It’s been one helluva year for Jared Sullinger, and not in a good way.
First, while everyone and their second cousin were landing massive deals last summer, Sullinger resorted to signing a one-year pact with the Toronto Raptors, hoping to drive up his value enough to make a splash in 2017 free agency. But then he missed the first half of the schedule with a foot injury. Upon return, he didn’t play too well. And then, ultimately, the Raptors sent him to the Phoenix Suns as part of a trade for P.J. Tucker.
After that, the Suns waived him.
What’s next for Sullinger?
Not playing for the Miami Heat.
South Beach’s finest initially showed some interest in Sullinger, per the South Florida Sun-Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman:
Was informed earlier today that the Heat have kicked the tires with Jared Sullinger. (With possible Bosh roster spot to open.)
— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) March 6, 2017
Soon after, though, Winderman brought word that the Heat would be plowing onward without him:
Although the Heat do not have a roster vacancy, one will open once the team begins the process to remove the salary-cap space of sidelined forward Chris Bosh. The Heat, however, are not considering the No. 21 pick in the 2012 NBA draft for such a vacancy.
Sullinger has battled weight and stamina issues for basically his entire career, but it appeared last season, with the Boston Celtics, he had a future in the league. Though he still hadn’t developed a three-point range, he shot at a relatively sound clip just inside the arc, suggesting he could one day get there. He remains a good rebounder even though he doesn’t play above the rim, and his defensive appeal increases tenfold when sticking his 6’9″ frame on centers and traditional power forwards.
Still just 25, Sullinger’s NBA career isn’t over. He should find another landing spot, even if it’s not this season. For his sake, he’ll have to hope it’s with a team that’s prepared to give him steady playing time and try developing him into what he was with Boston–or something more.