With a renewed opportunity to add a useful player, the Miami Heat have signed Kelly Olynyk.
As part of the residual effect of signing Gordon Hayward, the Boston Celtics are dangling useful players in trade talks to make financial space. Kelly Olynyk was not on the trade block as a restricted free agent, but the Celtics renounced their qualifying offer to him and allowed him to become an unrestricted free agent.
The Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz, all with plenty of salary cap space, were rumored to have interest in Olynyk almost immediately. So it didn’t seem likely to be a long free agent process for the Gonzaga product.
The Miami Heat were in the mix to sign Hayward, and they recently had the rest of Chris Bosh’s contract come off their books due to his ongoing health concerns and uncertain future as a player. So Pat Riley is in position to spend some money, if he wants to, during a second wave of free agency once early reported deals become official.
After being acquired from Dallas on draft night in 2013, Olynyk spent his first four seasons with the Celtics. He played a career-high 75 games last season, averaging 9.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists while making 35.4 percent of his three-pointers. That was a drop-off in scoring from the previous two seasons, when he averaged at least 10 points per game.
Olynyk has only started 36 of 278 career regular season games, and two of 26 career playoff games. He is sure to become a primary backup big man in Miami, just as he was in Boston. With over 2.5 three-point attempts per game in each of the last three seasons, Olynyk also offers head coach Erik Spoelstra the ability to stretch the floor a bit offensively with a big guy. As part of an occasional big lineup alongside Hassan Whiteside, that could be a nice element Miami now has.