The Miami Heat made their first move of the summer by coming to terms with shooting guard Dion Waiters in 2017 NBA free agency.
With Pat Riley and co. deciding to go all out on Hayward — an ultimately fruitless task — they were forced to wait until Tuesday night before bringing their attention on re-signing their own free agents.
There had been some scuttle regarding Waiters’ annoyance with having to wait on a legitimate offer from Miami. He even went as far as to take a meeting with the Los Angeles Lakers, and was rumored to have interest in the New York Knicks. Nonetheless, cooler heads eventually prevailed, and the two parties agreed upon a reunion.
According to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders, Miami is discussing a four-year worth $52 million with the former Syracuse product. ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported Waiters had chosen to re-sign with the Heat as the two sides were finalizing a four-year deal.
Though a deal of that magnitude may raise some eyebrows at first glance, it’s a very solid value for a player of Waiters’ caliber — especially in today’s market.
As Miami’s starting shooting guard for 2016-17, Waiters averaged 15.8 points, 4.3 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.8 three-pointers a night, on decent .424/.395/.646 shooting splits. What’s more, his numbers were a bit skewed by having to play through injury for much of the year.
At his healthiest, the former Syracuse star had a 22-game stretch late in the year where he upped his numbers to 19.3 points, 5.0 assists and 2.7 threes per game while shooting 45.0 percent from deep and 46.4 percent from the floor.
Furthermore, the Heat outscored opponents by 3.1 points per 100 possessions with Waiters on the floor, but just by 0.2 with him on the bench (per NBAWowy). He may not be the most elite talent, but he clearly made Miami better when he was able to suit up.
Also consider that the offense Erik Spoelstra groomed over the final 41 games of the season — one built around Waiters and Goran Dragic drives, Hassan Whiteside dives at the rim and three-point shooting — was good enough to place eighth in offensive rating from Jan. 15 through Apr. 15.
There will likely be a regression coming next season but either way, those are numbers you can build upon.
Plus, has anyone forgotten about this?
I know I haven’t.
Even though four years may feel a bit long, $13 million annually going to a 25-year-old who still upside could wind up being a steal is good value. Now, we await word on what happens with Miami’s other prized free agent, James Johnson. Expect a similar monetary amount, but perhaps with a lower year total.