Where the Heat stands with impressive Yurtseven and why Miami allowed him to be free agent

·5 min read

The revelation of the Miami Heat’s summer league program is free to leave and sign with another team at any time.

But Keith Glass, the agent for blossoming young big man Omer Yurtseven, indicated Thursday that the Heat isn’t going to be blindsided by any move.

“It’s clear the Heat are interested in Omer and as importantly, Omer is interested in them,” Glass said, while indicating that there’s no Heat contract in place for the unrestricted free agent.

Glass has received multiple phone calls from other teams in the wake of Yurtseven’s two impressive games in the California Summer League in Sacramento.

The 7-0 center had 27 points and 19 rebounds in Tuesday’s opener against the Lakers and followed that on Wednesday with 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the field and 2-of-4 shooting on threes, eight rebounds and three blocks against Golden State.

“I’m suddenly very popular,” Glass quipped, declining to say how many teams have called him this week. “Teams are calling me during games.”

So why didn’t the Heat exercise the 2021-22 option on Yurtseven’s contract by last Sunday’s deadline, considering it wasn’t even guaranteed for next season?

Glass explained that the Heat simply was doing what he requested.

“I asked them when we signed [on May 14]” to not exercise the Aug. 1 option “so that when they gave me the option, they could go back to me and do a new deal.They kept their word. The only thing they didn’t do at that time [last Sunday] was make a deal. Now it’s a different time.”

The Heat remains interested in signing Yurtseven, but it’s unclear if Miami will offer a standard contract (Miami has three open roster spots) or a two-way contract, which could be converted into a standard contract at any time.

Glass mentioned what happened to the Heat in July 2015, when center Willie Reed was playing for the Heat’s summer league team in Las Vegas and suddenly left to sign a one-year, $500,000 deal with Brooklyn.

“I remember Willie Reed left in the gym,” Glass said. “That’s not who I am, especially after the [Heat] spent time and money on one of my players. Omer is not leaving the gym without talking to Miami.”

Glass, a longtime agent, said: “After I made 300 phone calls on behalf of Omer, they were the only ones that stepped up to the plate and there’s a value to that. We do feel a certain appreciation toward the Heat and on a practical level, we’ve seen what they’ve been able to do [developing young players]. He’s unique in that he’s 7 feet and has a skill set that’s not normal.

“He’s willing to learn, and he has things that you cannot teach. Miami knows that and now apparently have some others. We’re thrilled with how he’s playing.”

Yurtseven, a skilled shooting big man, spent one day under contract with Oklahoma City last December. He spent part of last season in the G League before joining the Heat.

Yurtseven will accompany the Heat from Sacramento to Las Vegas, where Miami will play at least five games, beginning at 10 p.m. Sunday against Denver on NBA TV.


ESPN’s Kendrick Perkins is particularly bullish on the Heat: “They are up there with the best of them [in the East]. Pat Riley did an excellent job of ordering ski masks because those goons from Dade County are back. And they are waiting in a dark alley, and they’re waiting to stick up the Philadelphia 76ers, the Brooklyn Nets, the Milwaukee Bucks. All those teams at the top, them goons from Dade County are back.

“They stole an NBA champion in P.J. Tucker. I’m looking at this Heat team, that starting five can arguably be the best defensive team in the NBA when you think about personnel and who they have leading the charge in Erik Spoelstra, one of the best coaches in the game today.”

The Heat — which has 12 players under contract - might add a veteran guard on a minimum deal. Veteran Lou Williams, who had interest in the Heat, agreed to a one-year, $5 million offer with Atlanta - a price the Heat could not meet.

Other available guards include former Heat player Tyler Johnson, JJ Redick, Wes Matthews, Elfrid Payton and Jeff Teague.

▪ Kendrick Nunn, who signed a two-year, $10 million deal with the Lakers, said on Instagram: “I want to thank the Arison family, Pat Riley, Andy Elisburg, Adam Simon, Coach Spo and the entire coaching staff and front office of the Miami Heat organization for taking a chance on a kid from Chicago with an NBA dream. When nobody believed in me, you all did, and I am forever appreicative of that

“To the fans of Heat Nation, thank you for supporting me and my teammates and for helping us reach greater heights on and off the court. You always brought the energy and will have a special place in my heart.

“To my teammates, it’s been a honor to compete with each of you. You all pushed me to be better, day in and day out, on the court and in life. Our bond and brotherhood is forever.”

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