Dion Waiters is officially off the free agency board. The enigmatic shooting guard recently signed a two-year, $6 million deal with the Miami Heat.
According to Ananth Pandian of CBS Sports, Waiters only played himself this offseason. The Oklahoma City Thunder offered him a paycheck of $6.8 million per year earlier this month. Thinking he could also earn the same money as Timofey Mozgov and Matthew Dellavedova, he decided to wait for more lucrative offers from other teams.
The Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers were said to be interested in the former No. 4 overall pick. However, they pulled out at the last minute. Adding insult to injury, the Thunder rescinded their qualifying offer to Waiters in order to have more cap space to re-sign Russell Westbrook. Seeing that his options were getting thin, he soon accepted the Heat’s humble offer.
His new two-year deal with the Heat will net him $2.9 million this upcoming season. It includes a player option for the second year of the deal. Waiters recently took to social media to clarify that money was not his main consideration.
“I didn’t do it for the money… I did it for the opportunity to go out & ball & have fun. Everything else will take care of its self!!! I just felt like it was the best situation for me…& my family,” Waiters said on Instagram. I could have waited & got wat [sic] I wanted. But I rather be happy then miserable at the end of the day!!! Meaning Yu can have everything & still not be happy…”
Waiters averaged 9.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2 assists for the Thunder last year. Contrary to his regular season stats, he had numerous big games in the post season which helped the team go deep in the playoffs.
Next season will be a pivotal period in Waiters’ career. If he plays well, he may receive larger offers next summer. If not, he would add to the growing statistic of top-five draft picks who did not live up to their full potential.