The Miami Heat have signed unrestricted free agent center Kelly Olynyk to a four-year contract worth $50 million over four years.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news on Thursday evening:
Free agent Kelly Olynyk has agreed to a four-year, $50M-plus deal with the Miami Heat, agent Greg Lawrence tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 6, 2017
Kelly Olynyk Signs Four-Year Contract With Miami Heat
Olynyk’s contract will take him through the end of the 2020-21 season. There is a player option heading into the fourth year of the contract. Olynyk, who was originally a restricted free agent, became an unrestricted free agent earlier in the week once Boston renounced his rights to clear room for Gordon Hayward.
Olynyk averaged 9.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game last season for the Boston Celtics. He had a particularly memorable performance in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals, erupting in the second half and carrying the Celtics past the Washington Wizards, 115-105, with 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting. No one predicted that Olynyk would emerge as the hero of Game 7.
Can the long-haired big man duplicate that kind of dominance in Miami?
Olynyk is young – just 26 years old – and relatively versatile on offense. Although he fell short of matching his production from his 2015-16 breakout season, Olynyk shot a decent 35.4 percent from beyond the arc and 51.2 percent from the field during the 2016-17 campaign. Olynyk’s outside scoring threat will help the Heat spread the floor, as it did in Boston, clearing the way for more prolific scorers. It will be very interesting to see how head coach Erik Spoelstra uses Olynyk in his offense.
Olynyk is quite proficient at getting to the rim. Though the pump fakes and penetration moves that were a staple for the seven-footer during the 2015-16 season were not as abundant this past season, Olynyk is still quite effective at drawing defenders and finding open wing players. Olynyk is a solid passer with good handles, and he has the potential to be a creative force on offense in Miami.
On the downside, Olynyk is not a strong defender. His defensive rating of 107 in 2016-17 tied his career-worst. He has an unimpressive wingspan, measuring at just 6’10’” – shorter than his height of 7’0″. Olynyk also has difficulty guarding bigger bodies in the paint, and lacks lateral quickness. Although Olynyk has admittedly made some progress with his positional defense, he is, by most accounts, an overall defensive liability. Accordingly, despite what Olynyk may bring to the table on offense, the Heat may not be able to risk having him on the floor for extended minutes in certain matchups or at crucial points in games.
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