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Dion Waiters to Be Reinstated by Heat Amid Rumors His NBA Career Is over

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IIIDecember 23, 2019

ORLANDO, FL - OCTOBER 17: Dion Waiters #11 of the Miami Heat looks on against Orlando Magic during a pre-season game on October 17, 2019 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
Fernando Medina/Getty Images

The Miami Heat announced Monday that suspended guard Dion Waiters will be reinstated on Tuesday. 

Waiters has been serving a six-game suspension without pay for what the Heat described as "failure to adhere to team policies, violation of team rules and continued insubordination."

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported on Dec. 15 that Waiters' punishment was partly due to an Instagram post "of himself on a boat during a period last week when he told the team he was unable to practice or play because of an illness."

It was the 28-year-old guard's third suspension this season. 

Waiters has not played in a regular-season game for the Heat since last season's finale on April 10. Miami's decision to reinstate him comes after ESPN's Bobby Marks reported earlier Monday that there's "no resolution in sight when it comes to the future of Waiters with the Miami Heat."

"The Waiters contract is as close to untradable that I have ever seen in the NBA," an anonymous NBA executive told Marks. 

Several anonymous executives also expressed to Marks that Waiters' NBA career is "likely over."

Per Jackson, the Heat were open to playing Waiters prior to his latest suspension but now are "determined to move on." 

"The Heat said Waiters will re-join the team, participate in practice and be with the team on the bench during games," Jackson wrote in a new report Monday evening. "But whether Waiters ever appears in a game again is very much in question."

It's unclear what the Heat plan to do with Waiters, whose first suspension was for the regular-season opener after he expressed displeasure with the way the team was using him in the preseason and second spanned 10 games. The latter came after Waiters had a "panic attack" after ingesting a THC-infused edible on the team's charter flight on Nov. 7, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst reported on Nov. 9.

"Waiters missed the game in Phoenix because of a stomach ache and was seeking relief when he took an edible he was unfamiliar with, sources said," Woj and Windhorst added. "League rules prohibit the use of THC, one of the main compounds in cannabis."

The Heat released a statement following Waiters' 10-game suspension. It read in part: 

"We are very disappointed in Dion's actions this season that include the very scary situation on Thursday night, and grateful that the outcome wasn't worse. There have been a number of instances this season in which Dion has engaged in conduct detrimental to the team. Accordingly, he will be suspended without pay for 10 games."

Waiters was re-signed with the Heat on a four-year, $52 million contract in July 2017. The 2012 fourth overall pick had averaged 15.8 points, 4.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds across 46 games (43 starts) during the 2016-17 campaign leading up to his new deal. 

In the two seasons since, however, Waiters has played in 74 games (58 starts). His 2017-18 campaign ended with an ankle injury that required surgery in Jan. 2018, and his 2018-19 season didn't begin until Jan. 2, 2019, in the aftermath.

"Being honest. This s--t sucked," Waiters told reporters in Dec. 2018 regarding his 11-month recovery from his ankle surgery. "It sucked bad. Just every day, same thing over and over, you’re trying to get back, get your body right. It was grueling man. I’m not even going to lie to you and say it was easy. It was terrible, man."

Waiters is now buried on the Heat's depth chart behind the likes of Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn. Butler was acquired this summer through a four-team trade, while rookies Herro (13th overall) and Nunn (undrafted) have started hot for Miami. 

The 21-8 Heat have been among the league's biggest surprises so far this season, making it difficult to see why head coach Erik Spoelstra would tamper with the way things are going to take a chance on incorporating Waiters. 

Waiters is under contract through next season.