MIAMI (AP) — Tyler Johnson was all set for a new chapter in Brooklyn, thinking there was no way he would be back with the Heat.
He was wrong.
He’s staying put, Udonis Haslem is also coming back and there’s a slew of new faces in Miami now after a hectic Sunday series of moves. The Heat matched the $50 million, four-year offer sheet Johnson got from the Nets, and signed Haslem to a $4 million deal for his 14th season in Miami.
With that, the transformation of a Heat team that will be without Dwyane Wade for the first time since 2003 is fully underway.
“For over a decade, Udonis has embodied what it means to wear the Miami Heat uniform,” Heat President Pat Riley said. “He has been the pillar and constant of this organization, and is a true champion in every sense of the word. We are thrilled that Udonis is back to help impart his leadership and instill the Heat culture with his new teammates.”
Along with the Haslem and Tyler Johnson deals, the rundown of Sunday moves went like this: Wayne Ellington and James Johnson signed as free agents, Derrick Williams’ deal got finalized, Luke Babbitt arrived in a trade with New Orleans, and Willie Reed agreed to terms on a contract that will be complete in the coming days.
Ellington gets $12 million for two years, though only the first year is guaranteed. Derrick Williams got $5 million for one year, James Johnson got $4 million for one year and Babbitt has a deal that will pay him about $1.2 million this coming season. Reed’s deal will be a two-year pact with a player option for the second year, according to Yahoo Sports.
Tyler Johnson will make about $6 million in each of the first two years, then about $19 million in each of the final two years, turning the guard into someone who went from undrafted to basically set for life in two years. He’s part of a young core the Heat regard highly, a group that also includes Hassan Whiteside (who got a $98 million, four-year deal finalized last week), Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson.
“They are going to have a tremendous opportunity this season,” Riley said.
Haslem has been vital in the development of center Whiteside — maybe even more vital now with Wade leaving Miami, and the Heat still not knowing if Chris Bosh (who has battled blood clots in each of the last two seasons) will be back. Haslem barely played last season, averaging 1.6 points in extremely limited action spanning 37 games. But Riley said when the season ended that Miami had no plans on letting the Miami native leave, and that held true.
“Way to continue holding it down for your city,” Wade told Haslem on Twitter.
The Heat become Ellington’s seventh team in eight seasons. The shooting guard won an NCAA title at North Carolina and was Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four in 2009. He spent his first three years in Minnesota and has been on the move just about annually since, playing for Memphis, Cleveland, Dallas, the Los Angeles Lakers and most recently Brooklyn.
Ellington has four games of 25 or more points in his career, two of those coming against Miami. And his career best for 3-pointers in a game is seven, done twice — both times against Miami, first in 2012 when he was with the Grizzlies and again last December while with Brooklyn.
“I’m super excited to be a part of a first class organization! Let’s get to work and make it a great season!!!,” Ellington wrote on Instagram.
James Johnson, a 6-foot-9 power forward, averaged 5.0 points and 2.2 rebounds in about 16 minutes for Toronto last season. Babbitt gives Miami shooting depth as someone who has made just over 50 percent of his 3-pointers in the last two seasons, going 113 for 224 from long-range in that span. Williams averaged 9.3 points in 80 games last season for the Knicks, mostly as a reserve.
The Heat had Reed on their summer league team last year, and have held him in high regard since. Once he signs, Miami will be at 15 contracts and could add five more before training camp in September.
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