Waiters’ deal with Miami is actually worth just below $6 million over two years and contains a player option for the second season, The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. Barring an utterly disastrous 2016-17 campaign or a serious injury, though, it’s highly unlikely the 24 year old will choose to put off a much larger payday in unrestricted free agency next summer.
Dion Waiters was one of the last intriguing free agents left on the market, and with a bunch of teams still overflowing with cap space they can’t find players to take, how much Waiters could earn in a contract was an open question. Well, Dion has made his decision, and his contract will certainly raise eyebrows, but not the way you’d think:
So, Waiters is betting on himself to have a great full season with plenty of minutes on the Dwyane Wade-less Miami Heat and jump back into free agency next summer, when the salary cap will go up even more. Teams like the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers were more than willing to lock Dion up long term, but they also still look to have tons of space next year.
Waiters had become a bit of a laughingstock around the league for his shameless chucking and ball-stopping, with his general style of play resembling a ball-dominant star of the ’90s and early 2000s, only without the production to back it up. However, as a sixth man in Oklahoma City, Waiters cleaned up his shot selection down the stretch and put forth more consistent effort on defense, allowing his natural talent for bullying into the paint for layups and kickouts to shine through.
He’s no longer a poisonous player, he’s still young, but there is still a worry that without the urgency of a title chase and veteran leaders like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, he’ll revert to his ugly ways. In Miami, he’s got a hell of a coach in Erik Spoelstra to bring out the best in him, if he wants to buy in. The Heat, meanwhile, get Waiters at a hell of a bargain, considering this year’s contracts, and a chance to sell him on staying long-term if his bet on himself pays off. That being said, there was more than one way to make that bet:
So yeah, not all good here.