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Eastern Notes: Heat, Spoelstra, Mokoka, Osman

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With the NBA declaring it will strongly enforce free agency rules pertaining to tampering going forward, Ira Winderman examines what this message means and how it could affect the Heat’s 2021 summer plans in a story for the Sun Sentinel. Miami is expected to have enough salary-cap space to sign a second max player by then, with several expensive contracts set to expire.

Many league observers believe the Heat had Jimmy Butler locked up ahead of the June 30 free agency start this summer, but as seen with players such as Kemba Walker (Celtics), Kyrie Irving (Nets) and Kevin Durant (Nets), several other teams around the league took a similar approach with free agents.

The rules, as explained by Winderman, are simple: Teams are not allowed to contact players until the official start of free agency. Tampering has been an increasingly prevalent issue in today’s NBA, with members of the league office actively exploring how to improve the problem. The NBA’s Board of Governors unanimously voted on new rules to reportedly make tampering penalties stricter going forward, as noted in a recent Hoops Rumors story.

Miami was also thought to have LeBron James and Chris Bosh committed to deals before the free agency period opened back in 2010, but as Winderman notes, officials inside the organization denied these claims and investigations outside the team didn’t lead to any evidence of tampering.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference tonight:

  • The Heat could benefit from head coach Erik Spoelstra effectively selling his bench to certain players this season, Winderman notes in a separate story for the Sun Sentinel. Spoelstra will have a number of options to choose from in his rotation, including whether to star Justise Winslow or Goran Dragic at point guard, Kelly Olynyk or James Johnson at power forward and more.
  • Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago previews what Adam Mokoka could bring to the Bulls this season, with the 21-year-old currently on a two-way contract. Mokoka averaged 9.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists in summer league with Chicago, playing in a total of five games.
  • Joe Gabriele of NBA.com examines Cedi Osman‘s mindset entering his third season with the Cavaliers. Osman, 24, is looking to build off an international experience with Turkey in the FIBA World Cup this summer. He averaged 13 points, 4.7 rebounds and 32.2 minutes in 76 games with Cleveland last season.


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JD Shaw, DMT.NEWS