MIAMI — The Miami Heat moved closer to rounding out their training-camp roster Friday, including the return of a familiar face in a familiar role — all as the waiting game plays out on a potential trade for Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard.
The upshot is several players from the Heat’s summer-league roster moving on to training camp, including forward Jamal Cain, who on Friday agreed to return on a two-way contract.
Teams are allowed to carry up to 21 players in the offseason, then required by the regular-season opener to reduce to no more than 15 under standard contract and three more under two-way contracts. The Heat are now at that 21-player limit.
The NBA expanded the regular-season limit to three two-way contracts for the coming season, up from the previous limit of two. Such players are eligible to be active for up to 50 regular-season games, paid at half the rate of the rookie minimum.
The Heat have 13 players under standard contract: Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Kyle Lowry, Caleb Martin, Kevin Love, Josh Richardson, Duncan Robinson, Haywood Highsmith, Thomas Bryant, Nikola Jovic, Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Orlando Robinson.
Of those 13, Orlando Robinson is the lone player whose contract is not fully guaranteed for 2023-24.
The Heat exited training camp with guards Jamaree Bouyea and Dru Smith under two-way contracts. Then, Friday, Cain, who spent last season on a two-way contract after going undrafted in 2022 out of Oakland University, accepted the Heat’s third two-way deal, which included a $75,000 guarantee, as well as a clause that would guarantee half his 2023-24 salary if he is on the opening-night roster.
Then there are the Heat’s additions under Exhibit 10 contracts, deals that can be guaranteed up to $75,000, with such guarantees payable if a player is released and then plays at least two months with a team’s G League affiliate, which for the Heat is the Sioux Falls Skyforce. Such contracts can be converted to standard deals or two-way contracts.
Added Friday on such deals were former Brooklyn Nets forward Alondes Williams, who went undrafted out of Wake Forest in 2022 and had a strong finish with the Heat’s summer roster last month in Las Vegas; forward Justin Champagnie, who spent time last season with the Heat’s G League affiliate before finishing last season with the Boston Celtics; and guard Caleb Daniels, who went undrafted in June out of Villanova and spent summer league with the Heat.
In order to facilitate Friday’s machinations, the Heat signed Skyforce player Brandon McCoy, the former UNLV center, and then immediately released him, providing a nominal guarantee for him to return to Sioux Falls.
The Heat’s position against the punitive NBA luxury tax makes it unlikely the team adds players above the league minimum. However, should the Heat trade for Lillard, who has pushed for a trade to Miami, then the roster approach could be dramatically altered.
Heat training camp opens Oct. 3, with their five-game preseason opening with an Oct. 10 exhibition against the Charlotte Hornets at Kaseya Center.