The Miami Heat have released Rodney McGruder, Shams Charania of The Athletic writes. The 27-year-old swingman will hit waivers and could potentially be claimed before the end of the season.
If McGruder is claimed, his $1.5 million would come off Miami’s books, dropping them just below the luxury tax line for 2018-19.
While players released from rosters end up clearing waivers more often than not, McGruder’s case is somewhat unique. In 65 games for Miami, including 45 starts, the rotation player averaged 7.7 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.
McGruder missed time with a knee injury last month but has played in the last three games for the Heat, logging 22 minutes earlier today in a loss to the Toronto Raptors.
With Miami’s hopes of sneaking into the postseason now all but dashed, there was a compelling case for the organization to proceed in this manner. Although the Heat still haven’t officially been eliminated from the playoffs, that could happen by the end of the day.
A number of teams could potentially claim McGruder so long as they’re willing to free up a roster spot and take on his contract but the obvious caveat would be that he would not be playoff-eligible should a team destined for the postseason wish to add him.
Players had to have been waived prior to March 1 in order to be playoff eligible for a subsequent team.
One benefit that teams would get from claiming McGruder is the ability to match any offer sheet that the restricted free agent could draw on the open market. All they would have to do is extend a qualifying offer to him.
Miami, already financially handcuffed in 2019-20, likely determined that they were unwilling to issue a qualifying offer and thus had nothing to lose waiving McGruder and hoping that an interested team might indirectly help their organization avoid the luxury mark.