Fiery Exchange Signals Big Change Coming for Heat

Erik Spoelstra Miami Heat

Getty Miami Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra.

The biggest story to come out of the Miami Heat’s January 10 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder had nothing to do with the final score. Late in the first half, rotation-center Dewayne Dedmon and Head Coach Erik Spoelstra got into an argument on the Heat bench. During the fiery exchange, Dedmon slapped a massage therapy gun onto the court and ended up being ejected from the game.

The heated disagreement could wind up having some serious consequences for the 33-year-old.

In a January 11 article for the Sun Sentinel, Ira Winderman hinted that Dedmon’s days in South Beach could be numbered.

“In many ways, the Heat had moved on from Dewayne Dedmon even before Tuesday night’s words with Erik Spoelstra and subsequent ejection,” Winderman wrote.

He cited Spoelstra’s recent favoring of rookie-center Orlando Robinson as writing on the wall for a potential Dedmon exit. Robinson got the start against the Thunder as regular-starter Bam Adebayo was sidelined with a wrist injury.

Widerman then went into detail about what would have to happen in order for Miami to move on from the veteran center.

“Dewayne is not trade eligible until Sunday (January 15), and the Heat cannot afford to eat his salary. What the Heat have to do is find a trade partner who can send less back in salary, so the Heat then can shift Orlando from his two-way contract and still remain below the luxury tax,” he explained.

The Heat Beat writer even went as far as suggesting that the team would like to see Dedmon get a multi-game suspension. Teams will often get luxury tax relief if a player is suspended by the league without pay. According to Spotrac, the Heat are just under the tax threshold by $185,171. They could certainly benefit from a bit more wiggle room there.

On the season, Dedmon is a team-low -93 over the course of 29 games for the Heat. His 5.9 points and 3.7 rebounds per game aren’t exactly translating to wins.

Erik Spoelstra Speaks on Heated Exchange

Spoelstra was interviewed by TNT shortly after Dedmon’s ejection. The Heat coach took the high road and played off the disagreement between the two.

“It’s a regular Tuesday night with the Miami Heat. We’re in a one point game and we had some skirmishes on the bench,” he said.


Heat Set Free Throw Record in Win Over Thunder

Besides the blow out between Spoelstra and Dedmon, the matchup with Oklahoma City went well for Miami. That is, as well as it could when four of five starters were sidelined with injuries.

The Heat needed a lot of help to pull out the 112-111 victory over the Thunder. They set a league record, sinking all 40 of their attempts from the charity stripe. The performance marked the most made free throws without a miss in NBA history.

The 40th attempt was a big one. Star forward Jimmy Butler sank the team’s final free throw to give Miami a one-point lead with just under 13 seconds remaining.

Butler finished with an impressive stat line against Oklahoma City. He poured in a game-high 35 points for the Heat. Butler also pulled down 7 rebounds, dished out 4 assists, blocked 4 shots, and poked away 3 steals.

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