In the first 20 days of his NBA career, Miami Heat forward Okaro White has not lost a NBA game.
If today’s news is any indication, the Heat may never lose again for the next two years and stretch their win streak to 123 games in a row.
Miami has elected to keep White beyond the first two ten-day contracts that he was signed to in January on a two-year deal that features several guarantees in it, per the Miami Herald. White will make $211K the remainder of the 2016-2017 season, while he can make up to $1.3 million next season.
White will be guaranteed 25% for the 2017-2018 season if he is still a member of the Heat on July 1st. Half of his salary will be guaranteed assuming he is on the team a month later, and then the entire $1.3 million salary will be fully distributed to White if he is on the team when the Heat play their first regular season game of the season.
The Heat were granted a disabled player’s exception by the NBA to add White to the roster as a 16th player back in January after it was deemed by the league that Josh Richardson would miss an additional two weeks with a foot injury. Medical situations with Chris Bosh, Josh McRoberts, and Justise Winslow also helped the extra roster spot come to fruition.
Under NBA rules, Miami was permitted from signing White to a contract longer than ten days under the disabled player exception, which is why the Heat waived former number two overall pick Derrick Williams today to free up the spot for White long-term.
Access to the disabled player exception will still be present for Miami until Richardson returns from injury. Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is unsure if Richardson will play on the Heat’s upcoming road trip which begins in Minnesota tonight.
Sources say the Heat wanted to sign Sioux Falls Skyforce guard Briante Weber from the NBA’s Development League to a ten-day contract with the exception, but Weber chose to sign with the Golden State Warriors over the Heat, largely in-part due to the fact that the Heat have a crowded backcourt.
Signing Weber would’ve complicated the Heat’s contract situation further, however. Starting this week, the Heat can apply to remove Chris Bosh‘s salary from their salary cap, which will then take Bosh officially off the roster. Miami is expected to further delay the process until March 1st to ensure that Bosh doesn’t play this season, despite the Miami Herald reporting that Bosh has no intentions of playing this year.
It’s possible that Miami could look to add a wing player on a ten-day deal if Heat team officials deem that Richardson still won’t be ready to play by next week. Options in the Development League include Vander Blue, Abdel Nader, Quinn Cook, Jalen Jones, and Jordan Crawford, as they are among the best prospects in the league.
If Williams is claimed off waivers by another NBA team, the Heat will save themselves $1.7 million of Williams’ $4.6 million salary, per NBA salary cap expert Albert Nahmad. This seems unlikely, considering the Heat tired to find a trade partner for Williams over the weekend before releasing him today.
The 25-year-old Williams appeared in 25 games (11 starts) for the Heat in 2016-2017, and put up averages of 5.9 points and 2.9 rebounds per game on 39% shooting from the field. Despite not playing regularly, Heat teammates say Williams kept a positive attitude.
The 24-year-old White has appeared in 9 games for the Heat this season, posting averages 4.1 points and 2.6 rebounds on efficient shooting numbers of 48% from the field, 46% from three-point range, and a perfect 1.000% from the free throw line. He is one of three Heat Development League players to make the D-League’s all-star roster, joining Weber and center Keith Benson.
In the Development League., White averaged 18.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. There is a chance he could make several starts for the Heat before the season ends to give the Heat’s front office an extended look at him, as Rodney McGruder and Luke Babbitt have been susceptible to struggling play this season.
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