IT’S LONELY AT WAITERS ISLAND: Over the weekend, the Heat announced mercurial 2-guard Dion Waiters would be suspended for the season opener, citing multiple incidents between he and the team that required response from Miami. News then broke that the Heat have been trying to move Waiters for almost a year now, but to no avail due to a near-complete lack of interest league-wide.
Waiters isn’t even the first veteran Miami has had to suspend this preseason. James Johnson received similar treatment for failing a conditioning test before training camp, and has been away from the team since. The Heat fell in love with the now-disgruntled players behind an outstanding late 2016-17 season run that almost sent Miami to the playoffs, giving big contracts to Waiters and James Johnson, and now they’re stuck with two similarly bad deals that will be nearly impossible to move.
That’s a cautionary tale right there about not signing players to large contracts after a small sample size of production while overlooking their past troubles.
SABONIS AVAILABLE? With contract extension talks not going well, Indiana are reportedly gauging the market for the quite underrated Domantas Sabonis.
The Pacers big man averaged 14 and 9 in his third season, something his father only accomplished once in his seven-year NBA career.
EXTENSION TALKS: Today is the deadline for rookie-scale extensions to be signed. One of the third-year players who will have all eyes on him is Buddy Hield, who is reportedly seeking the max or near the max from Sacramento but has yet to have his wish granted.
League execs that HoopsHype spoke to in September believed a deal would get done easily, but never underestimate the Kings’ ability to make things harder than they should be.
WILD PREDICTIONS: ESPN’s Zach Lowe released his annual column containing 35 wild predictions for the upcoming league year, ranging from predicting Marvin Bagley will be the Kings’ leading scorer to Giannis Antetokounmpo being his pick to repeat as Most Valuable Player. It’s a worthwhile, entertaining read.
ILL WILL STILL THERE: After Marcus Morris agreed to sign with the Spurs before spurning them for New York’s richer offer, San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich called his actions unprofessional. Now, with the Knicks’ season opener taking place in San Antonio on Wednesday, the power forward understands why he will be getting booed, and heavily.
CUTS, CUTS, CUTS: Among those waived with the start of the regular season around the corner are some recognizable names such as Tyler Zeller (Denver), Cameron Payne (Toronto), Hollis Thompson (Sacramento), Alfonzo McKinnie (Golden State), Jarell Martin (Cleveland).
TROUBLE IN PHOENIX: On a Polish podcast recently, Marcin Gortat ripped his former team, the Suns, calling them the worst organization he has ever played for, and referring to Phoenix’s franchise as a brothel on wheels.
SWAGGY P NO MORE? Nick Young says that if he isn’t picked up by a team this season, he’s going to call it a career and retire. It would be a sad ending to what was a fun run for the score-first (second, and third) shooting guard.
BAR RACES: James Harden hit more three-pointers last season than Larry Bird in his first eight years in the NBA.
TRADE RUMOR RANKINGS
These are the players with the most mentions in our trade rumors page the last seven days:
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