After a quick exit in the first round of the 2021 playoffs, hot Introduced some stubborn players with championship experience and completed a sign-and-trade deal Kyle Lowryuse most of their mid-level exceptions PJ Tuckerand signed Markieff Morris Minimum wage contract.At the same time, the Heat are also betting on young players such as Gabe Vincent and max struth Ready for a bigger role after a two-way deal with the team for the 2020/21 season.
While not every move the Heat made in the offseason turned out to be huge — Morris has spent most of the season with a neck injury, and he hasn’t made the playoffs either. Rotation – but the club’s strategy is generally a good one.Lowry, Tucker, Vincent and Struth all played key roles in complementing the All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo and sixth man of the year Tyler Herrowhile other young people like Caleb Martin and Omer Yurtseven Prove their worth on minimum wage contracts.
Miami’s deep, well-balanced roster won the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed with a 53-29 regular-season record and then beat Atlanta and Philadelphia in two playoff series. Unfortunately, when the Eastern Conference finals were revealed, the Heat’s roster was already pretty bad, especially with Lowry missing eight playoff games with a hamstring injury. The club didn’t have enough tanks to beat the Celtics, losing to Boston in a seven-game series that went all the way down the line.
While the Heat didn’t win a championship, you can show that their roster is championship-caliber, or at least very close to it. If a few games played differently, it could be Miami rather than Boston representing the East in the NBA Finals. Front office’s task this offseason will be to determine how best to keep the Heat at a championship level, and then find the missing pieces that can help them rise above their peak.
Heat’s offseason plan:
The Heat have five players on guaranteed contracts for the 2022/23 season. Of those players, it’s a safe bet that Butler and Adebayo aren’t going anywhere.This pair of Lowry, Hero and Duncan Robinson.
Lowry has always been a player worth more than his scoring stats. He’s a gifted defender with a knack for handling the ball, and his offensive creativity helps lead to baskets where he doesn’t score or assist. However, at 36 years old this year, his stellar analytical numbers are starting to decline, and his hamstring problem has made him a below-average rotation player in many of the Heat’s most important games this spring.
Based on his contract (two years, $58MM), Lowry is likely to have a negative value as a trade chip at this point, meaning the Heat will likely keep him as he still has the ability to provide more on the court than he does now. more value as a trading asset. However, if Miami has the opportunity to acquire a young backcourt star and have to use Lowry as a salary-matching player, I can’t imagine them being hesitant.
Robinson seems more likely to be an offseason trade chip as his 2022/23 salary cap ($169,000) is more manageable than Lowry’s. A high-volume 3-point shooter with 40.6 percent of his career 3-point attempts from beyond the arc, Robinson is a solid role player, especially during the regular season. But his defensive limitations are a problem in the playoffs, as he provides little on-court value when his shooting doesn’t drop often.
If the Heat use Robinson in an offseason trade, they’ll need to include at least one additional asset in their trade package to have a chance of acquiring an impact player. That asset is likely a draft pick. Miami has the ability to move its 2022 first-round pick (No. 27) and/or a 2023 first-round pick, as well as at least one future first-round pick (no earlier than 2027). For most of the team’s realistic offseason trade goals, one or two of those picks might be enough to sweeten the deal.
While the Heat will likely waive these first-round picks before putting their young, cheap rotation on the floor, it’s worth noting that Herro will be entering a contract year and will be eligible for an extension this offseason. He performed well in the regular season but struggled in the playoffs, dropping eight points per game (20.7 to 12.6) while shooting just 22.9 percent from three.
Playoff performance — and the fact that Herro still has plenty of room to improve defensively — could give the Heat a pause as they negotiate a rookie-sized extension that could be worth more than $1 million over four years. Pat Riley Having long rejected the idea of trading Herro, I don’t see that stance changing abruptly this summer, but if there are the right players in the trade market, I don’t think Herro should be banned outright – in the long run, it’s possible to make it now Miami would benefit from his departure rather than a major investment in his next contract.
One or more of the Heat’s four non-guaranteed contract players — Struth, Vincent, Ewart Seven and Haywood Highsmith – It could theoretically be added to a trade pack, but I would expect all four to come back. Struth and Vincent, in particular, are two of the Heat’s latest developmental success stories, and next season will be major trades that help offset high-priced veterans like Butler, Adebayo and Lowry cost.
After handling the role of power forward brilliantly in his first year in Miami, Tucker has the opportunity to opt out of his contract and become a new free agent. He and the Heat look like a good fit for the 2021/22 season, so I don’t think Tucker would turn down his player option in order to jump ship, but would turn down the option and sign a new one-plus-one contract (possibly with a small raise) ) may be in his best interests. Despite his stellar performance last season, Tucker is 37 years old and will soon start to show real signs of decline, so this may be his last chance to sign more than the bare minimum.
If the Heat re-sign Tucker for a similar price to his option and retain their first-round pick, they still have about 13mm of breathing room below the luxury tax line to fill the remaining three or four spots.
Victor Oladipo And Martin is a candidate to come back and fill several of those spots, but negotiating a new contract with Martin could be tricky since Miami only owns his non-bird rights. That means the Heat won’t be able to offer him more than $2.25 in the 2022/23 season unless they’re willing to add a mid-level exception to increase the offer. Miami might think re-signing Martin with some mid-level exceptions is the best way to maximize the value of the MLE, but it seems unlikely that Martin will return if the team has that mid-level funding earmarked for outside goals.
Since the Heat own Oladipo’s Bird rights, they have more flexibility to give him a raise. Whether he returns will depend on how much interest he attracts from rivals and whether Miami is willing to tax, which will depend on what other moves are made.
Salary cap situation
Note: Our salary cap figures are based on the league’s latest projections for the 2022/23 season ($122MM).
- Jimmy Butler ($37,653,300)
- Bam Adebayo ($30,351,780)
- Kyle Lowry ($28,333,334)
- Duncan Robinson ($16,902,000)
- Tyler Herro ($5,722,116)
- Mitchell Mulder (bidirectional)
- Aventur Smart (bidirectional)
- Total: $118,962,530
- max struth ($1,815,677) 1
- Gabe Vincent ($1,815,677) 2
- Omer Yurtseven ($1,752,638) 3
- Haywood Highsmith ($1,752,638) 4
- Total: $7,136,630
restricted free agency
two-way free agency
- No. 27 pick ($2,209,920)
- Total: $2,209,920
Players eligible for extension
Note: These players are either already eligible for the extension or will be eligible before the start of the 2022/23 season.
- Tyler Herro (Rookie size)
Unrestricted free agency/other caps
- Dwayne Dedmon (holds $1,811,516 cap): Early bird rights
- Udonis Haslem ($1,811,516 cap): Bird Rights
- Jordan Mitch ($1,811,516 cap): Non-bird rights 5
- Markieff Morris ($1,811,516 cap): Non-bird rights
- Victor Oladipo ($1,811,516 cap): Bird Rights
- Dwyane Wade (holds $1,811,516 cap): Early bird rights 5
- Total: $10,869,096
Offseason Cap Outlook
If we assume that the Heat will keep all of their players on non-guaranteed contracts, then nine players are paid around 126mm, so they’re definitely over the cap. That would give them about $23MM of wiggle room below the projected tax line ($149MM) for the remaining five or six roster spots.
If Tucker and/or Oladipo return and the Heat use the bulk of their mid-level exception, that leeway would quickly disappear, but the club certainly has the flexibility to avoid the tax if that’s a priority.
Available cap exceptions
- Intermediate exception: $10,349,000 6
- Biennial exception: $4,050,000 6
- Trade exceptions: $1,782,621
- Struth’s salary will be fully guaranteed after June 29.
- Vincent’s salary will be fully guaranteed after June 29.
- Yurtseven’s salary will be fully guaranteed after June 29.
- Highsmith’s salary will be partially guaranteed at $50,000 on July 1 and will increase to $400,000 after the first game of the regular season.
- Mickey and Wade’s caps remained on the Heat’s books for previous seasons because they weren’t waived. They cannot be used to sign transaction agreements.
- These are expected values. If the Heat were to approach or cross the tax line, they may not get the full mid-level exception and/or semi-annual exception, but instead are limited to the taxpayer mid-level exception ($6,392,000).
Salary and salary cap information from Basketball Insider and RealGM was used to create this article.