The Miami Heat continued the shuffle with their two-way contracts Sunday, waiving undrafted rookie guard Dru Smith in favor of signing undrafted rookie center Orlando Robinson.
It is the second time the Heat have made such a roster swap with the two, as they balance the knee pain that has limited guard Gabe Vincent and the foot issue that has limited center Dewayne Dedmon.
The move with Robinson comes in the wake of the 6-foot-10 center closing with 26 points and 21 rebounds for the Heat’s G League affiliate in the Sioux Falls Skyforce’s Saturday night 118-95 victory over the G League affiliate of the Detroit Pistons.
It was the first 20-20 by a Skyforce player since former Heat two-way forward Yante Maten had 31 points and 20 rebounds for Sioux Falls on Nov. 28, 2018, and just the seventh time a Skyforce player had at least 20 rebounds and 20 points in a game.
Robinson had been waived by the Heat from his Heat two-way contract on Nov. 25, a week after he was signed to that two-way deal. The center out of Fresno State had thrived with the Heat’s summer roster and also had his moments with the Heat during training camp.
Robinson, who will join the Heat for Monday night’s road game against the Indiana Pacers, had appeared in two games with the Heat on his previous two-way stint, with 14 points and nine rebounds in those 20 minutes.
Smith, who started Thursday night’s victory over the visiting Los Angeles Clippers, has appeared in five games for the Heat, for 67 minutes. He now is eligible to be signed by any NBA team, likely to rejoin the Skyforce in the interim.
During that Saturday Skyforce game, first-round pick Nikola Jovic had another pedestrian outing, closing with six points on 2-of-9 shooting, with 11 rebounds and five assists in 30:53.
That came after the 19-year-old 6-foot-11 big man shot 4 of 11, including 1 of 7 on 3-pointers, in a Friday night Skyforce victory, with 11 rebounds in that 32:30.
Forward Jamal Cain, on a Heat two-contract, closed with 17 points and six rebounds on Saturday night for the Skyforce on his Heat G League assignment.
Even with the Heat moving closer to a healthy rotation, the rotation remains as uneven as the team’s overall recent play.
That meant forward Max Strus, who has started 14 games this season, being held out of the second half of Saturday night’s 115-111 loss to the San Antonio Spurs that ended a 1-2 homestand.
Coach Erik Spoelstra said the decision with Strus was not related to the shoulder soreness that has had Strus on the team’s injury report.
“That was a coach’s decision,” Spoelstra said.
Instead, after Strus played 15:57 in Saturday’s first half, Spoelstra went with Duncan Robinson for 8:27 in the second half.
It was only the third appearance for Robinson in the last 10 games.
Strus closed his appearance 2 of 5 from the field for four points. Robinson finished 0 for 2, with three points.
The shuffling with Strus and Robinson comes with Victor Oladipo now three games into his comeback from preseason knee soreness.
Oladipo played 23:22 Saturday, finishing with a season-high 11 points, the lone Heat reserve in double figures. Oladipo, 30, had played 19 and 21 minutes, respectively, in his first two appearances.
“The most important thing is just getting his minutes, getting his work and not having any kind of setback,” Spoelstra said of the former All-Star guard. “Everything is encouraging right now, so far.”
Monday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers will be Oladipo’s first road game of the season, as the Heat open a four-game trip that concludes Saturday against the Spurs in Mexico City.
“We’ll continue to build on this,” Spoelstra said of Oladipo. “We’ll try to keep the minutes where they are, roughly where they are now.”
Down 113-111 to the Spurs with a chance to tie off a timeout with 14.7 seconds to play, the Heat instead wound up with missed 3-pointers from Tyler Herro and Caleb Martin in the decisive sequence in the loss to the Spurs.
“I wanted to go for the win,” Herro said of his wayward 3-point attempt with 9.2 seconds to play. “We talked about it in the huddle.”
Bam Adebayo then secured the rebound of Herro’s miss with 5 seconds left, deep enough in the lane for a potential game-tying point-blank putback. Instead, he passed out to Martin, who was off with his 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds to play.
“I felt like Caleb was open,” Adebayo said of bypassing the put-back attempt. “He was just short. We’ll watch film and figure it out.”
Of the sequence, Spoelstra said: “It was a pick and roll between Tyler and Jimmy [Butler]. It wasn’t the cleanest pick and roll. But it’s the action that everybody felt most comfortable with, and we just didn’t get anything really to put them on their heels. But we got a great offensive rebound and a good kick out from there.”