Noon update: Three hours before the NBA trade deadline, the Heat completed a minor move on Thursday, sending forward Jarnell Stokes to the New Orleans Pelicans for a highly-conditional second round pick that Miami is unlikely to receive, league sources said.
The moves leaves the Heat with 14 players, one under the league maximum. It also reduces the Heat's luxury-tax burden by $2.1 million, leaving Miami $2.6 million above the tax threshold.
The Heat's penalty for being above the tax threshold is much more punitive that it is for most other teams, because the Heat is a repeater tax team, having been over the tax line three of the past four years.
ESPN said the Heat kicked in $700,000 in the trade to entice the Pelicans to take Stokes.
The Heat had been trying to dump Stokes' modest contract for two weeks, as we noted in this space last week.
Stokes appeared in just five games for the Heat, scoring seven points in 14 minutes, and spent much of the season playing for the Heat's D-League affiliate in South Dakota.
He was acquired with Beno Udrih in the November trade that sent Mario Chalmers and James Ennis to Memphis.
Notes on a Wednesday night:
### At this point, I’m expecting to wake up tomorrow and see Greg Jennings talking about Ryan Tannehill on C-Span, Nickelodeon or Animal Planet.
Jennings’ latest comments about Tannehill – his third interview on the topic in two weeks – continued to focus on the fact that Tannehill was shackled by coaches last season.
But Jennings’ latest comments, if you haven’t heard them, went a step further.
Appearing on ESPN2’s First Take, Jennings was asked how far Tannehill is from being an elite quarterback.
"Don’t know," Jennings said. "With saying I don’t know, I guess what I’m saying is he’s far. I’m being honest. None of us know. I’ve made the statements about them babying him thus far through his career.
"It’s like he’s been handcuffed. I’ve played with Brett (Favre), I’ve played with Aaron (Rodgers). I’ve played with great quarterbacks. So you can assess, and you can quickly tell, if he has it or not….
"It’s been difficult to [know] if he has it or not, because he hasn’t been given the liberty. Simple checks at the line of scrimmage are not in his control. Until the end of the season when there was a coordinator change, he was not allowed to check out of a play. …In my opinion, if you don’t let me be who I am, who you drafted me to be, you don’t really trust me.”
Everything Jennings says makes sense, and this shouldn't be interpreted as Jennings criticizing Tannehill. We’re told the Dolphins aren’t irritated with Jennings’ public comments and haven’t asked him to stop. But his future on the team remains a question, because Miami would save $4 million in cap space by cutting him.
### Sign of the times: UM today extended a scholarship offer to a junior high kid. And what did the eighth-grader do?
Tweet it, of course.
Quarterback Harrison Bailey, a Class of 2020 prospect from Marietta, Ga. who recently visited UM, hasn’t played a high-school football game yet, but Mark Richt and his staff already like him enough to make a non-binding offer to pay for his $160,000-plus education at Miami.
“Blessed and humbled to receive my 1st offer from THE U!#canes!” Bailey tweeted.
According to Rivals.com, the 6-3 Bailey is the seventh 2020 player to receive a scholarship offer, and the first to receive one from the Hurricanes. Rivals notes that four of those seven are from Georgia.
### Receiver Dayall Harris tweeted “Loving Miami!!!!” during his official visit today. He has a scholarship offer and if he agrees to join the Canes, he would be eligible to play immediately and would give Miami a ninth receiver on scholarship, joining returnees Stacy Coley, Braxton Berrios, Malcolm Lewis, Lawrence Cager and Darrell Langham and summer arrivals Sam Bruce, Dionte Mullins and Ahmmon Richards.
Harris told Canesport’s Matt Shodell that he is “really amazed” by his Miami visit so far and “I wasn't expecting it to be like this."
The former Mississippi prep star, who played at a Mississippi junior college last season after leaving Ole Miss, will choose between UM and Mississippi State.
Regarding UM coaches, Harris told Canesport: "I really like them. Coach Richt seems like a pretty down-to-earth guy."
### Check out Manny Navarro’s story on the home page for an update on Chris Bosh and comments from practice today.
As we await to see if the Heat can make another move by the trade deadline, a quick cap issue to keep in mind. One reason why there’s interest in impending free agent Al Horford around the league, including a Houston radio report of Heat interest, goes beyond the fact that he’s a good player.
Not only would a new team have the ability to offer him a fifth year in a new contract (compared to four for outside offers), but the amount of money he would consume of the $89 million cap would be pre-determined if he signs with the team that already has him.
Horford will have a cap hold of $18 million (150 percent of his $12 million salary).
So if a team agrees, hypothetically, to pay him $22 million next season (and salaries are expected to soar with the cap skyrocketing), a team could sign outside free agents first, then circle back to Horford and sign him.
So $18 million of Horford’s 2016-17 salary would have to fit under that team’s $89 million cap if he re-signs with the team he’s on --- and that team has cap space (as Miami will) --- but $4 million of that $22 million would not have to fit under the cap, cap guru Larry Coon confirmed to us.
The same benefit would apply to whatever team has Memphis’ Mike Conley, who has a $14.4 million cap hold but has a good chance to get a salary exceeding that.
Though the Heat has interest in Conley, as Dan Le Batard noted, the Grizzlies do not plan to trade him, according to reports in Memphis.
Dwyane Wade’s cap hold is $30 million, so there’s no such benefit with him. As a team well under the cap, the Heat thus will need to fit Wade’s full salary under the $89 million cap this summer, even though he has Bird Rights.
Hassan Whiteside, as most of you know, doesn’t have full Bird Rights, so his tiny cap hold is irrevelant. His entire salary next season must fit under the cap whether he signs with the Heat or anyone else.
New Marlins manager Don Mattingly visited with several reporters before the team’s annual golf tournament today, and besides his comments regarding Jose Fernandez’s innings limit and his plans to make Justin Bour his everyday first-baseman (see Clark Spencer’s story on that), a few other noteworthy points:
### He wasn’t ready to name a closer, indicating he wants to determine for himself whether incumbent closer AJ Ramos is better in the eighth or ninth innings, and the same with Carter Capps, Ramos’ chief competition.
“AJ kind of proved he can do that,” Mattingly said of closing. “Carter profiles as that. We want to put guys in the best position for the team.”
### “I like our club,” he said. “This is a good club, talented group. We’re a young team but a young, experienced team. There’s some confidence here. You have to have guys who believe in themselves.”
### On adding No. 2 starter Wei Yin Chen: “It came out of the blue. That’s a huge move. He was a No. 1 or No. 2 in Baltimore.”
### He said new hitting coach Barry Bonds “brings a huge amount of creditability to a young club. I know how good a teacher he is.”
### He has done a “fairly good amount” of homework on his new players “trying to figure out who guys are and where they’re from,” including flying to L.A. to meet with Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Ramos.