Report: Dion Waiters Signs with Miami Heat

According to reports, the Miami Heat have signed unrestricted free agent shooting guard Dion Waiters to two-year contract worth nearly $6 million. Jon Krawczynski and Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press broke the news of the signing on Monday afternoon:

Krawczynski originally reported the deal to be worth $2.9 million over one year. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical later corrected him, reporting that the final terms are for a similar annual salary but for two years, totaling nearly $6 million:

Report: Dion Waiters Signs with Miami Heat

Waiters’ new deal will take him through the end of the 2017-18 season. Waiters has a player option after the first year, giving him a chance to enter free agency again next summer, just as the NBA’s salary cap spikes even more. That option makes Waiters’ contract essentially the same as the original reports of a one-year, $2.9 million deal, as it’s very likely that Waiters will choose to opt out and become a 2017 free agent.

Waiters averaged 9.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, and two assists last season for the Oklahoma City Thunder. His numbers dropped slightly last year from the 2014-15 season, but took up a new role with the Thunder. Waiters became the outlet shooter for the Thunder, making himself available when Thunder stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were double teamed. Waiters’ numbers may have dropped, but he fit into place more so than during his time in Cleveland. Waiters’ main role with the Thunder was coming off the bench when the team needed balanced scoring. Durant and Westbrook may be stars, but they can’t score all the points. Waiters was one of the more important bench players the NBA saw last season. Waiters’ presence off the bench helped the Thunder reach the Western Conference Finals, where the team was beaten in Game 7 of a thrilling series against the Golden State Warriors.

Looking forward, Waiters provides a good dose of scoring of the bench and will certainly help the Heat in that area. Waiters may look for a starting role in Miami, but he may need to realize he’s best coming off the bench and will need to do so to truly be successful with the Heat. The Heat recently re-signed guard Tyler Johnson to a much more hefty contract than that of Waiters, so Johnson currently projects to be the starting shooting guard alongside Goran Dragic in the backcourt. If Waiters stays healthy like he has done so for most of his NBA career, then there is no reason why he can’t help his new team make the playoffs again in the 2016-17 season.

Waiters is going into his fifth season in the league, during which he’ll be 24 years old. So far in his NBA career, Waiters has played for just two teams — Cleveland and Oklahoma City. Waiters was drafted out of the Syracuse University by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2012, with the fourth overall pick.

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