July 12-- Wayne Ellington will continue to dial from long distance with the Miami Heat, with the veteran guard reaching an agreement with the team Thursday in NBA free agency, the Sun Sentinel has confirmed.
Ellington agreed to a one-year, $6.3 million contract, matching his salary from this past season. Because of the one-year term of the deal and Ellington's status as a Bird Rights free agent next summer, his contract comes with a no-trade clause, requiring his permission for a move during the 2018-19 season.
The agreement puts the Heat $3.2 million over the punitive luxury tax on excessive NBA payrolls, which would require a $4.9 million luxury-tax payment to the league. The tax, however, is not computed until the end of a season, giving the Heat time to work back under the tax with other personnel moves. The team has stressed a desire not be in the luxury tax after the coming season, due to long-term implications.
With the Heat now in the luxury tax, it now limits their mid-level exception to $5.3 million.
Ellington, who ended the season as an early-Bird free agent could have received a 2018-19 salary of up to $10.9 million from the over-the-cap Heat.
Ellington, 30, is coming off a season when he converted a franchise-record 227 3-pointers, averaging a career-high 11.2 points per game. Ellington closed sixth in the NBA in 3-pointers made, an NBA record for 3-pointers scored as a reserve.
The Heat's situation with Ellington was complicated by the fact that shooting guards Dion Waiters, Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson, Rodney McGruder and Derrick Jones Jr. all return, with Dwyane Wade potentially again added to the mix if he opts to put off retirement.
The Heat's remaining free agents are Wade, Udonis Haslem, Luke Babbitt and Jordan Mickey and Derrick Walton Jr., with the Ellington agreement making it highly unlikely that Walton returns.
Heat President Pat Riley said after last month's NBA draft that Ellington would be a priority in free agency, following up on that vow later in free agency than some expected.
"The guy's had a great, great two years with us," he said. "There's no doubt that we want to keep him. We're going to try to find a way to do that. But we're up against the tax. I think it you add up the numbers, you know what that means. But we're going to do everything we can do to try to keep him."
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