Why Miami Heat Pressed Pause on Signing Summer League Star

Marcus Garrett

Marcus Garrett/Instagram Miami Heat sign summer league star Marcus Garrett.

The Miami Heat have a pretty stacked starting lineup following a flurry of free agency moves, and even though the team’s 14-player roster is set for the 2021-22 NBA season, the franchise still needs to decide which two players they will sign under two-way contracts.

It’s largely expected for the Heat to sign Marcus Garrett, who was named national 2020 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, to be offered a two-way contract, as the undrafted Kansas alum drew a lot of attention during the NBA’s summer league for his stellar defensive performance.

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In his first four games playing with the Heat in Las Vegas and Sacramento, the three-time Big 12 All-Defensive selection averaged 11 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.3 steals, and 0.8 blocks while shooting 65.4% from the floor and 42.9% on threes.

While an illness kept Garrett out of the last two summer league games, the 6-foot-5, 205-pound combo guard did enough to prove he’s worthy of earning a two-way spot. So, what’s the holdup?

Two days after summer league came to a close, Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson provided clarity on why the Heat pressed pause on locking in the 22-year-old prospect.

“Incidentally, Heat remains interested in Marcus Garrett — a 2-way has been discussed – but he’s in middle of changing representation and thus cannot do anything with any team for at least a week (unless Garrett does the contract himself, which would be odd for a rookie),” Jackson tweeted on August 19.

Lil Wayne’s Young Money APAA Sports announced they were signing Garret via Instagram on May 1. It’s not clear if he’s in the midst of leaving the rapper’s agency, as Garrett is not featured on Young Money’s official website, or if he’s still in the process of ironing out the details of that contract.

Heat’s Max Strus Is a Huge fan of Garrett’s Defensive Talent

Garrett received a big vote of confidence from Heat guard Max Strus, who was signed to a standard contract this summer after spending last season as one of Miami’s two-way players.

Strus, whose insane sudden death game-winning three was a summer league highlight, believes Garrett could be a great defensive weapon.

“He guarded me in practice the first day and he was everywhere,” Strus said, per Sun Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman:

I couldn’t even get open. So he’s definitely got that about him. He gets through screens so easily and he’s strong. You think he looks really skinny and frail, but he’s strong and he gets through screens easily. He doesn’t really ever get hit. And he’s got super-long arms that help him. He’s definitely got that. He wants to be a great defender, so that’s the biggest part of it.

Miami Heat’s 2021-22 NBA Roster So Far

While the Heat said goodbye to Kendrick Nunn, Andre Iguodala, Trevor Ariza, and Nemanja Bjelica, the team also lost Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa in the deal that brought Lowry to Miami.

The following 14 players are locked in for the Heat’s 2021-22 NBA season:

Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler, Udonis Haslem, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, P.J. Tucker, Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, KZ Okapala, Dewayne Dedmon, Markieff Morris, Victor Oladipo, and Omer Yurtseven.

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