Heat Tried Buying Draft Pick to Sign Summer League Star, Coach Says

DeJon Jarreau

Getty DeJon Jarreau #3 of the Houston Cougars drives against Warith Alatishe #10 of the Oregon State Beavers during the second half in the Elite Eight round of the 2021 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 29, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The Miami Heat had zero picks going into the 2021 NBA draft, but apparently, the front office tried to sneak in and buy a slot in order to obtain University of Houston guard DeJon Jarreau.

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Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman reported that Adam Simon, Heat’s vice president of basketball operations, had $5.6 million allocated to buy into this year’s draft. In order to utilize the cash, Simon would first need to get the approval of Heat president Pat Riley, General Manager Andy Eisburg, and CEO Nick Arison.

While the Heat ultimately left the 2021 NBA draft with no picks, according to the University of Houston’s head coach Kelvin Sampson, it wasn’t due to a lack of effort. And Miami got lucky with Jarreau, aka “Deeky,” the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year, as he ended up going undrafted.

“(Miami) was trying to buy a pick last night and draft DeJon,” Sampson told The Daily Cougar on July 30, one day after the draft took place. “Had (Miami) had a second-round pick they would have drafted DeJon. They loved DeJon. They targeted him.”

Heat’s Summer League Coach Is Impressed By Jarreau’s Two-Way Talent

Jarreau was forced to miss the Heat’s first two summer league games due to a thigh contusion, Winderman reported, but the 23-year-old guard is now making up for lost time while playing with the team in Las Vegas.

Malik Allen, the Heat’s regular-season assistant coach, who’s serving as Miami’s summer league head coach, is impressed by the 23-year-old’s performance thus far.

“I think he’s really going to be good in pick and rolls, just because of his size, and just his wingspan,” said Allen of the 6-foot-5 guard:

He’s got good vision. He knows the plays. Just now he’s in the process of learning to deliver what those plays are. Because he can see them. He’s comfortable with the ball in his hands, making calls, running the team. Those are the intangibles he’s got offensively. So that skillset is there. It just needs maturing and growth and learning the position a little bit more.

And then defensively, he’s got great length. He’s got good quickness, he’s disruptive. So he’s got some NBA skills that are there, that he can keep growing into, for sure.

During the Heat’s loss on Friday, Jarreau scored 12 points, five rebounds, and four assists.

Jarreau Seems to Be a Near Lock to Earn 1 of the Heat’s Two-Way Player Contracts

While the Heat’s summer league players Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, and Omer Yurtseven have all already signed standard contracts with the Heat, Miami still has room to sign two two-way players for the 2021-22 NBA season.

Thus far, it appears Marcus Garrett , the 2020 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, and three-time Big 12 All-Defensive selection, is a lock for one of the Heat’s two-way contracts, which means there’s really one open spot left on the roster.

Considering the undrafted guard has been part of the team’s summer league starting lineup for two consecutive games, alongside Garrett, Yurtseven, Strus, and KZ Okpala, the latter of whom is entering the final season of his three-year $4.2 million contract, Jarreau appears to be the favorite to nab the other two-way contract.

“I’m just trying to work on playing at my own pace, trying not to let anybody speed me up, trying to see the whole floor,” Jarreau said. “In the NBA, the floor is a little bit more spaced to make those kind of passes, while in college it’s more packed. And I feel like my length helps me see over a lot of guys, and that just makes it easier for other guys.”

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