Miami — Free-agent guard Dion Waiters has turned his one-year audition with the Miami Heat — a season filled with bravado and big-moments shots — into a four-year return engagement.
After signing for the Heat’s $2.9 million exception when he found himself with limited options last summer, Waiters settled in as a backcourt complement to Goran Dragic, with the backcourt taking the “7-Eleven” nickname as a play on Dragic’s and Waiters’ numbers, with Waiters playfully noting how the team’s ball-movement offense left them “always open.”
It proved to be a breakout season for Waiters, after uneven stints with Cleveland and Oklahoma City his first four seasons. He averaged 15.8 points, posting career bests with his .394 3-point shooting, 4.3 assist average and 3.3 rebounding average.
ESPN reported the new agreement with the Heat, with Basketball Insiders putting the four-year agreement at $52 million, which would mean a $12-million salary for the upcoming season.
The next challenge becomes displaying enough durability to push the Heat beyond last season’s 41-41 lottery finish. Waiters missed 20 games early in the season with a groin tear, three at midseason with a sprained ankle, and then the season’s final 13 games with another sprain of that ankle.
Waiters had been linked to interest from the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks.
Young to Warriors
Veteran guard Nick Young is getting a new start with Golden State, agreeing to a $5.2-million, one-year contract with the champions.
Young’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, confirmed the deal in a message to the Associated Press. Warriors general manager Bob Myers also said the team would finalize a contract with Young once the free agency moratorium period concludes Thursday.
In addition, forward Omri Casspi is joining the Warriors on a $2,106,470, one-year deal.
Young, 32, averaged 13.2 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 60 games for the Lakers. He provides the Warriors with the kind of depth they like on a long bench.
Jefferson keeps playing
After saying he would stop playing after the Cavaliers won the NBA title in 2016 and changing his mind, Richard Jefferson said Wednesday he will be back with Cleveland next season — his 17th as a pro.
Associated Press contributed