Meyers Leonard’s second season in South Beach hasn’t followed the Disney fairy-tale promised to him in the NBA bubble. The Miami Heat big man saw action in just three games this year before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery on Feb. 2.
Worse yet, Leonard’s name had been popping up in trade rumors as a possible expiring contract to move: the soon-to-be 29-year-old (Feb. 27) is due $9.4 million in base salary. However, it would behoove Miami to keep him on the roster at least through the trade deadline so they can use the disabled player exception — $4.7 million of his $9.4 million salary — on a possible free-agent buyout candidate (looking at you, Blake Griffin).
Contracts aside, Leonard wants to remain in Miami and hopes to get an extension at some point. The former first-round pick — 11th overall in 2011 — told reporters on Monday that he loves the Miami Heat culture and everything the organization stands for. The 7-footer and his wife, Elle, have fully immersed themselves into the Miami community and charity work. They aren’t ready to leave.
“I really like it here, and that’s sincere,” Leonard said, via the Sun-Sentinel. “The people, their values, what this organization stands for means something to me. So we’ll see what happens. Sure the business at the end of the day is a business. But we’ll see what happens. My wife always says that I live with Disney goggles on.”
As thoughtful as ever, @MeyersLeonard explains how he stays centered during whatever highs or lows come his way, why it is important to be thankful for the blessings in his life, and why he knows he will come back stronger than ever. #HEATTwitter pic.twitter.com/cRy4rSllyF
— FOX Sports Sun: HEAT (@FOXSportsHEAT) February 22, 2021
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Speak the Truth: Bam Adebayo
Heat center Bam Adebayo was the latest to do an interview with the Heat’s “Speak the Truth” video series to discuss how he’s dealt with racism in his life. The New Jersey native relayed a story from eighth grade when a classmate told him they couldn’t date because it was “against the Bible.”
The main reason? She was white and he was black.
“We were allowed to be friends in school but when it came to relationships and really being serious, I don’t think she could have dated a black dude,” Adebayo said. “I was hurt because it didn’t make sense as to why we weren’t equal to one another, and it was one of those things where if I cut my arm and you cut yours, we both bleed the same.”
Bam Adebayo shares the truth on a middle school experience he’ll never forget. #BlackLivesMatter
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) February 21, 2021
The whole story is worth a listen and cuts to the heart of what NBA players are trying to get across to white America. Adebayo famously ends each post-game Zoom call by telling reporters: “Black Lives Matter, people.” (Remember, Udonis Haslem told a stunning story of police brutality).
Tyler Herro Ruled Out versus Thunder
The team officially ruled second-year guard Tyler Herro out of Monday night’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder with a hip injury. He suffered the ailment in the first half on Saturday night versus the Los Angeles Lakers after playing just 14 minutes. Herro has been coming off the bench for the Heat since Feb. 5, with Kendrick Nunn thriving in a starting role.
#MIAvsOKC INJURY UPDATE: Tyler Herro (hip) has been ruled out of tonight’s game vs the Thunder.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) February 23, 2021
Nunn is averaging 20.6 points per game in his last three contests and 17.7 points per game for the month of February. Meanwhile, point guard Goran Dragic is expected to rejoin the team when they return to Miami following the conclusion of their seven-game road trip. Dragic has been out since Feb. 5 with a left ankle injury.