Storyline: Beno Udrih Free Agency

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When Erik Spoelstra was asked Monday about the battle for the final roster spot between Beno Udrih and Briante Weber, he gave a very interesting answer. “It’s not a competition just between those two,” Spoelstra said. It turns out that Udrih and Weber aren’t just competing against each other for Miami’s 15th roster spot. The pair of point guards are also competing against 25-year-old shooting guard Rodney McGruder. “Yeah, he is,” Spoelstra said Wednesday when asked if McGruder is still in the race for a roster spot. With the Heat’s roster still at the NBA preseason maximum of 20 players, Miami must cut its roster to the regular-season maximum of 15 players by Monday’s deadline. With 14 players pretty much guaranteed a spot on the roster, that leaves Udrih, Weber and McGruder fighting for the final opening.

Until the agreement with Udrih, the Heat appeared poised to go with late-season addition Briante Weber, who went undrafted in 2015 out of Virginia Commonwealth, as their backup point guard. Weber now would appear to stand third string at the position if he is able to survive the final cut. In addition to Dragic, Udrih and Weber, the Heat’s backcourt also features offseason free-agent additions Dion Waiters, Wayne Ellington and Rodney McGruder, as well as returning guards Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson, who was retained on a four-year, $50 million contract this offseason.

As of now the Heat roster is at 18 players, which means they need to waive three players, which most likely are Stefan Jankovic, Okaro White and Rodney McGruder. I think the best option is to trade Josh McRoberts so McGruder can stay. McGruder is raw, but has a lot of talent. Who do you think the Heat will waive? Or will they wait to see how they perform in preseason and training camp? Thanks. — Michael, New York. A: A few things. First, the Heat might not necessarily stop at 18, with Beno Udrih essentially with a standing invitation at the veteran minimum if he cannot find more elsewhere. And, as stated before, there always is the possibility of a 2-for-1 trade to alleviate some of the current roster suggestion.

The Miami Heat roster currently stands at 13. But to Goran Dragic, the number is 14. He still considers Beno Udrih a teammate. “We still think he’s part of the team, because he’s still in Miami, he’s still rooting for us,” Dragic said of Udrih, who was lost for the season last month due to foot surgery and then waived shortly thereafter. “He was such a great role model, especially for the younger players and for me, too, with his experience.”
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February 18, 2018 | 9:59 pm EST Update