Photo Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

INSIDER: NBA Free Agency Nearing

Josh Friedman
June 29, 2017 - 10:58 am
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With NBA free agency nearing, Yahoo reported that the Heat will meet with their top priority, Gordon Hayward, on Saturday. He'll have subsequent meetings with his current team, the Utah Jazz, and also the Boston Celtics. In my opinion, Boston will be the Heat's top rival in landing Hayward, in part because the arrow is pointing way up on the organization and also because Celtics coach Brad Stevens was Hayward's college coach at Butler.
 
Should the Heat strike out in landing Hayward, plan B will be Forward Blake Griffin. Both Hayward and Griffin should get max deals which will means they'll be paid $29.7M next season. While Griffin in a gifted Power Forward, signing him to a max deal is fraught with risk because he's a huge injury risk. In the past 3 seasons, he's played in 67, 31 and 61 games.  He hasn't logged at least 80 games since the 2013-14 season.
 
If the Heat fail to land either Hayward or Griffin, they'll try to bring both James Johnson and Dion Waiters back into the fold. Johnson had a splendid season, surpassing all expectations and could command up to $15M per season. Waiters was very good, also opening some eyes, and he had great chemistry playing alongside Goran Dragic. But injuries limited him to only 46 games and that could cost him some money as teams might not feel that's a big enough sample size to see if in fact Waiters has taken his game to the next level. Both thrived in their lone season under the tutelage of the Heat's coaching staff and have expressed a desire to return. But neither would commit to giving the Heat a discount to re-up with the team.

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