The Miami Heat go into this offseason looking to build a team around Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo that will bring them back to the NBA Finals. The NBA Draft is in two days, while free agency begins in six days.
There are many paths Miami can take during the offseason, but a majority of them are very fluid. Here’s a deep dive into what the organization has to decide and who may end up in a Heat uniform.
What route will the Miami Heat take this offseason?
The Heat can move forward in two different ways as the activity of the NBA’s offseason begins. If free agency started today, the Heat would have up to $27 million of cap space if they declined options and renounced free agents.
If the Heat wanted to act as a room team, they would decline the team options of Andre Iguodala ($15.0 million) and Goran Dragic ($19.4 million). It doesn’t seem likely for Miami if it wants to see significant improvement this offseason.
The organization needs to decide on Sunday whether to accept or decline those options. It will be a major tell on how they plan to move forward this offseason. The expectation should be to pick up their options and use them as trade chips.
It would allow the Heat to facilitate sign-and-trades for players such as Kyle Lowry, Spencer Dinwiddie, or Lonzo Ball. This method would most likely be the only way Miami ends up with Lowry or Ball, at the minimum.
Teams such as the New Orleans Pelicans could offer Lowry $35 million-plus with cap room. Miami does not have that luxury and would need to work on a deal. Not working above the cap would most likely take the team out of contention for the big free agents.
The free agency class isn’t as attractive as it was expected to be due to players signing extensions with their teams. The Heat were one team that pushed their chips to the middle of the table and waited for this offseason.
Sign-and-trades will most likely be the name of the game for the majority of teams due to the lack of cap space around the league. There is potential for a very, very active NBA offseason as more teams look to contend due to the play-in tournament.
Kyle Lowry to the Miami Heat?
Kyle Lowry has been linked to the Miami Heat since rumors at the trade deadline begun. Lowry and Jimmy Butler are close friends and he fits the timeline of what the Heat are trying to accomplish.
However, the 35-year-old point guard has many suitors such as the Philadelphia 76ers, New Orleans Pelicans, and Dallas Mavericks. The Pelicans could be a concern since they have the easiest method of signing Lowry.
The idea of New Orleans could also be very appealing to him. Last season, the Phoenix Suns signed Chris Paul to their core and they made a run to the NBA Finals in their first attempt.
Adding Lowry to the Pelicans with Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson could set up New Orleans for a chance at contending. The Pelicans also like Duncan Robinson, who could be involved in a sign-and-trade under this situation.
Lowry already has a championship, which gives him the incentive to take the best contract for somewhere he wants to play. The Pelicans-Grizzlies trade doesn’t take the Heat out of the running, but it won’t be on their terms now.
There have been reports that Lowry is looking for a contract that pays $90 million for three years. If it comes down to a couple of million dollars, Miami shouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger.
Lowry is the best point guard on the market and the perfect fit for Miami. The third year of the contract when Lowry is 38-years-old could cause some hesitation, but it’s the win-now move the organization needs to make.
Miami would need to pick up the team options of Goran Dragic and Andre Iguodala to have the money for a sign-and-trade. One of those players, Precious Achiuwa or K.Z. Okpala and a pick or two should be enough.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported that Spencer Dinwiddie could be a backup option if the Heat can’t land Lowry. The idea of Dinwiddie is most likely better than the actual product, so settling and not offering Lowry the extra money isn’t worth it.
The fluidity of Lowry’s market will be one to keep an eye on as free agency nears.
How will the Miami Heat handle Duncan Robinson’s contract?
The Miami Heat’s best free agent is in line for a significant pay raise. Duncan Robinson has been projected to earn $23,924,67 million annually in free agency, per The Athletic‘s John Hollinger.
The question for Miami is whether it will commit that type of money to Robinson. How comfortable is the organization in offering Robinson $20 million-plus for three or more years after watching shooters similar to him struggle in the NBA playoffs?
The Heat need to distance themselves from one-dimensional players, but Robinson is one of the best shooters in the NBA. Teams will be very happy to land a shooter of his caliber to insert into the starting lineup.
As stated above, the Pelicans like the 27-year-old guard, but the Heat have the option to match any deal because he is a restricted free agent. New Orleans could sign Robinson into their cap space and a sign-and-trade wouldn’t be as needed.
However, maybe the Heat could work with the Pelicans and say they won’t match if they are given something in return. Robinson’s outgoing salary would be half of the first-year salary on his new deal because his contract is over a 20% raise.
The Heat could perform a sign-and-trade for Lowry, re-sign Robinson, and then split the Mid-Level Exception on a four and another player of their choice. A lineup of Lowry, Robinson, Butler, Adebayo, and a player signed with their MLE would be good.
Either way, Robinson is in line to earn a massive contract, whether it is with Miami or not.
Who could potentially come to the Miami Heat?
Outside of the fantasy options like Kawhi Leonard and Chris Paul, there are possibilities for the Heat to improve their team. What are some of the other options outside of the obvious moves like Lowry and Robinson?
One name could be Collin Sexton. The Cleveland Cavaliers have been rumored to want to move Sexton, but a trade on draft night seems like something that could happen. The New York Knicks are one team interested in Sexton.
There is a way for Miami to easily trade for the 22-year-old guard. Including Tyler Herro would be perfect for the Heat since the salaries match up pretty well. It allows Miami to possibly pair Lowry and Sexton as its backcourt.
Another name to watch is Brandon Ingram. Adam Borai of Five Reasons Sports Network reported that Ingram would welcome a trade to Miami, but pulling off a deal is a different story.
The Heat could package Goran Dragic, Tyler Herro, K.Z. Okpala, and picks for Ingram. Miami wouldn’t be able to include Robinson since his contract would need to be sent to a team on its own.
It doesn’t look to be a likely scenario, but it is something to monitor if Miami and New Orleans start to have discussions, which could be likely due to the Pelicans’ interest in Heat players.
Lastly, the big fish for the Heat this offseason would be Bradley Beal. The Heat love Beal and Miami would be appealing to him if he ever requests a trade from the Washington Wizards.
It would be best for the Heat if Beal isn’t traded before the NBA Draft. Their best package right now would not be close to good enough to outbid other teams. Even after the draft, the Heat don’t have an abundance of assets like others.
The Heat have loved Beal for years, but if a team like the Philadelphia 76ers offers Ben Simmons, Tyrese Maxey, and picks, there is nothing they can do to top that unless Beal says he wants to go to Miami.
There are many moving parts with the Heat as the rumors heat up and trades start happening. It’s a very important offseason for the Heat in their quest to be competitive, especially with Jimmy Butler in his prime.