One of the questions entering summer league was whether Heat center Jarvis Varnado had improved enough to factor into a decision about whether to use the amnesty clause on Joel Anthony, who is due $3.8 million each of the next two seasons.
So far, the results have been mixed. Varnado, the NCAA’s all-time leader in blocked shots, has nine blocks in two games, including five in Monday’s 93-86 victory against Brooklyn in Orlando.
He has expanded his offensive game, evident by his 19-foot jumper in Sunday’s loss to Utah, but also has had trouble finishing around the basket at times and shot4 for 11 and 2 for 7 in the two games.
His rebounding numbers (13 in two games) have been decent but hardly extraordinary. He has been foul-prone, with six in each game. (Unlike normal NBA games, players are not disqualified from summer league play for collecting six fouls.)
And Monday, Varnado was outplayed by Nets center Mason Plumlee, who had 23 points and nine rebounds — including a follow-up dunk over Varnado late in the game.• Second-round pick James Ennis, who struggled in the summer league opener, played better Monday, with 17 points (6-for-12 shooting), five rebounds and three steals. Former Belmont point guard Ian Clark replaced Myck Kabongo in the starting lineup and scored 19 points but also committed five turnovers.
The Heat’s biggest standout Monday was former Tennessee forward Scottie Hopson, who scored 22 points in 26 minutes on 8-for-13 shooting. He played in Greece and Israel the past two seasons. The Heat continues summer league play at 5 p.m. Tuesday against Orlando (NBA TV).
There remains optimism about the Heat’s chances of re-signing Chris Andersen because of his stated desire to return and because the more he signs for, the more his Denver buyout would be reduced. But eight days into free agency, Andersen still had not informed the Heat of a decision as of late Monday afternoon.
The Heat wants him back for $1.7 million, which is the NBA veteran’s minimum for players with his years of service, plus the maximum 20 percent raise. If Andersen got the $3.2 million minilevel exception that’s available to the Heat and other taxpaying teams, the $4.5 million he’s due next season from Denver would be reduced by an amount believed to be $900,000.
The offset would be much less, believed to be $150,000, if he signs for the minimum.
Andersen is expected to make a decision this week. Any decision on whether to amnesty Anthony would need to be made between Thursday and July 17.
Center Chris Bosh will visit India from July 16 to 19 to promote the sport. He will be the 22nd NBA or WNBA player to visit since 2006.