Dion Waiters close to re-signing with Miami Heat

Dion Waiters close to re-signing with Miami Heat

July 5 (UPI) — Free agent guard Dion Waiters is finalizing a deal to stay with the Miami Heat, according to league sources.

Waiters, 25, enjoyed the best season of his five-year NBA career in 2016, averaging 15.8 points, 4.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds in 46 games for the Heat. He was also instrumental in the team’s turnaround from one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference to just missing a trip to the playoffs.

Waiters suffered a sprained ankle late in the season and did not play in the Heat’s final 13 games.

ESPN first reported the deal. Sources told Basketball Insiders that Waiters and the franchise are discussing a four-year, $52 million contract.

“I love Miami. I had a hell of a season here,” Waiters wrote in April for The Players’ Tribune.

Waiters had a $3.5 million player option for this season, which he opted out of in June. He made $2.8 million last season. His new deal will likely give him a $12 million salary in 2017.

He was linked to the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls and Sacramento Kings in free agency. He met with the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat on Sunday, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Waiters told the Palm Beach Post in June that he would be willing to take a discount to stay with the franchise.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra praised Waiters’ “irrational” confidence during the regular season.

“Irrational,” Spoelstra said of Waiters’ confidence in February. “He’s got exceptional confidence. If we can bottle it and funnel it and drive it in the right way, that’s a powerful thing. He’s meeting us more than half way. You can see his versatility. You can see his skill level. He is unique in his ability to attack and he can also shoot the ball and defend. That’s the part we emphasize the most. He’s been doing that.”

Miami recently created $25 million in salary cap space by waiving Chris Bosh.