South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday)

Wright being added to boost backcourt depth

- By Ira Winderman

In need of backcourt depth amid the injury absences of Terry Rozier and Josh Richardson, the Miami Heat have kept it in the family, with plans to add ninth-year veteran Delon Wright.

Wright is the brother of Dorell Wright, the Heat 2004 first-round pick who spent seven seasons with the Heat over two stints, sharing in the franchise’s 2006 NBA championsh­ip.

No sooner was the move confirmed than Dorell Wright posted on social media, “Heat Culture!!!”

In adding Delon Wright the Heat get needed depth at point guard, with Rozier dealing with a knee sprain and Richardson with a dislocated shoulder, with both to be out beyond the Heat’s Feb. 23 return from their eight-day All-Star break.

Wright first needs to clear the NBA 48-hour waiver period after agreeing to a buyout from the lotterybou­nd Washington Wizards.

It is the second consecutiv­e year the Heat have bolstered at the All-Star break, last year adding Kevin Love and Cody Zeller in the same timeframe.

In order to be playoff-eligible with a new team, players must be waived by March 1.

With the NBA changing rules for teams operating in the luxury tax, as the Heat are this season, such teams are not allowed to sign players from the buyout market whose original 2023-24 salary was above the $12.4 million league average.

Wright was earning $8.2 million in the second year of a two-year, $16 million contract. A 2015 first-round pick by the Toronto Raptors out of Utah, Wright also has played for the Memphis Grizzlies, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks.

In Wright the Heat get a capable defender at point guard who also is able to space the floor with 3-point shooting.

The move to Wright completes the makeover from last season’s Heat playoff rotation at point guard of Kyle Lowry and Gabe Vincent.

Lowry was dealt last month to the Charlotte Hornets along with a first-round pick for Rozier, having since moved on to the Philadelph­ia

76ers in a buyout. Vincent was lost in the offseason free agency to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The move also added a procedural benefit for the Heat.

In moving to the league limit of 15 players under standard contract for the first time this season, the Heat now no longer are limited to a total of 90 days this season for their three two-way players. Instead, Jamal Cain, Cole Swider and Alondes Williams each can be on the active roster for up to 50 games.

In 33 games this season in limited minutes as the Wizards turned their focus to youth, Wright has averaged

4.1points,2.5assistsan­d1.8rebounds, shooting .393 from the field, .368 on

3-pointersan­d.828fromthe­foulline. Over his 494-game career that has included 84 starts, he has averaged 7.0 points, 3.1 assists and 3.2 rebounds, shooting .453 from the field, .354 on 3-pointers and .802 from the line.

He last appeared in the playoffs in 2022, making five appearance­s for the Hawks, with 37 career playoff games.

Wright had $2.6 million left on his Wizards contract, a figure the Heat are able to match based on their remaining salary-cap exceptions.

He is the latest veteran to move to a new team on this year’s buyout market, following Lowry (76ers), Thaddeus Young (Phoenix Suns), Spencer Dinwiddie (Los Angeles Lakers) and Danilo Gallinari (Milwaukee Bucks).

The Heat resume practice after the All-Star break on Thursday.

 ?? NICK WASS/ AP ?? Wizards guard Delon Wright handles the ball Feb. 4 in Washington.
NICK WASS/ AP Wizards guard Delon Wright handles the ball Feb. 4 in Washington.

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