NBA Rumors: Dion Waiters unlikely to join LA Lakers; Giving Heat ‘hometown discount’ in free agency

PHOTOGRAPH: Keith Allison/Flickr | Dion Waiters of the Miami Heat

Dion Waiters is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer after opting out of his contract with the Miami Heat. Waiters expressed his intention to sign a long-term contract with the Heat and is reportedly willing to give them a “hometown discount” in the upcoming free agency.

It took long before Dion Waiters found a new home last summer after being dumped by the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Heat’s failure to re-sign Dwyane Wade and get their target free agents gave Waiters the opportunity to revive his career in Miami. In 46 games he played this season, he averaged 15.8 points and 4.3 rebounds on 42.4 percent shooting from the field and 39.5 percent from beyond the arc.

NBA Rumors: Will Dion Waiters leaving Heat for Lakers?

Since the 2016-17 NBA season ended, Waiters already revealed his plan to opt out of the second year of his contract with the Heat. However, he made it clear that he wanted to stay long-term with the Heat. According to Barry Jackson of Miami Herald, the Heat wants to keep Waiters but doesn’t want to overpay him.

After removing Chris Bosh’s salary from the book, the Heat will have approximately $37 million in salary cap space. They are expected to target big names in the upcoming free agency who can play alongside Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside. If Waiters decides to leave the Heat, Jackson believes the Los Angeles Lakers will give him a big offer.

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka was Waiters’ former agent. With the potential departure of Nick Young, adding Waiters on their roster makes sense. However, Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson revealed that they plan to preserve their cap space for the 2018 free agency.

Dion Waiters willing to give the Heat discount in free agency

Dion Waiters is somewhat expecting a raise in the upcoming free agency. However, for the team who helped him revive his career, he said that he’s willing to give them a “hometown discount.”

“It depends,” he said. “Yeah, I would, though. But, like I said, it depends, just being the right thing, at the right time. It’s just got to be right. It’s got to be equal.”

Heat president Pat Riley wants all their incoming free agents back and urged them to re-sign at a reasonable price. The Heat obviously needs to add at least one superstar on their team in order to become a legitimate playoff contender next season. Waiters plans to continue improving his game this offseason and leaves the negotiations to his agent.

Photo courtesy: Keith Allison/Flickr

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