Barry Jackson

Miami Heat exercises fourth-year option on Winslow

Miami Heat forward Justise Winslow goes to the basket against Oklahoma City Thunder forward Domantas Sabonis during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Tuesday, December 27, 2016.
Miami Heat forward Justise Winslow goes to the basket against Oklahoma City Thunder forward Domantas Sabonis during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Tuesday, December 27, 2016. dsantiago@elnuevoherald.com

As expected, the Miami Heat exercised its fourth-year option on forward Justise Winslow on Tuesday, guaranteeing him $3.44 million for the 2018-19 season.

The Heat had until Oct. 18 to exercise that option.

Had it not, Winslow would have become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

The Heat also can retain his rights for a fifth season (2019-20) if it extends a $4.6 million qualifying offer.

Winslow will earn $2.7 million this season.

The Heat still has high hopes for Winslow, who was limited to 18 games last season because of multiple injuries, primarily a shoulder injury that required surgery and sidelined him for every game after Dec. 30.

Winslow will compete with Josh Richardson and Rodney McGruder for the starting small forward job.

When I asked Pat Riley in July if he views Winslow as the starter at that position, Riley said: “It’s up to him. He was short-circuited by the wrist and the shoulder. Justise is going to compete like crazy to start. The great thing about Spo, is when we come into training camp, it’s open.”

Winslow has impressed the Heat with his commitment this offseason off shoulder surgery. He’s determined to improve his perimeter shooting, which has been a shortcoming, and other parts of his game.

A source said Winslow “has been off the board with his commitment this summer.”

Selected 10th in the 2015 draft, Winslow has appeared in 96 games with Miami and averaged 7.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 29.8 minutes while shooting 40 percent from the field and 25.8 percent on threes.

He was one of eight Heat players to average double-figures in points (10.9) last season, marking the most for any team in the NBA.

He was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie Second Team in 2015-16 and became just the fifth rookie to lead Miami in games played.

• Quick NBA media note: Doug Collins has accepted a job as a senior advisor for the Chicago Bulls, and ESPN says as a result, Collins no longer works for them. Collins was a very good game analyst, but ESPN still has depth among game analysts with Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson, Hubie Brown, Doris Burke, P.J. Carlesimo and Jon Barry.

Here’s a look at the forward the Heat signed Monday night.... And here’s my post with a six-pack of Tuesday Dolphins notes.... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

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