Quick 11:40 p.m. Sunday update: The Dolphins and impending unrestricted free agent Lamar Miller remain in discussions about a new deal, agent Drew Rosenhaus said on his weekly WSVN-Fox 7 segment tonight.
"Let's just say there's a mutual interest and a positive dialogue," Rosenhaus said. "Lamar will be a popular man in free agency. But we'll continue our discussions with the Dolphins and take it one day at a time from here."
Teams can begin discussions with free agents from other teams beginning March 7. But nobody can sign with a new team until March 9.
Some quick Sunday afternoon notes:
### Joe Johnson is expected to join the Heat in time for Miami's game against the Knicks tonight, and here's how an Eastern Conference scout assessed his game: “Obviously not the player he was, and I thought Kevin Martin would have been a better option for them. But Johnson is more reliable than Gerald Green; his shot selection is better. He has a back to the basket game, a floater.
"Still a good three-point shooter," the scout continued. "His game is tailored to halfcourt playoff basketball. Below average defender; he can't guard a quick guy.”
### Johnson should help the Heat not only with three-pointers, but clutch three-point shooting. In the NBA’s definition of clutch (a margin of five or less with less than five minutes remaining), Johnson has shot 38.5 percent on clutch threes the past two seasons (15 for 39). This season, Luol Deng is 7 for 10 on clutch threes; all other Heat players are 8 for 41.
### Erik Spoelstra now has difficult choices to make with late-game lineups. With Chris Bosh out, Hassan Whiteside is needed on the floor late in close games. So besides Whiteside and Dwyane Wade, Spoelstra will need to choose three among four others for key late-game minutes: Goran Dragic (seems likely to be on the floor late), Johnson, Luol Deng and Justise Winslow.
In most cases, this will come down to choosing two among Johnson, Deng and Winslow. Winslow, obviously, is the worst distance shooter of the three, but Spoelstra understandably values his defense against the opponent's top scorer. If Deng is playing great and Johnson struggling, Deng could be the late-game choice. Otherwise, Spoelstra will be hard-pressed to keep Johnson off the floor late in close games, especially considering his aforementioned ability to stretch the defense.
### The Heat has fallen to last in the NBA in the three-point shooting percentage at 31.8. So Johnson --- who's shooting 37.1 percent on threes --- fills a major need in that regard. Johnson's 85 threes rank 50th in the league. Among those top 50, his accuracy would rank 27th.
### Because Johnson won’t have Bird Rights, the Heat would need to use some of its $37 million in cap space this summer if it chooses to re-sign him at more than the minimum. And Johnson, hoping to rebuild his value in Miami, clearly wants more than a minimum deal this offseason.
### One frustration with the Dolphins last season was the amount of passes completed well short of first downs. FootballOutsiders.com did a study on “failed completions,” which it described as completed passes that fail to gain 45 percent of needed yards on first down; 60 percent on second down; or 100 percent on third or fourth down.
Not surprisingly, Ryan Tannehill had the ninth-highest failed completion percentage. Jarvis Landry led the NFL with 35 failed completions after finishing second in 2014 with 26.
The web site said Landry’s failed completion “rate actually went up a little too, from 31.0 percent to 31.5 percent. He is a bit of a stud in fantasy football with PPR scoring, but his short gains have not really translated into real-life success for Miami's passing game.” (Landry is still clearly a major asset, and those numbers are as much a reflection on Tannehill and the play-caller.)
### Several former UM players have openly called for players to be allowed back on the sideline during games, but it’s not going to happen this season. UM implemented its policy after the NCAA/Nevin Shapiro scandal and the policy will run through the end of this season, with probation ending in late October.
UM athletic director Blake James said “after this season, I will discuss with [coach] Mark [Richt] what he feels works best and will communicate with President [Julio] Frenk on what the policy will be for the 2017 season."
Regardless, Richt wants to cultivate a relationship with former players and as Al Golden did, plans to invite all of them to a function the night before the spring game.
Former receiver Daryl Jones was on campus recently and “we were having a staff meeting,” cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph said. “Daryl came in, met everybody and hugged us. That’s one of the ways [Richt] wants to welcome all the former guys.
“Once the former players meet him, they will feel honored to have a guy like him. We can’t do anything without understand where we came from – a team that won five championships, had more first-rounders than most teams, and we have to use that as one of our assets moving forward.”
### Palm Beach-based attorney Amber Wilson --- whose broadcasting resume includes frequent appearances on CBS-4's Sports Bang TV show with Jon Weiner of The Dan Le Batard radio show --- will have an on-air audition for 790 The Ticket's morning show on Monday through Thursday this week.
Wilson, who will join regular hosts Jonathan Zaslow and Brett Romberg, is the second person to audition on-air to replace Fox-bound Joy Taylor. Local TV personality Johanna Gomez was the first.
Twitter: @flasportsbuzz... Please see the last post for Sunday news on UM adding a defensive back who's eligible immediately.