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New Roster Shake-Up for the Miami Heat

February 7, 2019

After five seasons with the Miami Heat, it appears Tyler Johnson’s time with the team has come to an end. The Heat agreed to trade Johnson and Wayne Ellington to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for forward Ryan Anderson. Here is a look at what each player will bring their new team.

Johnson went undrafted in 2014 and spent two months with the Heat’s G League affiliated team, the Sioux Falls Skyforce. On Jan. 12, 2015, the Heat signed Johnson to a 10-day contract. Despite initially not resigning him, the Heat eventually offered Johnson a two-year deal on Feb. 8, 2015. During these two years, Johnson performed well enough to receive a four-year, $50 million offer from the Brooklyn Nets in the 2016 offseason. However, since Johnson was a restricted free agent at the time, the Heat matched the offer sheet and Johnson remained with Miami.

Johnson had a career best year in the 2016-17 season; however, he did not demonstrate the improvements the team hoped he would make over the course of the contract. Johnson is slated to make approximately $19 million next season in Phoenix; while Johnson is still a solid player, Heat fans find him not worth the steep price. Over his five-year career in Miami, Johnson averaged 11.0 points per game, 3.3 rebounds per game, 2.5 assists per game and 0.9 steals per game. Johnson will likely receive significant minutes with the Suns, who struggled at the point guard position over the course of the season. While Johnson is primarily a shooting guard, his versatility allows for him to also play at point guard if needed.

Miami also let go of sharpshooter Wayne Ellington in the trade, but he is not expected to stay in Phoenix for long. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Ellington is working with the Suns to be waived so he can join a playoff contender. Ellington came to Miami after Dwyane Wade’s 2016 departure to the Bulls.  He was primarily added in order to add depth to the rotation. He made an immediate impact and had the best year of his career in the 2017-18 season when he was selected to participate in the NBA Three Point Contest. However, Ellington has shot a career low 37.5 percent from the field in the 2018-2019 season and has fallen out of the Heat’s rotation. In his three years with the Heat, Ellington averaged 10.5 points per game, 2.4 rebounds per game and 1.1 assists per game while making 40.7 percent of his field goals and 38.4 percent of his three-pointers.

In exchange for Johnson and Ellington, the Heat received Ryan Anderson from the Suns. Anderson, who is 30 years old, had a strong run with the New Orleans Pelicans from 2012 to 2016. During his time with the Pelicans, Anderson averaged 16.1 points per game, 5.9 rebounds per game and 1.1 assists per game. However, after leaving the Pelicans to sign a four-year, $80 million deal with the Rockets, Anderson’s career took a turn for the worse. Anderson became less effective over time, and was eventually traded to the Phoenix Suns in the 2018 offseason. However, since the Suns are looking to develop their younger players, Anderson received significantly less playing time in Phoenix due to his age. Anderson has not played in an NBA game since Nov. 30, 2018. He will be looking to bounce back on the court in Miami, a team that could use some help at the power forward position. It will be interesting to see how this trade plays out for both parties involved.

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