The Miami Heat are exploring ways to keep impressive forward Okaro White, including trading or releasing Derrick Williams.
The Miami Heat are 8-0 since Okaro White joined the team and, while he can’t be given all the credit, the Heat don’t want to lose him.
White was called up from the Heat’s D-League affiliate the Sioux Falls Skyforce and has emerged as a contributor to a team that may be turning a corner. He’s signed the maximum two 10-day contracts, and the NBA says the team will have to trade or release a player to keep him, according to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson.
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To do that, the Heat are actively shopping reserve forward Derrick Williams.
An NBA official in touch with Miami’s front office said the Heat has explored trading Derrick Williams to create a roster spot for White, the 6-9 forward who has regularly been receiving late-game minutes since joining the Heat on Jan. 17.
If the Heat is unable to trade Williams, releasing him is among the other options under consideration.
Jackson mentions the Washington Wizards as a team that has registered interest in Williams should he be released. As far as trade partners, he mentions teams that have yet to meat the salary cap floor: Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Denver, Utah, Phoenix and Minnesota.
Williams is making $4.6 million this season and will be a free agent this summer. A team could trade a highly protected second-round pick, one with extremely little chance to ever convert, in order to facilitate a deal that (a) helps them hit the salary floor and (b) clears a roster spot for the Heat to sign White for the balance of the season.
White’s second 10-day contract expires Sunday. The league does not allow more 10-day contracts than two, and the Heat would have to sign him for the balance of the season to keep him. Jackson spoke with an NBA spokesman about the details:
“They would have to sign a different player to a 10-day contract — unless if they really wanted to sign a player for the remainder of the season following the two 10-day contracts they would have to release another player on the roster and if they still qualified they could then sign another player to a 10-day to still stay at 16 assuming they met the requirements.”
If the Heat are able to trade Williams and sign White as its 15th player for the balance of the season, that means they could sign a new player to a 10-day contract to fill its temporary 16th roster spot (provided that Josh Richardson and Josh McRoberts remain sidelined with injuries).