Basketball / Sports

Justin Hamilton in place to become Heat's 12th guaranteed player

MIAMI -- Center Justin Hamilton is poised to become the 12th player under guaranteed contract to the Heat, when his partial guarantee kicks in Friday.

Hamilton, an outside-shooting 7-footer who finished last season with the Heat, has an $816,000 contract for 2014-15 that becomes 50-percent guaranteed if not waived on or before Aug. 1, and 75-percent guarantee if he is on the roster on Dec. 1. All NBA contracts become guaranteed for the season the second week of January.

"I think we're probably going to move forward," Heat President Pat Riley said. "We like Justin and what he's done in the summer league, from that standpoint. There have obviously been discussions with Justin and his agent. So he wants to be here and we want him to be here."

Because of his Croatian lineage, Hamilton has drawn interest from European teams. He spent part of the 2012-13 season in Latvia, after he was acquired by the Heat in the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft out of LSU, and then split this past season between the Heat's NBA Development League franchise, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, and the Bobcats and Heat.

Hamilton was among the Heat's most productive players this summer. He averaged 13.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in starting in all five of his appearances in the Orlando Pro Summer League, and then a team-leading 18 points on .629 shooting, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks in three appearances at the NBA's Las Vegas summer league.

Hamilton also holds value for the Heat as a potential trade chip. Because of the Heat's surfeit of recently-signed free agents who cannot be dealt until Dec. 15, Hamilton, point guard Norris Cole and first-round pick Shabazz Napier stand as the only players on the roster who can be dealt before that.

In addition to the anticipated move with Hamilton, under guaranteed contract to the Heat are Cole, Napier, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers, Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts, Danny Granger, Chris Andersen, Udonis Haslem and James Ennis.

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