NBA

Miami Heat sign free agent Kelly Olynyk to massive contract

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Over his first four years in the NBA, Kelly Olynyk’s career has been marked by general inconsistency.

As the 13th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, Olynyk entered the league with high expectations after dominating the collegiate ranks at Gonzaga University.

However, he averaged 9.5 points and 4.7 rebounds over 20.7 minutes over his four-year stint in Boston, starting 36 of his 278 regular-season games. In 26 career playoff contests, he put up 7.1 points and 2.5 rebounds over 16.6 minutes, starting two of those games.

The recent playoff run was a solid indicator of Olynyk’s lack of consistency. Highlighted by his incredible Game 7 performance against the Washington Wizards in which he dropped 26 points on 10-for-14 shooting, the 7-footer scored in double-figures in eight of the 2016-2017 playoff games, but also scored five or fewer points in five of those contests.

Therefore, after the Celtics signed free agent Gordon Hayward to a max deal, Boston didn’t have an issue renouncing Olynyk’s restricted free agent rights, thus making him an unrestricted free agent who was able to sign with any team of his choosing.

On Thursday night, news broke that Olynyk agreed to a four-year, $50 million-plus contract with the Miami Heat, first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, via Olynyk’s agent Greg Lawrence.

While Olynyk didn’t receive much of an opportunity to play extended minutes in Boston, he could find himself in a different situation in Miami. Due to his ability to knock down perimeter shots, his offensive versatility can certainly be utilized, not only on the second unit, but also alongside Hassan Whiteside, who will control the interior.

Since Olynyk’s offensive strengths lie outside of the paint, he will seemingly be able to camp out beyond the three-point line, where he will be a threat in the catch-and-shoot game, but also on dribble-drives, where he has proven to be an effective passer for his size. Shockingly, just one other 7-footer in NBA history has made at least 200 threes and dished out 400 assists in his first four seasons in the Association.

Although he has proven to be a liability defensively, Olynyk’s ability to stretch the floor on the other end of the court will likely serve him well moving forward, given the evolving style of the NBA.

Olynyk was also highly regarded in the locker room during his time in Beantown. Second-year wing Jaylen Brown explained why he will miss having the big man around:

Known for his untraditional hairstyle, the Heat might force their new acquisition to wear a manbun in the upcoming season, given the numbers below:

After striking out on Hayward, the Heat signed both Olynyk and Dion Waiters and are working on retaining forward James Johnson, who opened some eyes during his tenure with the team last season.

To make room for Johnson, the Heat will send veteran (and injury-prone) Josh McRoberts to the Dallas Mavericks in return for A.J. Hammons, who will likely be waived.

While the Heat didn’t make a huge splash in free agency, retaining Waiters and Johnson while adding Olynyk to a core of Whiteside, Goran Dragic, Justise Winslow and Tyler Johnson will likely put the Heat into a solid position to make the playoffs in the weak Eastern Conference next season.

Topics:
Boston Celtics
Atlantic Division
Eastern Conference
NBA
Goran Dragic
Miami Heat
Southeast Division
Kelly Olynyk
Hassan Whiteside

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