UNC in the NBA: Wayne Ellington wants to return to Miami

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 25: Wayne Ellington
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 25: Wayne Ellington /

Wayne Ellington has found a new home in Miami and he hopes to remain with the team

Former University of North Carolina Tar Heels sharpshooter Wayne Ellington had a career-year with the Miami Heat in 2017-18, providing a spark off the bench for the team.

Miami’s season came to a disappointing end when they were eliminated by the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs and now they will have some big offseason decisions to make. One of those is whether or not to bring back Ellington.

The guard is set to be an unrestricted free agent but the Heat own his Early Bird rights meaning they can offer up to a four-year contract at a 8 percent rate of his first year salary. By signing Ellington, Miami would go over the cap space.

It’s a decision that the Heat will need to think out carefully. Do they want to go over the cap to sign Ellington who will be 31 in November? Or will they commit to getting younger and spending elsewhere?

Either way, Ellington expected to be one of the top shooters available in free agency and will likely get a good deal somewhere.

For the former UNC star, he knows there’s a chance he won’t be back in Miami but he’s hoping he can stay there and remain with the Heat.

The Miami Herald’s Manny Navarro spoke to Ellington about the situation following the Game 5 loss:

"“Obviously that would be a dream come true to me,” Ellington said prior to Game 5 on Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Center. “Stability is key — especially in this business. That’s something I haven’t had a lot of in my career. I haven’t in any way shape or form hidden how I feel about this organization.“But, obviously, I know how things work out. We’ll see. We’re still far away from that time. Anything can happen from now until then.”"

Ellington broke the Heat franchise record for most three-pointers in a single season, doing so while coming off the bench. He put together a very impressive year and was a big reason why the Heat were able to get to the playoffs.

We are still a few months away from the NBA’s Free Agency period and still have to get through the NBA Draft. A lot can happen but Ellington’s situation is something to monitor this offseason.

Next: Jerry Stackhouse interviews with Knicks

For more on Ellington and other UNC players in the NBA, please check back with Keeping It Heel.