Barry Jackson

Waiters speaks of Heat future

Miami Heat forward James Johnson and guard Goran Dragic, greet Dion Waiters as they lead in the fourth quarter of the Miami Heat and Charlotte Hornets game at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Wed., March 8, 2017.
Miami Heat forward James Johnson and guard Goran Dragic, greet Dion Waiters as they lead in the fourth quarter of the Miami Heat and Charlotte Hornets game at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Wed., March 8, 2017. pportal@miamiherald.com

Heat guard Dion Waiters, an impending free agent, spoke on Sunday night as if he sees himself part of the Heat’s future.

During an interview on WSVN-7, host Steve Shapiro noted that the Golden State Warriors would be tough to beat in the coming years.

“We’re going to be good, too,” Waiters responded. “We’re going to be good, too.”

Asked by Shapiro if that means he definitely will re-sign with Miami, Waiters said: “That’s the goal, but you never know how things go.”

Asked if he would give the Heat a hometown discount, Waiters expressed a willingness to consider it, but ultimately was noncommittal.

“It depends,” he said. “... It’s got to be right. It’s got to be equal.”

Waiters first expressed his strong interest in returning to the Heat in this piece that I wrote in early March.

“I am enjoying this thing,” he said at the time. “Whatever it takes [this summer], I just want to be here. What we’re building here, we have a chance to do something special. I want to get it done as quick as possible. Let’s keep this thing rolling by any means. I don’t want to go into free agency with a couple days and make a decision. I don’t want that. I know where I want to be. Let’s just get it done. My mom loves it here. Would be mad at me [if I left]. My son loves it. My family loves it.”

Waiters is opting out of a contract that would have been worth $3.1 million next season and could end up with a deal starting at somewhere between $9 million and $16 million.

Heat president Pat Riley, in April, spoke of a desire to keep Waiters and fellow free agent James Johnson, adding: “I hope that Dion and James and the rest of our free agents like it here enough that we’re going to be fair with them and they’ll be fair with us.”

Waiters told Shapiro he’s excited about being a free agent.

“It’s excitement at the end of the day, just getting a chance to go through that process and see what the team is talking about and things like that, just the little things, it’s exciting. This is an exciting time. You knew how hard you worked.”

Here is more on the the Heat’s free agent plans.

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