Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition
Heat eye post-trade bump
Miami hopes Yurtseven adds Oladipo-type boost
MIAMI — While there was no roster upgrade for the Miami Heat at Thursday’s NBA trading deadline, coach Erik Spoelstra said he does foresee an impending area of improvement.
Much like last year, when the Heat did not acquire a player at the deadline, Spoelstra again spoke of a component on the verge of a season debut.
Last year, it was guard Victor Oladipo providing a boost when he returned on March 7 from an offseason quadriceps procedure and went on to produce a late-season spark.
This time, second-year center Omer Yurtseven is in the process of working back from November ankle surgery, yet to play this season.
“I don’t have an answer,” Spoelstra said when asked about a Yurtseven timetable. “I just like the progress.
“Things in our center position are trending in a much better direction, for sure.”
Among the reasons the Heat moved veteran center Dewayne Dedmon earlier in the week to the San Antonio Spurs for additional space below the punitive luxury tax was the depth behind starting center Bam Adebayo.
Not only is Yurtseven close to his season debut, but undrafted rookie center Orlando Robinson made it back to the rotation for Wednesday night’s victory over the visiting Indiana Pacers after missing only two games with a fractured right thumb.
Robinson played 11:06 against Indiana, with the Heat outscoring the Pacers by three when he was on the court.
“He’ll be able to play with a splint without missing any more time,” Spoelstra said of Robinson, who is on a two-way contract but must be converted to a standard deal after eight more appearances on the active roster. “And Omer is making a lot of progress. So in the meantime, we have enough guys that we can play there.”
With last season’s post-deadline return, Oladipo was able to show enough to be rewarded with a two-year, $18.2 million contract. This time it will be Yurtseven attempting to prove his worth, to become a free agent on July 1.
Even with just 16 players on their roster, one shy of the league maximum (when including two-way players), the Heat again are at 10 undrafted players with Jamaree Bouyea, on his 10-day contract signed Wednesday, joining Jamal Cain, Udonis Haslem, Haywood Highsmith, Caleb Martin, Duncan Robinson, Orlando Robinson, Max Strus, Gabe Vincent and Yurtseven.
In addition, with the addition of Bouyea, six players from the Heat’s summerleague roster now are on the current roster: Bouyea, Cain, Highsmith, Nikola Jovic, Orlando Robinson and Yurtseven.
“This has been a fun process with this group. It really has been,” Spoelstra said. “Because we’ve had a lot of different summerleague groups, and this one has probably surprised us as much as any group, just from who they were and what they looked like the first few days of summer camp
and then our training camp.”
A seventh player from that summer-league roster, guard Dru Smith, also had spent time with the Heat this season, before moving on to the Brooklyn Nets.
Smith, Cain, Bouyea and Orlando Robinson have played this season for the Heat G League development affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
“Each one of them have made such significant progress in Sioux Falls,” Spoelstra said. “That has been enjoyable to watch that, but also to be able to keep them in our system but also reward them in whatever ways that we can.”
With Wednesday’s victory over the Pacers, the Heat
enter Friday night’s game against the visiting Houston Rockets on a seasonbest seven-game home winning streak. The Heat have won nine of their last 10 at Miami-Dade Arena, with the lone home loss since Dec. 23 a one-point loss to the Nets on Jan. 8 . . .
Oladipo (ankle) again will be out Friday for the Heat, as will Kyle Lowry (knee), Jovic (back), Duncan Robinson (finger) and Yurtseven (ankle). Vincent (ankle) is probable . . .
Included in Adebayo’s team-best 10th 30-point game of the season, when he scored 38 against the Pacers, was his fourth 14-point quarter of the season and second 20-point half of the season. Adebayo’ 14 free throws tied his career high.