The days of seeing an injured Josh McRoberts wearing a suit and tie on the Miami Heat bench have officially come to an end.
As expected, the 6-10, 230-pound forward, who missed 137 games because of foot and knee injuries in his three seasons with the Heat, was traded Friday afternoon to the Dallas Mavericks in a move designed to get his $6 million contract for the 2017-18 season off the books and create cap room to potentially re-sign veteran guard Wayne Ellington.
There was optimism on Friday morning the Heat will find a way to fit Ellington’s $6.3 million salary under the cap before the 11:59 p.m. deadline Miami has to do so. While both parties are optimistic Ellington will remain with the Heat, there is nothing official yet.
In addition to McRoberts, the Heat sent its 2023 second round draft pick and cash considerations to Dallas and received 2016 second round pick and second-year center A.J. Hammons in return.
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McRoberts was signed to a four-year, $23 million deal three summers ago coming off his best season as a pro when he started 78 games for the Charlotte Bobcats and averaged 8.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and shot 36 percent from three-point range. Heat team president Pat Riley was excited about signing McRoberts, a stretch four who could space the floor and create for his teammates.
But he played in just 81 regular season games in Miami (out of 246) and averaged 4.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists in 15.7 minutes per game.
During the Heat’s playoff run in 2016, McRoberts broke his left foot in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. McRoberts said he never had surgery on his foot. Instead, the team opted to place it in a boot and figured he would recover with rest.
But shortly after having the boot removed in August, McRoberts had a setback and once again started the season sidelined. He returned a couple weeks into the season and appeared in 22 games before he suffered a stress fracture on Dec. 23 and didn’t play again.
Heat fans were often unforgiving on social media in their frustration towards McRoberts. He understood why.
“I completely get it,” McRoberts said last September as the Heat opened training camp in the Bahamas. “I’m the big white guy who gets hurt all the time. I wouldn’t like me either.
“So, I think I completely understand where it comes from. I get it. I want to be out there. It’s not like I got hurt walking a dog. I got hurt trying to play for the Heat, trying to help the team win. That’s just part of it. I’ve had bad luck and I’ve done everything I can to be healthy. Trust me, if anybody is frustrated, it’s me, more so [than the fans]. So, I definitely understand the fans [frustrations]. I’m a fan of other sports, too. Guys get hurt and you are like ‘Man, we need that guy. We need him to play.’ I get it.”
Now, McRoberts, 30, will continue his career with the Mavericks.
The Heat, meanwhile, have added Hammons to its roster.
Selected 46th overall by Dallas in last year’s draft out of Purdue, Hammons appeared in 22 games last season with the Mavericks and averaged 2.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in 7.4 minutes of action while shooting 40.5 percent from the field. Hammons (7-0, 260) was named the 2016 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and to the All-Big Ten First Team during his senior season at Purdue.
▪ As for the Heat’s future draft picks, Miami now owns just one second round pick (2022) over the next six seasons. Miami has its 2018 first round pick (top seven protected) and its 2021 first round pick promised to Phoenix as part of the Goran Dragic trade.