After Miami Heat sharpshooter Duncan Robinson permanently lost his role in the starting lineup and proceeded to became no more than a benchwarmer in the postseason, it was a highly confusing development for analysts and fans across the league.
One of the biggest complaints throughout the Heat’s playoff run thus far is that if there’s such little confidence in Robinson as a player, why did the team offer him a $90 million contract this past summer?
Unfortunately for Robinson, his massive contract is loaded with incentives, most of which he won’t be able to meet due to how little he’s played in the postseason.
The latest Heat news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Heat newsletter here!
As it stands, there’s no way the 28-year-old forward will get paid the full $90 million from his five-year contract extension, per Sun Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman.
Winderman reported on Wednesday, May 25, that Robinson’s deal included the two following incentives: Appear in at least 75% of the Heat’s playoff games and average at least 25 minutes per game in the playoffs. Throughout the Heat’s 15 playoff games thus far, Robinson’s made 11 appearances, averaging 11.27 minutes per game.
While the 6-foot-7 forward did hit two of his regular-season incentives, appearing in at least 70 regular-season games (he played in 71 games), and averaging at least 25 minutes during the regular season (he averaged 25.9 minutes), “the final $10 million of Robinson’s contract is only guaranteed if the Heat win a championship” during any of the five seasons included in his deal.
Duncan Robinson’s agent, Jason Glushon, who also seems perplexed by his client’s lack of playing time this postseason, typically includes these types of incentives when negotiating players’ contracts.
Winderman noted that Glushon represents Celtics center Al Horford, whose team option for next season “jumps by $5 million” if Boston makes it to the NBA Finals, “and $12 million” if they win the title.
Robinson Showed Signs of Life During the Heat’s Game 4 Loss Vs. Celtics
During the Heat’s embarrassing 102-82 Game 4 loss against the Celtics on Monday, May 23 Robins ended up as the team’s second-highest scorer behind Victor Oladipo. He drilled 14 points, 4-of-8 from the arc, in 23 minutes of play. This was the sharpshooter’s highest point total since he scored 27 points in Game 1 of the opening playoff round against the Atlanta Hawks on April 17.
Whether or not Robinson continues to see more playing could depend on Tyler Herro’s return, who sat out during Game 4 with a groin injury. With the Heat/Celtics series tied at 2-2, head coach Erik Spoelstra remained vague about how they will utilize Robinson moving forward.
“Literally every single game in this series, he’s been on my mind,” Spoelstra said during the postgame conference on Monday night. “And, again, it depends on the flow, circumstance of the game. And some of these, I can have an idea but I’m not going to just totally predetermine.”
“He’s emotionally steady,” Coach Spo added. “It doesn’t mean he loves it, but he’s going to be ready for those minutes when they happen.”
Robinson Has Taken a ‘Professional’ Approach to Getting Benched
Earlier this month, Robinson opened up about falling out of the Heat’s rotation. Throughout the regular season, Robinson started 67 games before Strus took over his role in the starting lineup.
Throughout Miami’s first four games against the Sixers, Robinson played one minute. He’s appeared sparingly since, during Game 5 against the Sixers on May 10, the undrafted forward out of Michigan played 14 minutes, scoring four points while shooting 1-of-3 from the beyond the arc. During Game 6, Robinson played a total of four minutes and scored zero points after making just one three-point attempt.
“It has been a challenge,” Robinson said. “But it comes with the territory. It’s part of being a professional.”
“If I’m on the court, it’s my job to play basketball to the best of my abilities and help us win. If I’m not on the court, help us win. If that’s being a supportive teammate, that’s what I do… Whatever coach needs me to do. If he tells me to go in, I go in. If he doesn’t tell me to go in, I don’t go in.”