Dion Waiters Heading to Miami

By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)

One of the last remaining bits of free agency news dropped Monday afternoon with the scoop that former Oklahoma City guard Dion Waiters will be taking his talents to South Beach.

For Miami, the signing represents a terrific, buy-low option on a player who performed very well in the playoffs last season for the Thunder. Waiters is still just 24 years old, and with an established organization like the Heat, and a coach with a championship pedigree in Erik Spoelstra, it might be the perfect environment for him to continue to develop along the right path.

For Waiters, this offseason has been a disaster. There had been talk last winter that he expected to receive a max contract from somebody this summer. While that belief was probably misguided, most people did expect him to receive a year salary in 8 digits. At the very least, he could have accepted Oklahoma City’s qualifying offer of $6.8M and earned more than twice as much this summer.

Now, he’ll look to show that the last couple months of the 2015-16 season weren’t a fluke, and the “new Dion Waiters” has matured and is ready to play within the confines of the team’s system. Presumably, he’ll look to boost his value and opt out next summer when the cap rises again even further.

Finally, Sixers fans can breathe a sign of relief that the last guy the team was linked to this offseason has officially signed elsewhere. One of the biggest fears coming into this summer was that Bryan Colangelo would use the team’s abundance of cap space and lavish big money on an as-to-yet undeserving player like Waiters. Instead, Colangelo continued to stay the course in remaining financially prudent.

It would seem the the current roster is the one the Sixers will roll with heading into the 2016-17 season, with the notable exception involving whatever trade does or does not happen involving Nerlens Noel and/or Jahlil Okafor. For many Philadelphia fans, Dion Waiters represented the last obstacle in 2016 free agency, and Bryan Colangelo appears to have navigated the course correctly.

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