With Dwyane Wade headed home to play for the Chicago Bulls, the Miami Heat on Friday continued working to fill out the rest of its roster, agreeing to a one-year, $5 million deal with former Knicks forward Derrick Williams.
The deal was first reported by The Vertical.
Williams, 25, is listed at 6-8 and 240 pounds and is extremely athletic. The former No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 draft averaged 9.3 points and 3.7 rebounds in 17.9 minutes per game with New York last season. He played 80 games and started nine.
“Excited for the opportunity to play for the @MiamiHEAT!,” Williams wrote on Twitter. “World class organization... going to be awesome learning from @CoachSpo.”
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The one-year deal makes sense for the Heat, which is trying to maintain financial flexibility to chase the league’s most prized free agents in the summer of 2017.
Williams, who began his career in Minnesota and played two seasons in Sacramento before joined the Knicks last season, has averaged 9.3 points and 4.2 rebounds throughout his career.
He’s a career 29 percent shooter from three-point range but can still help stretch the floor with his athleticism. He shot 150 three-pointers last season — more than Josh Richardson (115) and Justise Winslow (116).
His addition provides some much needed depth in the front court following the loss of Luol Deng (Los Angeles Lakers) and Joe Johnson (Utah Jazz) in free agency.
Although teammates have said they expect 11-time All-Star Chris Bosh to play next season, he has missed the second half of the season each of the past two years with blood clots. Forward Josh McRoberts hasn’t been the picture of health either, missing large chunks of the season with knee injuries his first two seasons with the team.
The Heat has yet to announce the Williams deal, but his addition cuts the team’s available cap space down to $15 million and brings the roster total to nine players.
That number should increase soon.
Veteran forward Udonis Haslem, 36, is also working on a deal to stay in Miami. The 13-year veteran, who served as one of three team captains last season, would provide a valuable voice of reason and experience in the locker room.
Initially, when the Heat was offering Wade what was left of its almost $20 million in salary cap space, it appeared the team and Haslem could be headed toward a split, too.
But with Wade agreeing to a two-year, $47 million deal with Chicago on Wednesday, the Heat has more money available for Haslem, who earned $2.9 million last season and has the most rebounds in franchise history (1,592) and ranks second in games played (814) and minutes (21,242) behind only Wade.
Haslem tore the plantar fascia in his left foot near the end of the regular season last April and played through pain in the playoffs, providing some valuable minutes in the first-round series victory over the Charlotte Hornets. Haslem said last month he would be healed and healthy by the time training camp started in the fall.
“I know for sure I’ve got two years [left] in me,” Haslem told the Miami Herald last month at a youth basketball camp. “Two years ago, I had to come in and play — Hassan [Whiteside], [Chris Andersen], everybody was out. I gave solid minutes, played well. This year we were in the playoffs — Game 6 in Charlotte. I can be ready in those type of situations for a couple years. I mean, honestly, I can play in a situation where I can play 10 to 15 to 20 minutes a night honestly if I had to.
“I watch the guys around my age -- the David Wests, the Richard Jeffersons, the guys that are getting consistent minutes that are in the rotation and you know I’m very realistic about who I am and what I am at this age. I feel like if I’m a little bit above the level those guys are at as far as how I take care of my body and keep myself in shape. Like I said, those guys contribute minutes at their age. I can as well.”
▪ Miami could also still end up matching the four-year, $50 million offer sheet combo guard Tyler Johnson signed with the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday. The Heat has until Sunday to answer or Johnson’s deal with the Nets will become official.