The Miami Heat are trying to be smart with their free agency spending, while Wayne Ellington is getting set for the payday of his career.
Ellington, a 10-year NBA veteran, just had a career-best season in Miami, and the Heat are desperately trying not to pay a luxury tax, especially when considering the fact that they likely won't be title contending team in the 2018-19 season.
With free agency breezing by, Ellington's options with teams are disappearing, thus giving him less leverage in any possible contract negotiations.
NEW: As Wayne Ellington watch continues, an updated look on where Heat and Ellington stand https://t.co/EvMkDZRAoy— Anthony Chiang (@Anthony_Chiang) July 4, 2018
With that said, Ellington would have the following options: he could take Miami's offer (even if it may not be the amount of money he'd like), he could sign with a rebuilding team with cap space, such as the Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks, or Sacramento Kings (although those spots are currently not seeming to be incredibly desirable for a free agent), or he could take less money with a contender.
Miami on the other hand, seems to have their hands tied as well. Ellington earned $6.3 million last year with the Heat, but certainly played well enough to get a raise. In short, if Ellington re-signs, regardless of the amount, the Heat would be put over the luxury tax threshold, so Miami is trying to fight however hard they can in order to keep their tax payments minimal.
Heat go from 40-1 to 300-1 odds after start of NBA free agency. https://t.co/ooKBOMeNsY— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) July 2, 2018
The Heat's other free agents, Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem, both notable, respected members of the team over the years, are looking to come back as well, so the situation probably won't get any simpler for Pat Riley.