Heat fine Dion Waiters for comments about playing time after loss to Bucks
Waiters made the comments to reporters from two South Florida newspapers after Miami’s lopsided loss in Milwaukee on Tuesday night. The Heat were off Wednesday and announced the fine Thursday.
“We fined him and we addressed it as a team,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Waiters has played in five games this season, all as a reserve. He missed just over a full year while recovering from surgery to repair a long-problematic ankle, and has repeatedly said that being patient throughout the process is a challenge for him.
“Look, this is going to be very difficult for Dion,” Spoelstra said. “I have empathy for everything he’s gone through in the last year to get back to where he is right now. But this is not about him. This is only about the team and it’s about winning.”
Miami is 21-21 this season, going into its game Friday at Detroit.
Waiters appeared in 76 games in his first two seasons with the Heat, starting 73 of those. He’s averaged 16.1 points for Miami as a starter, 7.0 points for the Heat as a reserve. And he’s trying to get minutes now with Miami having a slew of wings already in the rotation, including Dwyane Wade, Josh Richardson, Rodney McGruder and Tyler Johnson.
Even Wayne Ellington, who set a Heat franchise record for 3-pointers made in a season a year ago, has fallen out of the rotation this year in large part because of Miami’s depth at the wing.
Spoelstra said no one is going to volunteer their minutes for Waiters.
“We value him. We need him,” Spoelstra said. “It won’t be on his terms. It’ll be on the team’s terms.”