The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor tweeted Saturday that the Miami Heat are the “current favorite” to sign free agent Gordon Hayward.
Three league sources sense the current favorite for Gordon Hayward is Miami. Reasons: better lifestyle, Spoelstra, "feature scoring role."— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) July 1, 2017
The Heat also have pulled out all the stops to sign the player O’Connor called “a superstar in the making” in March. According to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, five Heat players — Hassan Whiteside, Udonis Haslem, Josh Richardson, Tyler Johnson and (free agent) James Johnson greeted Hayward in his meeting today. The fact that Johnson recruited Hayward on coming to Miami may signal he will also return to the Heat. And the Heat’s own arena showed Hayward what it may look like to be in Miami.
Miami with the full-court press; decorated AAA Arena & the following at the meeting:— Dont Hate The H3at (@DontHateTheH3at) July 1, 2017
May be more pic.twitter.com/LYR0PVBFl7
Jackson also said that Miami “would be very receptive to” utilizing the “stretch provision” to release oft-injured Josh McRoberts. That would give the Heat more room to sign Johnson if Hayward signs a maximum deal starting at $29 million. The Vertical’s Chris Mannix said that Rudy Gay is a possible fallback option for Miami.
While Johnson appears willing to wait on Hayward’s decision, Dion Waiters has already spoken with representatives from the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls and Sacramento Kings. That’s probably a smart move on Waiters’ part — if the Heat sign Hayward, there probably won’t be the money or the role Waiters would want.
Newly signed Adebayo impresses in summer league debut
The Heat signed first-round pick Bam Adebayo to a contract starting at $2.5 million, the scale for a player selected with the 14th pick. Some criticized the Adebayo selection, wondering why Miami used a lottery pick on a player who may only become Whiteside’s backup. But Adebayo impressed in the Heat’s summer league debut — a 74-67 loss to the Charlotte Hornets — showcasing a shooting stroke that could allow him to play alongside Whiteside.