After he was suspended for the first game of the season and didn’t travel with the team over the weekend, Dion Waiters has been reinstated by the Heat, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.
However, according to Winderman, Waiters won’t be in uniform Tuesday night for Miami’s game vs. the Hawks. He also didn’t participate in the Heat’s shootaround Tuesday morning, and wasn’t available to comment on the situation.
“He’ll be here tonight,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said, per Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. “He will work out [but] he will not be active tonight. Then we’ll take it from there. Enough has been said about it, and we’ll take it day by day.”
The situation remains an unusual one, with the Heat offering little insight on where things stand with Waiters and not making him available to the media to address the situation himself. Sources tell the Herald duo that Waiters openly complained about his playing time during Miami’s preseason finale and refused to do one of his required weighs-ins that week.
Waiters has a $1.2M bonus in his contract for appearing in at least 70 games in a season, so it’s fair to assume that in addition to his previous complaints about his role, he’s also not thrilled about missing his fourth straight contest to open the year. The 27-year-old is healthy, but his conditioning may not be at the level the Heat expect.
The Heat are off to a solid start this season, winning two of their first three games despite being without star Jimmy Butler. If that success continues, the club presumably won’t be in any rush to get Waiters and fellow veteran James Johnson back into the rotation. Johnson will also remain inactive Tuesday night due to conditioning issues, per Windmeran.
It’s possible that Waiters and Johnson will meet their conditioning requirements and be activated by the Heat soon, but this is a situation worth watching — both players still have two years remaining on their eight-figure contracts.
By: Luke Adams