The Miami Heat is expecting 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony, who is expected to be waived and become a free agent after being traded to the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday, to sign with the Houston Rockets, a league source said Friday.
The Heat had some interest in Anthony, 34, and met with him in Las Vegas at Anthony’s request during NBA Summer League action more than a week ago. But the source said the role and the kind of money Anthony was looking for wasn’t a fit with the Heat.
Miami already has 12 players on the roster, is roughly $4 million over the $123 million luxury tax line and intends to continue to develop some of its younger wing players in Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow.
TNT’s David Aldridge reported on Twitter Thursday Anthony has been telling people for more than a week he’ll ultimately wind up with the Rockets.
Anthony, who is coming off his worst season both scoring (16.2 points per game) and shooting (40.4 percent from the field), is expected to still receive the $27.9 million he’s owed for this coming season in the buyout with the Hawks.
It’s unclear how much money Anthony will ask the Rockets for, but with luxury tax concerns its clear the Heat is not looking to break the bank for a team not considered a serious title contender.
▪ As for Dwyane Wade, who continues to tour China after signing a lifetime contract with the Chinese shoe and apparel company Li-Ning earlier this week, the Heat is hoping to get an answer regarding his future soon.
Wade, 36, told the Associated Press recently he’ll focus on his decision to either return for a 16th NBA season or potentially retire after he gets back from China.
Most expect Wade will request the Heat’s $5.3 million tax exception as a starting point in negotiations should he decide to return. A league source said it will ultimately be up to Heat owner Micky Arison to decide how far he’s willing to go into the luxury tax to re-sign the 12-time All-Star, who was still very effective in Miami’s first round playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Pat Riley said last month following the draft the Heat would like for Wade and veteran Udonis Haslem to return. Miami has left two of a possible three roster spots open for both of them, but has also looked into other options in case either player decides to retire.
A league source said the Heat reached out to Wade multiple times before reaching a one-year, $6.27 million deal with Wayne Ellington last week in hopes of getting a better understanding of what Wade would want financially to return.
But Wade, the source said, put off any discussions about his future until after his return from China.
▪ Former Sixers and Nets center Jahlil Okafor, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 draft and a former teammate of Winslow’s at Duke, worked out for four NBA teams in Las Vegas last week and has been working out in Miami for the past few months.
But a league source said the Heat, already with three centers on the roster and unable to move center Hassan Whiteside in part because of his contract, is not interested in Okafor.
▪ Former Heat player Ricky Davis, in town for the Big3 half-court 3-on-3 basketball league this week, spent the afternoon before Friday’s games at AmericanAirlines Arena feeding and handing out supplies to the homeless. More than 400 people were served according to the Heat, which lent a hand as well.
▪ Although the Miami Marlins severed ties with Papa John’s after it was learned founder John Schnatter used a racial slur about African-Americans on a conference call in May, the Heat still has not decided what it will do with its partnership with the pizza chain.
“We do not want to penalize local ownership and the employees who live in our community,” a Heat spokesman said. “We don’t want to hurt businesses in town that had nothing to do with this controversy.”
Schnatter resigned as chairman of the board two weeks ago.