“I’m Rookie of the Year,” Nunn said in an interview with the South Florida Sun Sentinel, not backing down even when reminded of the superior statistics of Memphis Grizzlies breakout rookie Ja Morant.
Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters was visibly upset after Friday’s preseason finale against the Houston Rockets. It had almost nothing to do with the Heat’s 144-133 loss at home. Nor was Waiters miffed about only getting four shot attempts. The frustration was solely a matter of playing time. After the game, he was among the first dressed in the locker room. With his head down and a stern facial expression, he made his way out the side door and did not say a word to anyone.
The next consideration, naturally, is what will become of Waiters, who usually has the common decency to wait until midseason or so to cause a ruckus within the Heat locker room. A check with multiple front-office executives to gauge trade interest in Waiters didn’t bode well for Miami. It would appear he’s not going anywhere. “They’ve been trying to trade him since last Christmas,” one GM told Heavy.com. “No one was trying to take him on then. After this kind of thing, it would be really hard to take him on now. He has had this kind of junk attached to him just about his whole career.”
Within the organization, there was some relief that Waiters was suspended, a signal that his antics won’t be tolerated. The main issue for Waiters appears to be the deterioration of his minutes, which probably won’t improve much with the rise of rookie guard Tyler Herro, a potential starter.
Waiters didn’t help anything by poking around on Instagram and writing, “lol” when a fan suggested rookie guard Tyler Herro is better than him. He also skewered coach Erik Spoelstra, who led the LeBron James-Dwayne Wade-Chris Bosh Heat to two championships, saying, “I would win if I had Bron and Wade plus Bosh.”
Tim Reynolds: Udonis Haslem on Dion Waiters: “Dion’s our brother. Hope he gets back as soon as possible. I love Dion.”
Shandel Richardson: Erik Spoelstra will offer no further comment on Dion Waiters. Heat sticking with statement from Pat Riley
Tim Reynolds: Source: Heat suspending Dion Waiters for season opener, possibly longer.
Surya Fernandez: Heat suspending Dion Waiters for one game. “There were a number of unacceptable incidents this week, culminating with his unprofessional conduct on the bench last night,” said HEAT President Pat Riley. “As a consequence, I feel we had to suspend him.”
Bobby Marks: The one game Dion Waiters suspension will cost the guard $83,448. There is no tax relief since it was a team issued suspension.
Hassan Whiteside did play in the fourth quarter or overtime of Saturday’s 110-109 overtime loss to the Nets. He’s not happy about it and he may be doubting his future with the Heat.
“Man, it’s annoying. Why we matching up?,” Whiteside said after the game. ‘We got one of the best centers in the league. Why we matching up? A lot of teams don’t have a good center. They’re going to use their strength. It’s bull—-. It’s really bull—-, man. There’s a lot of teams that could use a center. [Expletive]. That’s bull—-.”
“I don’t know if it’s because of a minutes restriction or what. The minutes have been like that all year,” Whiteside said. “It’s just really frustrating and its been frustrating. It’s tough. I don’t know man, it’s crazy. I don’t understand it.” When asked if the lack of minutes has made him question his future in Miami, Whiteside said: “I don’t know. Maybe.”
Ira Winderman: Spoelstra, asked if there’s anything he doesn’t like about his team, “Yeah, there’s quite a bit ... We will get better.”
Just one day after Dion Waiters and Erik Spoelstra pointed to the Heat’s screen-setting as an issue, center Hassan Whiteside had another take on the subject. “I mean, it’s just, it’s just, man, the guys aren’t being patient,” Whiteside said when asked about the issue after Tuesday’s practice. “Me and D-Wade showed that all year long. We ain’t had no problems. It’s just being patient, man, just be patient, wait for the screen and let guys set you up and make decisions. There’s so many lobs and those lobs just don’t make themselves. It has to be something.”
But Miami’s starting backcourt of Goran Dragic and Waiters believe the screen-setter is at fault. “It’s really important,” Dragic said. “If me and Dion want to get in the paint then of course we need good screens so we can get there and break down the guys and try to spray it or finish. When there’s no screen then it’s really tough because then you have two guards, two players with nowhere to go. So that’s why it’s really hard to get open shots and create open shots.”
September 24, 2021 | 5:26 am EDT Update
Former EuroLeague center Tarik Black is back in the NBA. According to a tweet from the player’s agency Priority Sports, Black signed a contract with the Denver Nuggets to return to the league after spending the last three seasons in Europe.
Grizzlies PR: The @memgrizz today announced the team’s 2021 training camp roster. Memphis converted Yves Pons to a two-way contract and signed Shaq Buchanan and Sean McDermott. In addition, the Grizzlies waived Carsen Edwards and Daniel Oturu.
Kristaps Porzingis is entering his third full season with the Dallas Mavericks and is hoping for a fresh start under Jason Kidd after the team parted ways with Rick Carlisle. “I’ll say this: at the end of last year Porzingis wanted to be traded,” said Tim MacMahon on The Hoop Collective Podcast. “My understanding is he feels like he has a fresh start with the coaching change. He’s had the healthy offseason. He’s been able to work, not just on his game but on his body some more. That he’s coming back with a refreshed feel. “At the end of last year, he wasn’t going to come out and ask for a trade. He’s smart enough to understand the optics.”
“He’s already done that once,” replied Brian Windhorst. “But at the end of last year when he stood in the corner and checked the wind for an entire playoff series, he was hoping to be traded,” added MacMahon. “From what I gather, he’s coming back optimistic now.”
The team themselves have never addressed those reports, but during his customary preseason media availability, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka did push back on the sentiment of them nonetheless, disputing the premise of a question about whether keeping Talen Horton-Tucker or Caruso was “an either/or decision” for the team. “We made an aggressive attempt to re-sign Alex Caruso, and we made an aggressive attempt to keep Talen,” Pelinka said on Thursday. “That’s the thing with unrestricted free agency is that you can be in the mix, but players control the ultimate choice.”
“Alex was tremendous here as a championship player, and we’ll be forever grateful for his contributions and his growth,” Pelinka said. “Seeing him go from a G Leaguer, to a two-way (player), to an elite player was something we’ll always be proud of. But he had choices and he chose another team. We pursued him and wanted to keep him, same with Talen, and obviously came to a deal with Talen, and Alex moved on.”
The 6-9 James was listed as weighing 250 pounds last season. Entering his 19th season in the NBA and turning 37 in December, James felt he needed to make a change. “I think the thing that stands out is his fitness level, and he’s slimmed up,” Pelinka said on a videoconference call with reporters Thursday afternoon. “I think … we all know LeBron studies the greats and he adds things into his game and I think going into this stage of his career he’s made a decision to come back a little bit leaner and I think that’s going to translate in explosiveness and quickness.”