Miami Heat Must Fill Roster Spot By April 8: NBA Big Man Available

Justin Patton

Getty Justin Patton #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder poses for a portrait during media day at Chesapeake Energy Arena on September 30, 2019.

It’s nearly been two weeks since the Miami Heat made big moves to acquire Victor Oladipo from the Houston Rockets and Nemanja Bjelica from the Sacramento Kings and the clock is ticking for the franchise to fill their 14th roster spot.

At this point, Miami is scraping at the bottom of the barrel of what’s left in the buyout market, and they desperately need a big man to serve as a true backup for All-Star Bam Adebayo.

On April 3, The Athletic’s Kelly Iko tweeted that the Rockets waived Justin Patton from his two-way contract in order to sign Armoni Brooks from their G-League affiliate, which means the 6-foot-11 center is now available and free to sign anywhere.

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After the Rockets received Kelly Olynyk and Avery Bradley from the Heat, Patton largely fell out of Houston’s rotation. In his 13 games with Houston, the 23-year-old averaged 5.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game.

Patton, the 16th overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, doesn’t necessarily need to be a permanent solution for the Heat. Because Miami must sign at least one player by Thursday, the Heat could offer Patton a 10-day contract and see how things play out.

Justin Patton

GettyTaurean Prince #12 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots over Justin Patton #26 of the Houston Rockets during the first quarter at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on February 24, 2021.

Sun Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman said of the Heat’s open roster spots, as there are two available:

The first signing has to be someone more NBA-ready, in case Bam Adebayo has to miss time. Based on the Heat’s position against the luxury tax, they will be able to also add a 15th player closer to the end of the regular season. That is when it would make sense to sign a prospect for the end of the season, playoffs and beyond, to develop in the offseason. It would be similar to the approach with Duncan Robinson, and, more to the point, Kendrick Nunn, at the tail end of 2018-19.

Could the Heat Reunite With Hassan Whiteside?

Hassan Whiteside heat

GettyHassan Whiteside #21 of the Miami Heat motions for the fans to get louder during the final moments of the game against Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on November 14, 2018.

It was a disappointing surprise when LaMarcus Aldridge snubbed the Heat to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, and then there was a large hope the franchise would shift their focus to obtaining Memphis Grizzlies veteran Gorgui Dieng, who signed with the San Antonio Spurs.

Up until March 31, Miami had their eye on another available veteran, DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins, who is expected to sign a 10-day contract with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Now, the focus is now moving toward players who are potential buyout candidates, which is also a small pool of talent. Out of the bunch, if Hassan Whiteside receives a buyout from the Sacramento Kings, the Heat would have no choice but to seriously consider bringing the 7-foot center back to South Beach.

The buyout deadline is on April 9, so whether or not acquiring Whiteside, 31, is even a possibility will be revealed this coming week. ClutchPoints‘ Isaac Doctor listed Whiteside as one of the Top 4 potential buyout candidates and possibly one of “the best budget moves” available:

Whiteside had a strong 2019-2020 campaign for the Portland Trail Blazers, wherein he put up 15.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, and an impressive 2.9 blocks per game. One would think that with those numbers that he would be a highly sought-after free agent, but he received little to no interest in the market and signed a veteran’s minimum contract with the Kings. His playing time in Sacramento was cut nearly in half and with it his production… Nonetheless, a team in desperate need of size and depth at the frontcourt can consider Whiteside.

READ NEXT: Buyout Rumors: Could Miami Heat Nab Lakers Veteran Big Man?

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