‘I’m still chasing another championship,’ says Pat Riley
A six-pack of Heat notes on a Thursday:
▪ The Heat is getting its fill of Kentucky prospects over a five-day stretch.
In addition to hosting power forward P.J. Washington for his first private NBA visit and workout this coming Sunday, the Heat also hosted swingman Keldon Johnson for a workout and visit on Wednesday at AmericanAirlines Arena, according to a league source.
One NBA official not affiliated with Johnson said Johnson fits the prototype of what the Heat is looking for — a 6-6 wing player who can shoot threes (38.1 percent), defend and contribute in multiple ways.
The question is whether he would be the best option at 13. Some mock drafts have him in that range.
ESPN’s Jonathan Givony has him slipping to 23rd, noting his strengths include “toughness, versatility and 3-point shooting” but also noting that “his struggles creating offense off the dribble caused his stock to fall somewhat.”
Johnson averaged 13.5 points and 5.9 rebounds and shot 46.1 percent last season.
Givony has Johnson slotted behind not only teammates Washington (whom he mocks 13th to the Heat) and guard Tyler Herro (16th; also working out here for the Heat) but also three players that Johnson generally went ahead of in previous mock drafts: FSU center Mfiondu Kabengele (17th), Virginia Tech guard Nickiel Alexander Walker (18) and North Carolina guard Cameron Johnson (21).
Then again, Givony also has two other potential lottery picks slipping: Oregon center Bol Bol to 20th and Southern Cal guard Kevin Porter Jr. to 22nd.
▪ North Carolina’s Johnson, represented by Miami Beach agent Seth Cohen of SAC Sports Representation, is considered one of the best shooters in the draft and will audition for a bunch of teams at a South Florida gymnasium on Friday.
Neither he nor Kabengele has been scheduled for a Heat workout to this point, according to a league source.
▪ The Heat invited French 6-9 small forward Sekou Doumbouya - the only international player in its draft range at No. 13 - for a visit and workout at AA Arena, but he isn’t sure if he will do it because of what was described as “timing” issues.
Givony has Doumbouya going ninth to Washington in his latest mock draft.
“Doumbouya rebounded from a slow start, and he has been very productive in Pro A France since returning from a hand injury,” Givony said. “He has outstanding physical tools for a modern-day NBA forward -- particularly defensively, where he shows significant potential -- and he has a projectable skill level offensively.”
He reportedly will have a Pro Day this weekend, so the Heat can watch him there.
▪ There’s no incentive for Hassan Whiteside ($27 million) or Goran Dragic ($19 million) to opt into their 2019-20 contracts until just before their June 30 deadlines because they can be traded only after they opt in.
The Jazz will be among the teams looking to upgrade at point guard, and Dragic could be an option. Impending free agent Ricky Rubio (12.7 points, 6.1 assists) told Spanish media that Utah informed him he’s not a priority for them.
As for Whiteside, he came to AmericanAirlines Arena to work out in recent days. Miami is expected to again explore trading him once he opts in.
▪ The Heat is expected to check in with Houston on available players (Chris Paul, P.J. Tucker, Eric Gordon) but not sure there’s an ideal match there. Memphis’ Mike Conley remains among several possibilities.
▪ Impending free agent Vince Carter, 42, who announced he will play one more season, would consider the Heat in free agency if Miami is interested, we’re told. He averaged 7.4 points on 42 percent shooting last season.
Carter would be among a couple dozen free agent possibilities to fill the Dwyane Wade role.
Another name, among others, to keep in mind: Free agent Mario Hezonja.