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Miami Heat: Big-name offseason targets, PJ Tucker’s replacement, and predictions

Answering Miami Heat questions about the 2023 offseason, big name players, P.J. Tucker's possible replacement, and final predictions ahead of NBA free agency.

Austin Konenski
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Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat are entering the 2022 NBA free agency period with improvements to make and the rumors are flying around more than ever.

Let’s dive into this week’s Miami Heat mailbag ahead of what could be a frenzy of transactions.

Are Irving, Mitchell, and Beal in play for Miami Heat?

With the news that Kyrie Irving is returning to the Brooklyn Nets, it seems like the Miami Heat are out of the race to land Irving and Kevin Durant for the time being. However, there is skepticism that Irving’s situation is done.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that people within the league are skeptical of how this might end. While it probably doesn’t lead to much of anything, it is something to keep an eye on for future reference.

Bradley Beal is another big name player that has been floated around, but he is expected to re-sign with the Washington Wizards and continue building on his commitment. Zach LaVine is also expected to re-sign with the Chicago Bulls, which is the right move for both him and the franchise. Cross those two names off of the Heat’s list.

Donovan Mitchell would need to request a trade but Miami would almost certainly be on his list. It just needs to happen first if the Heat want any part of Mitchell within the organization.

Dejounte Murray is an interesting name that Miami should absolutely try to acquire. Murray, 25, averaged 21.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 9.2 assists while shooting 46.2% from the floor. However, the Atlanta Hawks could be on the verge of acquiring Murray’s services if those rumors are true. If not, the Heat should be in that conversation and quietly attempt to pry him away from San Antonio.

What are the PJ Tucker replacement options?

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Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

PJ Tucker has been rumored to bolt the Miami Heat for the Philadelphia 76ers for some time now, but Philadelphia can’t currently offer Tucker the contract that he’s likely looking for.

The 76ers need to stay under the luxury tax apron, $155.7 million, if they want to have the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception (NTMLE) available for Tucker. Right now, they are projected to be around $151.7 million.

Philadelphia would need to trade Furkan Korkmaz and Matisse Thybulle to acquire Tucker. It can certainly happen, but the 76ers are reportedly not willing to trade salary to make the NTMLE available. So, will Tucker even leave the Heat? It seems like Miami has the edge over Philadelphia until they shed salary. But, what if the 76ers do shed salary and there is a Tucker-sized whole to replace?

Duncan Robinson’s contract could be a way of fixing it. Which players could make sense in this scenario? Los Angeles Clippers forward Marcus Morris, Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes, and Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder.

Morris, 32, wants to play with his brother Markieff Morris and Miami can easily re-sign him for cheap this offseason. Marcus Morris would be a great fit on the Heat and one that Los Angeles is most likely interested in making.

The Clippers have a very deep team after the reports of John Wall intending to sign with them when he clears waivers. Morris would sure up the four spot, but another target would be even more intriguing.

Barnes, 30, averaged 16.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.4 assists while shooting 46.9% from the field last season. The 6-foot-8 forward is entering the final year of his deal that is close to Robinson’s cap hit. The Kings have been rumored to possibly move Barnes for a long time and it seems like it should be coming soon with him inevitably leaving the Kings next year if he is still on the roster.

Barnes would be the best option and one that Heat fans should be ecstatic to land. It depends on whether Sacramento is finally ready to pull the trigger and lowering its asking price.

Crowder, 31, is the final target and it makes sense with the rumors of Phoenix trying to move him. The forward is earning half of Robinson’s cap hit so that’s the only issue right now. However, the Heat made a mistake in not replacing Crowder during the 2020 offseason. Could they make this come full circle and replace Tucker with the beloved Crowder?

Time will tell, but Miami certainly has options if Tucker leaves the organization. Still, it’s not a foregone conclusion that Tucker will even leave for Philadelphia yet.

What are the final predictions for the Miami Heat’s offseason?

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Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

There was a Miami Heat offseason prediction article written about five days ago that still seems pretty set in stone for the time being. Nikola Jovic being the Heat’s draft pick is the only difference.

It said Irving, Beal, Mitchell, and LaVine all stay with their respective teams and that seems to be the way this offseason is heading with star player movement. This means it’ll be something smaller for Miami. The Heat could trade for Morris, Barnes, or Crowder, but the drum should still be pounded for Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma.

Kuzma, 26, averaged 17.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists while shooting 45.2% from the field last season. The Wizards are reportedly willing to discuss Kuzma in trade conversations but it needs to make sense. Is it something that could realistically happen? It seems like the Kuzma smoke has been quiet and the Wizards like him, so maybe it’s not something that is truly being discussed.

Despite that, it is good to go out of the box in the NBA because things occur that are very unexpected all of the time. Let’s say the Heat land Kuzma and that is their big move of the offseason. If not Kuzma, the Heat will end up trading for Marcus Morris and re-signing Markieff Morris to reunite the two brothers on the same team.

Something will happen for the Heat because they are always in active discussions. Eventually, one of these players will end up on the Miami Heat. It’s just a matter of who, how, and when.