By David Dwork

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat was the Eastern Conference’s best team during the second half of last season.

Guard Dion Waiters was a big part of the Heat’s mid-season resurgence and now the free agent is coming back for more with Miami.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Waiters and Miami are finalizing a deal that will keep the former fourth overall pick in Heat colors for the next four years.

Waiters originally signed with Miami last summer, but for the Heat’s $2.9 million exception as his options around the league were limited and he wanted to prove he was worthy of a more lucrative deal.

As the season progressed, Waiters and the Heat got better and better.

Waiters grew a bond with fellow backcourt-mate Goran Dragic, with the two being donned the nickname “7-Eleven” due to their jersey numbers (Dragic is number seven, Waiters is number eleven).

Despite being limited to just 46 games due to injury, Waiters made several big shots and had one of, if not the best year of his career playing for Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.

He averaged 15.8 points per game while shooting 42.3 percent from the field. Waiters also posted career highs with 4.3 assists, 3.3 rebounds and shooting 39.4 percent from three-point range.

Waiters had been linked to the Heat, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers in free agency.

The deal is being reported by Basketball Insiders as a 4-year, $52 million contract, which leaves Miami around $17 million in cap space to sign additional free agents.

That number will go up to $21 million if Miami waives Josh McRoberts.

Next up for the Heat will likely be working out a deal with James Johnson, who also had a breakout year with Miami last season.

Both Johnson and Waiters have been very vocal about their desire to remain with the Heat.


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