling most of the ball handling situations. However, now it’s a different team and it’s also Jimmy Butler’s team, so he’ll need to continue to build off of what he did last year and what he did Wednesday night vs the Hornets.

Yes, Waiters worked more this offseason.

But even with that, and the improvements he’s made, Spoelstra is famous for these five words: It doesn’t guarantee you anything.

Heat do the impossible, deal Whiteside, get value

“There are obstacles, but there are no obstacles.”

It didn’t make sense when Pat Riley said it a little over a week ago. In fact, it was so odd that it made some Miami Heat fans angry.

Anyone want to offer Riley an apology?

He told you that the Heat could move their worst contracts if necessary.

(He also told you that Hassan Whiteside would come to camp and compete and that  Goran Dragic was his starting point guard, but I told you to ignore all of that.)

 

Today, Riley and the Heat dealt one of the worst fits for their culture in recent memory, sending Whiteside to Portland for Meyers Leonard and Maurice Harkless. Who the Heat got back almost doesn’t matter, though both Leonard and Harkless are better complimentary fits here, provided neither is dealt elsewhere. The point here is, Whiteside had to go. It was long past time. And it was unfair to Erik Spoelstra to put him through another season of managing his situation.

We agree with that more than this…

 

It’s not surprising that the Blazers wanted Whiteside. They wanted to max him in 2016, when the Heat probably should have let them. And Jusuf Nurkic, their center, may miss significant time with a major injury. Whiteside is close with the Blazers’ elite backcourt, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.

It saves something else.

Us from having to watch players who didn’t care enough consistently.

Do you like the trade?

Apparently.

It’s polling 97-3 in favor on the @5ReasonsSports account.