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Bold predictions for Miami Heat’s pivotal 2021 offseason

The Miami Heat have work to do if they want to reach the NBA Finals again. What moves will Miami make to give Jimmy Butler his best chance at winning a title?

The Miami Heat go into the 2021 NBA offseason looking to retool a roster around Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo that is capable of making another NBA Finals run. Tough decisions are ahead for Pat Riley and company.

What do I think the Miami Heat will do this offseason? Let’s begin!

Miami Heat make a sign-and-trade for Kyle Lowry

Kyle Lowry has been rumored to join Jimmy Butler in Miami since before the trade deadline during the 2021 season. Lowry has a close relationship with Butler and would likely want to contend instead of taking money on another team.

The Heat will sign Lowry to a three-year contract starting at $27.5 million in his first year. They can’t sign Lowry outright with cap space under this scenario since Andre Iguodala and Goran Dragic’s team options were picked up.

Miami will move Dragic, Precious Achiuwa, and a 2022 second-round pick to the Raptors for Lowry. The 35-year-old point guard averaged 17.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 7.3 assists while shooting 43.6% from the field last season.

Lowry would take over the role of starting point guard for Miami and bring more veteran leadership to an organization vying for an NBA championship. It’s the perfect move for both sides to figure out a way to come together.

Unfortunately, Dragic would need to be traded in the process, but the Heat’s offseason will end with a better product if his contract is moved. Achiuwa helps incentivize the deal and gives the Raptors a young center to mold.

Collin Sexton would’ve been a less expensive option, but he goes to the New York Knicks on draft night. Chris Paul, Mike Conley, and Malcolm Brogdon stay with their respective teams with Russell Westbrook on the move to the Los Angeles Lakers.

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Miami Heat keep Duncan Robinson and let Kendrick Nunn walk

Miami Heat keep Duncan Robinson and let Kendrick Nunn walk
Apr 24, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat guard Duncan Robinson (55) controls the ball against Chicago Bulls guard Tomas Satoransky (31) and forward Lauri Markkanen (24) during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Duncan Robinson has been a focal point of the Heat’s offense for the last two seasons. Robinson has been one of the better shooters in the NBA, which means he will receive a hefty payday this offseason.

However, the Heat won’t let the 27-year-old sharpshooter walk away from the organization. Robinson will sign a three-year, $67 million offer sheet with the New Orleans Pelicans, but the Heat match the offer and lock up their best shooter for three years.

Miami could have gone the route of a sign-and-trade for Lonzo Ball, but signing Lowry solidifies the point guard position and creates no need for Ball. Instead, the Pelicans match another offer sheet for Ball.

The organization that gave Ball an offer sheet will also give Kendrick Nunn an offer sheet. The Chicago Bulls will sign Nunn to a three-year, $45 million deal as Miami decides to let Nunn walk.

The 25-year-old guard gets an opportunity to go home after the Heat were able to mold him into a quality role player in the NBA. Plus, the price for Nunn started to rise too high for Miami in a deep point guard market.

Marvin Bagley III comes to the Miami Heat via trade

Marvin Bagley III comes to the Miami Heat via trade
February 15, 2021; Sacramento, California, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Marvin Bagley III (35) during the fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Heat are still searching for the perfect four to pair next to Bam Adebayo. There are many options in free agency, such as JaMychal Green and Markieff Morris, but they decide to go a different route via trade.

Miami will send Andre Iguodala, K.Z. Okpala, and a lottery-protected 2025 first-round pick to the Sacramento Kings for Marvin Bagley III. Bagley, 22, is still young and has injury concerns, but it’s worth a try to develop him.

Bagley averaged 14.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 43 games last season. The 22-year-old forward also shot 34.3% from the three-point line on 2.5 attempts per game.

The Heat were able to unlock their 2025 first-round pick after sending a 2028 second-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder to unlock protections on their 2023 first-round pick.

Miami is willing to move the first-round pick after it loses out on the Bradley Beal sweepstakes that send him to the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons and other assets.

Another option would have been John Collins, but the Atlanta Hawks match any deal for him. Myles Turner also goes to Charlotte, who would’ve been a perfect fit next to Adebayo.

This trade would solidify Miami’s starting lineup of Lowry-Robinson-Butler-Bagley-Adebayo next season. The main question moving forward is whether Bagley can stay healthy.

Related: NBA playoff predictions – Bracket picks & 2022 Finals champion

More fearless forecast transactions for Miami Heat’s offseason

More fearless forecast transactions for Miami Heat's offseason
Apr 10, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Andre Drummond (2) drives to the basket against Brooklyn Nets center LaMarcus Aldridge (21) during the third quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Heat have their starting lineup set, but the rest of the roster needs filling out after many players on the team enter free agency. Some of them return, but a couple of new names enter the picture.

Miami convinces Andre Drummond to join the organization as a backup center to Adebayo. Drummond, 27, signs a one-year, $5.0 million contract with hopes of showing his value in the Heat’s system.

Drummond’s signing means former Heat center Dewayne Dedmon will not return to the team. However, another player signs into the Mid-Level Exception which might be a surprise.

Victor Oladipo tests the free-agent market but comes back to Miami on a one-year, $4 million prove-it deal. Oladipo has wanted to be in Miami for a long time, and doesn’t find a contract that makes it worth leaving.

The 29-year-old guard would come off the bench whenever he returns and Max Strus could help fill the role until then. Trevor Ariza, Nemanja Bjelicia, and Udonis Haslem would also return on one-year deals as backup forwards.

Gabe Vincent and Omer Yurtseven would bring the Heat’s roster to 14 players and most likely complete it. Miami would sign two undrafted guards, Chaundee Brown from Michigan and M.J. Walker from Florida St. as their two-way contracts.

This would give the Heat the following roster structure.

Miami Heat starting lineup: Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson, Jimmy Butler, Marvin Bagley III, Bam Adebayo

Miami Heat bench: Tyler Herro, Victor Oladipo, Trevor Ariza, Andre Drummond, Nemanja Bjelica, Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, Udonis Haslem, Omer Yurtseven, Chaundee Brown (two-way), M.J. Walker (two-way).

Another move will be signing Jimmy Butler to a four-year, max contract extension with the following breakdown:

YearSalary
2021-22$36,016,200
2022-23$40,520,200
2023-24$43,761,816
2024-25$43,761,816
2025-26$50,245,048
Total (five years)$217,546,696

There are other moves for the Heat that would make this offseason even better. The possibility of trading for Bradley Beal, Brandon Ingram, or other unknown available players is certainly not out of the question.

Miami is limited to what it can do right now, but unlocking protections on the 2023 first-round pick in Oklahoma City could go a long way in the efforts to land a great player.

Making upgrades, like in this scenario, won’t make the Heat an instant contender, but they have the potential on the roster to reach it if Bagley and Adebayo take a leap in their development.

We should know what the Heat’s main roster looks like two weeks from now and if they want to compete next season, tough decisions will need to be made.

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