Last week it was reported by The Vertical that the Oklahoma City Thunder rescinded their qualifying offer to guard Dion Waiters, making it an unlikely situation for him to return and ensuring cap space for a Russell Westbrook extension. Monday proved that when the Miami Heat acquired Waiters for a two-year, $6 million deal according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Waiters signed using the $2.9 million exception with a player option in the second year.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 25, 2016
This move is good for both the Heat and Thunder. For the Thunder, it gives the team protected cap space to secure an extension for Russell Westbrook, who is now the franchise star. Westbrook can make more money now if he signs this season than if he waits to sign a contract when he becomes a free agent. However, Oklahoma City’s roster, one that was considered the most talented in the NBA, is becoming less talented as key players like Waiters leaves. For the Heat, Waiters fills the void of Dwyane Wade in being a solid shooting guard.
Though Waiters’ statistical output of 9.8 points and 2.6 rebounds for last season is a career-worst, he has proved to be a two-way player in Oklahoma City. He proved himself to be a solid and reliable shooter in this season’s playoffs as he had a 41.7 shooting percentage. He has played beside superstars like LeBron James and Kevin Durant, so he has the experience of playing in winning situations. However, Waiters might not be in one with the Heat.
With Dwyane Wade gone and the uncertainty of Chris Bosh‘s return, Pat Riley and the Heat have had to retool their roster with new faces this summer. Thus, it is unlikely that the Heat will be as successful as they once were. But with young stars like Hassan Whiteside and Justise Winslow, an acquisition in Waiters is a step in the right direction for the team’s future. Waiters will definitely contribute to the team’s offense.
Spark Sports NBA Analyst