Barry Jackson: I asked Riley if this would be successfu…

More on Dion Waiters Free Agency

Dion Waiters indicated Sunday he is willing to give the Miami Heat a hometown discount when it comes to his impending free agency. The question, of course, is the degree of the largesse. Appearing on WSVN's 7 Sports Xtra, Waiters said he would be willing to make an accommodation with the team that helped revive his career, something he indicated at season's end and then during a recent appearance on ESPN. "It depends," he said Sunday. "Yeah, I would, though. But, like I said, it depends, just being the right thing, at the right time. It's just got to be right. It's got to be equal."
Waiters, 25, will turn down an option worth a little more than $3.2 million. His consistent production this past season bodes well for a considerable salary increase. June 29 is Waiters' official deadline date. Sources say the Heat are aware of his intentions
First, everything about what Dion Waiters might (or might not) realize on the free-agent market at this point is speculation. And the NBA types I have spoken to believe that some of the speculation is at a far higher rate than Dion might realize, considering the limited market last summer and the small sample size this past season due to injury. But often none of that matters, since it only takes one suitor to set the market, with plenty of cap space available around the league. Ultimately, it could come down to Dion's preference of cash or contention.
Dion Waiters wants to re-sign with the Heat this summer. The question is, will he? “I want to be there,” Waiters said Thursday when asked if he wants to return to the Heat during an appearance on The Hochman and Crowder Show on WQAM. “When that time comes and we sit down, we just got to make it happen. Let’s get it over with as quick as possible.”
Waiters holds a $3 million player option to return to the Heat next season, but he’s expected to enter free agency this summer with more money available on the open market. He made $2.9 million with Miami this season. “I think I’ll be back [with the Heat],” Waiters said on WQAM. “We just got to make it work and hopefully everything can come together full circle.”
Look, I know we fell one game short of the playoffs, and it kills me. If I hadn’t gone down with an injury, I think we all know where we’d be right now. But you know what? The run this season was magical. Our fans sold out the arena every night, even when we were left for dead. I love Miami. I had a hell of a season here.
Hopefully, we found a home down here. However it shakes out, this has been a hell of a ride this season, and now that you know a little bit about where I come from, and what I’ve seen, you know I’m being real with you when I say that I’m just thankful.
I genuinely thought I was going to be back in OKC this season, and we were going to make another run at it. But things didn’t work out that way, because basketball is a business. When I got a call from Miami, I went down there and walked into the O.G. Pat Riley’s office. It was damn near the best thing that’s happened in my NBA career.
When I heard that Miami was interested in me this summer, I wasn’t really seeing it at first. Nothing against the Heat, but I didn’t know how I’d fit there. Then I met Pat Riley. I walked into his office and … damn. The hair was slicked back, and he was wearing one of those suits of his, you know, real O.G., looking like a million bucks. Behind him, he’s got photos of all his championship teams lining the walls. He’s wearing one of his nine rings. He’s sitting there looking like De Niro in Casino. He’s looking like the boss. He’s looking like he’s seen it all, because he has. Purely as a basketball fan, I just want to learn from this man.
I knew right away Pat was a real guy, because he wasn’t even asking me about basketball. He was asking me about life. Then Pat says, “We’re going to get you in world-class shape. Not good shape. Not great shape. World-class shape.” I mean, I’m in the NBA. In my mind, I’m already in good shape. But do I eat a Philly steak every now and then when I’m home? You know I do. So Pat’s looking at me like, “Give us a season, and you’ll see. World-class.” Even the way this man pronounces world-class is world-class, you know what I mean? And then he says to me, “Tell me something about Dion that I don’t already know. Not about basketball. About life.”
If Miami Heat owner Micky Arison was trying to send a message about which direction the franchise will be going when the free agent period officially begins in July – consider it strongly delivered. Roughly 50 minutes prior to midnight Saturday, Arison posted a photo on his Instagram account of himself standing alongside Dion Waiters, James Johnson and a bunny rabbit and a caption which read: “The @miamiheat future looks very bright.”
Dion Waiters: I don't really do the social media thing!! But I will tell yu this. I will go to war wit this group of guys any day, any time, & anywhere.. this team & organization is for competitors only!!!! #ForTheCulture #PhillyCheese signing out!!!!! 🔥🔥🔥🔥 #SpecialGroupRightHere
Whiteside, meanwhile, said he would like to see what the team could do with Waiters healthy for a full season. Waiters has missed 12 games in a row because of a sprained left ankle and missed another 20 with a groin injury the first half of the season. “Obviously Pat didn’t trade any of us,” Whiteside said. “He wanted to see what this team can do.” “I think how we were in the second half of the season with Dion, we kind of mixed better as a team. We knew each other a lot better and we knew each other’s strengths a lot better. We know we can talk to each other eye to eye and face to face.”
But ask him about the idea of becoming Wade’s longterm successor here, not merely a one-year stopgap, and that elicits one of Waiters’ infectious smiles. “If you don’t think like that, you’re crazy,” he said. “I am enjoying this thing. Whatever it takes [this summer], I just want to be here. What we’re building here, we have a chance to do something special.”
In a weak market for free agent shooting guards, Waiters – a bargain at $2.9 million this season - could cost a bundle: perhaps $14 million or more this summer, and the Heat doesn’t need to decide yet if it’s going to pay it until Miami sees the closing chapter of the most impressive run of Waiters’ five-year career. But Waiters, 25, already knows how he wants this summer to play out. “I want to get it done as quick as possible,” he said, hoping Heat longterm interest is mutual. “Let's keep this thing rolling by any means. I don't want to go into free agency with a couple days and make a decision. I don't want that. I know where I want to be. Let's just get it done. My mom loves it here. Would be mad at me [if I left]. My son loves it. My family loves it.”
Could he see himself in Miami long term now that he’s made it past the trade deadline? “You never know what the world holds or what can happen. I live day by day,” Waiters said. “But like I said, I enjoy [being with the Heat]. Like I said, my teammates are great, the chemistry we’ve built, like I said I'm comfortable. Once you find comfort somewhere it makes everything else easier. Like I said, I'm comfortable, [there’s] Coach Pat. We’re going to see. “It’s Miami, my son loves it. Why not? We’re going to finish out strong and let everything else take care of itself.”
“He ain’t got to question me. He’s never got to question me,” Waiters said with a smirk Friday afternoon at shootaround when he was told what Riley had said about him and how his play down the stretch this season could affect his long term prospects with the Heat. “At the end of the day, I'm going to go out there, play my game, play hard and make sure that I leave it all out there for my teammates,” Waiters continued. “If I play hard every night, knowing I played hard, I can sleep good at night.”
Did he like hearing Riley, 71, toss out a bit of a challenge to him and others? “It’s a challenge everyday just being in the NBA,” said Waiters, who is averaging a career-high 15.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists and shooting a career-best 38.4 percent from three-point range this season. “Pat puts those type of expectations on us because he believes in us. I don’t call it pressure. I think it’s called a guy just showing great belief in us and this team that we have. Why not go for it all?”
Although the odds remain long that he returns to Miami, he is saying the right things and endearing himself to the franchise both on and off the court, especially recently. “Everything,” Waiters said this week when asked what has allowed him to feel at home with the Heat. “Organization, people around the organization, my teammates, coach, of course Pat (Riley). I think this is the best opportunity for me. Like I said when I signed, it wasn’t about the money it was about the opportunity and having a place you call home. I’m just happy I made that decision.”
The Oklahoma City Thunder rescinded the qualifying offer to guard Dion Waiters on Monday, making him an unrestricted free agent, league sources told The Vertical. The move protects salary cap space for the Thunder’s primary offseason objective, league sources said: persuading five-time All-Star guard Russell Westbrook to renegotiate his contract, which would eliminate his 2017 free agency.
Anthony Slater: Alex Abrines deal likely means Dion Waiters is gone. Creates flexibility. Abrines a bit younger, a lot cheaper + restricted at end of contract.
As The Post has reported, the Nets have maintained interest in the Thunder’s Waiters, but after losing out on both Crabbe and Johnson when Portland and Miami matched two contracts worth a combined $125 million, that interest has intensified. After going 0-for-2 in his swings at 24-year-old restricted free agent off-guards, will Nets general manager Sean Marks try a third? He will spend the next few days weighing whether to make an offer.
For the Nets, one possibility on the market could be a run at Oklahoma City Thunder restricted free-agent guard Dion Waiters, league sources said. The Nets have given some consideration to an offer, but will likely evaluate that in the next few days, league sources said.
Despite reaching a deal with Afflalo, the Kings still might add another shooting guard. Restricted free agent Dion Waiters is expected to meet with the Kings this weekend.
Keith Pompey: Dion Waiters will meet with the #SacramentoKings this weekend. The #sixers want to have a face-to-face meeting with the shooting guard.
Jason Jones: Sounding more and more like the Kings' top target in free agency is Dion Waiters more than 12 hours into free agency. One source described Waiters as "locked in" on Sacramento. He's restricted so OKC could match so expect any offer sheet to be big. Big, of course, is relative in NBA money. I could see Waiters getting $18 million a year.
Among the free agents contacted by the Sacramento Kings early Friday morning were Dion Waiters, Ryan Anderson and Matthew Dellavedova, league sources told The Vertical. Waiters is considered one of the Kings’ top targets, a source said.
Alex Kennedy: League sources continue to say that the Kings may make a significant offer to Dion Waiters.
Tim Bontemps: Have heard the same, along with Allen Crabbe, as I believe @Sam Amick reported. Kings going hard after young SGs. - RT: Chris Mannix: A player gaining significant traction in Sacramento, sources tell @TheVertical: Dion Waiters. Kings have a need for backcourt scoring.
A source told Sporting News that the Sixers will also show interest in two other restricted free agents, Dion Waiters of the Thunder and Allen Crabbe of the Trail Blazers. The Thunder would likely let Waiters — a Philadelphia native — go without matching because they’ve acquired guard Victor Oladipo, and Philadelphia could make a sizable offer for Crabbe, who is 24 and had a breakout year with the Blazers. Crabbe, though, is stuck behind guards C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard, and Portland would not be able to match an offer if it is big enough.
The 76ers have some interest in Dion Waiters, Oklahoma City shooting guard and restricted free agent, according to a league source. However, the source adds that team also has concerns about the concept of the South Philly native returning home to play. Waiters’ 21-year-old brother, Demetrius Pinckney, was murdered in March in the Gray’s Ferry section of Philadelphia. At the time, Police Commissioner Richard Ross said the incident might have resulted from a years-old feud.
The Sixers, though, are concerned that he will be in a negative environment in which trouble will follow him, the source said, adding that there also are concerns that the sometimes-blunt Waiters wouldn't mesh well with the Sixers' young and impressionable locker room. Sources reiterated that the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder has a strong desire to play for the Sixers. That would enable him to play in front of family members and friends regularly for the first time.
In addition to the Sixers, a source confirmed that Waiters is attracting interest from the Sacramento Kings. Oklahoma City will be able to match any offer sheet Waiters signs with another team. So Waiters can talk to other teams and sign an offer, but the Thunder will have the final say in where he ends up.
How does Oladipo's arrival affect Waiters? Presti answered the question from the angle of how playing Oladipo and Waiters would work rather than how the Thunder can keep Waiters on the roster when he's potentially making six figures. “That's an interesting question, because we really like the fact that we could potentially have several players on our team now that can attack the paint, that can guard different positions,” Presti said. “They all play with force. It's intriguing. Like we have to sit down and sort through that, but I think it's pretty rare that you have all of these different players that can play pick-and-roll, that can get into the lane, that have good vision. So that remains to be seen. But, obviously, Victor gives us coverages there. At the same time Dion has shown to be a really good fit the same way. So I'm interested to see that, to be honest with you."
Anthony Slater: Sam Presti sounds confident that Dion Waiters will be back next season: "Again, like we've been through these situations in the past. I never want to speculate on how free agency will go. The only thing I can tell you is it generally bodes well when the player is wanting to be back. Any time you have the opportunity to have a mutual goal, that's always a positive. I do think that in his case, I think the odds are more likely in the event that we're working in partnership. I think it becomes more challenging and more difficult in the event of it becoming an offer sheet type situation. But we don't have the answers. I can't predict the future. I'm happy for Dion. I think he's working toward realizing his potential, and I'm happy for him."
Dion Waiters: Don't believe everything y'all hear lol I guess this what the world coming to smh especially if it didn't come from me.
Dion Waiters wants to play for the 76ers next season, according to a source close the Oklahoma City Thunder reserve guard. “He wants to come home,” said the source, noting that Waiters is from South Philly. “Plus, he knows that he could be the missing shooting guard the need. And he could possibility get a [very lucrative] contract with the Sixers.”
Storyline: Dion Waiters Free Agency
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Lonzo Ball available?

Feb. 6: most players who signed free-agent contracts in the offseason can begin to be traded. A team that is expected to be prominent in the trade market picture, rival teams expect: The New Orleans Pelicans. The franchise is off to an uneven 5-10 start to the season. New Orleans has been receiving calls about the availability of Lonzo Ball and JJ Redick and has shown an openness to discussing trades around both with interested teams, sources tell The Athletic. A move would create a clearer pathway for young guards Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kira Lewis in the Pelicans’ rotation.
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