Heat Check

New Heat addition Kelly Olynyk signs contract, has knack for getting under the skin of opponents

Miami Heat center Hassn Whiteside fouls Boston Celtics Kelly Olynyk in the first quarter at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida, November 28, 2016.
Miami Heat center Hassn Whiteside fouls Boston Celtics Kelly Olynyk in the first quarter at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida, November 28, 2016. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

Draymond Green, who has drawn 56 technical fouls, nine flagrant fouls and been ejected three times in his career counting the playoffs, made headlines back in May when he called newly signed Heat 7-footer Kelly Olynyk “a dirty player.”

Green, the league’s Defensive Player of the Year, called Olynyk out after he set a hard screen on Wizards forward Kelly Oubre Jr. in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals and Oubre Jr. retailiated by sprinting at Olynyk and shoving him to the floor.

“I don’t respect guys like that,” Green said on his own podcast. “It’s a big difference between knowing all the tricks because knowing all the tricks ain’t doing stuff to hurt people. Like come on, he really yanked this dude’s shoulder [Cavaliers forward Kevin Love] out of place [in the 2015 playoffs]. I don’t roll with that man. Dude dirty.”

While Olynyk, 26, might have a reputation for getting under his opponents’ skin, he certainly doesn’t have a history of getting in trouble for it. For one, he’s never been ejected or called for a flagrant foul and he’s been whistled for only four technical fouls in his four-year career, according to ESPN.

“I know who I am,” Olynyk told reporters the day after his confrontation with Oubre Jr. “My teammates know who I am. Everybody is entitled to their opinion.”

Heat center Hassan Whiteside lost his cool with Olynyk only a couple seasons ago and was ejected and suspended for a game after he hit Olynyk in the back of the neck with an elbow.

Afterward, Whiteside apologized to his teammates and Olynyk for it. Whiteside said Olynyk accepted his apology “and wished me much success in the future.”

The two get along well now according to a Whiteside associate.

That’s a good thing because they’re obviously teammates now.

After signing a four-year, $50 million contract on Friday with the Heat, Olynyk figures to play a prominent role in the Heat’s rotation as one of the first players off the bench in the frontcourt.

“As soon as Kelly Olynyk became an unrestricted free agent, we pursued him,” Heat president Pat Riley said in a statement released by the team on Friday. “He is not only a post player, he can also play away from the basket. What we like the most is that he is a playmaker, tough defender and rugged rebounder. At just 26 years old, he fits in perfect with our young core that will play together in their primes.”

 

OFFICIAL: The Miami HEAT have signed F Kelly Olynyk.

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Olynyk appeared in 75 games (six starts) with Boston last season and averaged 9.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 20.5 minutes while shooting a career-best 51.2 percent from the field, 35.4 percent from three-point range and 73.2 percent from the foul line.

He also set single-season career highs in assists (148), defensive rebounds (288), field goals made (260), field goal percentage, minutes (1,538) and games played and joined Dirk Nowitzki as the only 7-footers in NBA history to make at least 200 made three-point field goals and dish out at least 400 assists during his first four seasons in the league.

During last season’s playoff run, Olynyk appeared in 18 playoff games (two starts) and averaged 9.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 19.2 minutes of action. In Game 7 of the conference semifinals against Washington he scored 26 points, all off the bench, on 10-of-14 shooting in under 30 minutes to help his team advance to the conference finals.

The only reason he was available to the Heat was because Boston renounced his rights on July 4, the same day the Celtics received word from top free agent target Gordon Hayward he had picked them over Miami and Utah.

Born in Toronto, Canada, Olynyk developed his basketball skills as a point guard until he grew too tall to play the position by the 11th grade. He was a standout his junior year at Gonzaga and was eventually taken with the 13th pick by the Dallas Mavericks in the 2013 draft and promptly traded to the Celtics.

Olynyk’s father, Ken, was the men's basketball coach at the University of Toronto and the Canadian junior men’s national team coach for 13 years each. Olynyk’s father is infamously known for cutting future basketball star and two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash from the junior national team. Olynyk’s mother, Arlene, served as a women’s basketball official and worked as a scorekeeper for the Toronto Raptors.

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