Free agent Kelly Olynyk has agreed to a four-year, $50 million contract with the Miami HEAT, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports. The deal will include a player option for the fourth year.
By adding Olynyk, the HEAT have added additional depth to their frontcourt. With the reported agreement for Olynyk, the HEAT now have Hassan Whiteside, Olynyk and rookie Bam Adebayo on the depth chart in the frontcourt.
Olynyk averaged nine points, 4.8 rebounds and two assists in 75 games last season with the Boston Celtics. He was used mostly off of the bench as he appeared as a starter in just six games. In 18 playoff games, Olynyk averaged 9.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game, while shooting 31.9 percent from three-point range.
Olynyk had a signature performance in the second-round of the playoffs against the Washington Wizards. Behind his 26 points, the Celtics were able to close out the series against the Wizards and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals to face the Cleveland Cavaliers. His 26 points against the Wizards were a career-playoff high.
Olynyk became an unrestricted free agent following the Celtics’ decision to renounce their qualifying offer to him, which made him a restricted free agent. The Celtics were forced to do this in order to create the necessary cap space needed to sign free agent Gordon Hayward.
Olynyk projects to fit in well in the HEAT’s lineup. He has proven himself to be a capable floor spacer and adds valuable shooting in the frountcourt, something the HEAT have missed recently. The HEAT added Josh McRoberts to the team three years ago, but injuries have limited him to just 81 regular-season games.
Following news of the agreement with Olynyk, The Vertical reported that the HEAT plan to trade McRoberts and a future second-round pick to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for A.J. Hammons. The trade with the Mavericks will allow the HEAT to dump McRoberts’ $6,021,175 salary and potentially give the team the ability to keep Wayne Ellington as well.
The HEAT have to decide by Friday if they are going to keep Ellington on the roster as his $6,270,000 salary for the 2017-18 season will become fully guaranteed if he remains on the team. Ellington averaged a career-high 10.5 points per game last season with the HEAT and shot 37.8 percent from three-point range.
It was reported by ESPN after the McRoberts news surfaced that the team and James Johnson have agreed to the framework of a four-year deal to stay with the HEAT. Johnson averaged a career-high 12.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game last season for the HEAT.
With these moves, the HEAT’s roster for the 2017-18 season is beginning to take shape. The HEAT had just seven players guaranteed on the roster for next season at the start of free agency: Whiteside, Goran Dragic, Josh McRoberts, Tyler Johnson, Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson and Bam Adebayo.
Okaro White and Rodney McGruder’s contracts for next season are partially guaranteed, while Luke Babbitt and Willie Reed remain free agents. The team reportedly agreed to a new four-year, $52 million contract with Dion Waiters on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Babbitt could potentially be re-signed to a new deal while it appears as though the HEAT will let Reed walk in free agency after the addition of Olynyk. The reported moves the HEAT made on Thursday night means most of the team from the 2016-17 season will return next season.
While the HEAT got off to a slow start last season, they went 31-10 over the second half of the season to finish at 41-41 and narrowly missed out on the playoffs. By retaining most of the roster from last season, which played extremely well in the second half of the season, the HEAT have plenty of reason feel good about this group moving forward.
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