The Miami Heat currently have 13 players under contract for next season. Once they come to an agreement with Udonis Haslem, which is expected, it will put them at 14. The maximum regular season limit is 15 players.
The Heat still have Willie Reed and Luke Babbitt cap holds, but Reed is expected to be going elsewhere. Babbitt could be the 15th man, but it’s unclear. And it should also be said that the Heat really don’t have a need for him any longer.
What should they do with the last spot?
To start, let’s take a look at the current proposed depth chart. This clearly could change and is just my opinion, but it gives you a landscape of the roster.
- Goran Dragic
- Tyler Johnson
- Dion Waiters
- Josh Richardson
- Wayne Ellington
- Justise Winslow
- Rodney McGruder
- Okaro White
- Kelly Olynyk
- James Johnson
- Udonis Haslem
- Hassan Whiteside
- Bam Adebayo
- A.J. Hammons
Clearly the glaring hole is behind point guard. There is no true point guard after Dragic. TJ can play the point and the Heat survive without it because Waiters and Richardson alongside Johnson can all handle the ball. But it looks like Miami has plenty of front court help this season.
There could be the need for a wing scorer since neither Winslow or McGruder are scorers by nature. But that would flood the depth chart and development of both of them.
It should also be noted that the Heat are at the cap essentially. And will be over once Haslem signs. They can use their MLE valued over $4 million, but cannot go much higher than that.
So who’s available?
Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, Ty Lawson, Deron Williams, Monta Ellis, and Arron Afflalo.
Those are the top names the Heat could target. Or it could be more likely that they use that last spot for someone they are eyeing during the Summer League or are inviting to training camp.
That’s been the theme over the last few years...leave a spot open and make training camp a battle for it. Last year, the Heat even decided to waive Beno Udrih’s salary to keep Rodney McGruder from camp. That turned out pretty well.
Speaking of Udrih...he’s available as well.
Anyway, another option the Heat may be thinking...which is not likely but we will throw it out just in case because it is fun to talk about: what if Dwyane Wade is bought out? Would he return to Miami on the MLE and do the Heat want him this season?
Would you want any of those available point guards on this roster as a backup? Would Derrick Rose running the second unit for 16 minutes a night be valuable for this team? Would he take that small of money to remake himself for a year?
Would Rondo ever put on a Heat jersey? Probably not. He’s still mad at Ray Allen. The rest of those point guard options don’t seem to be more appealing than allowing our guys to figure it out.
If Afflalo wanted to come for the MLE that could be a good use of the Heat’s money. He could challenge our wing players for time and mentor them on the way.
Riley, on the Heat's remaining $4.3 million exception, "We'll probably hold on to the room mid-level."— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) July 10, 2017
The most likely scenario has the Heat holding onto the MLE for now, like Pat Riley said and seeing what is available later this summer. But don’t be surprised to see Miami sign a few of the Summer League players over the next week. That doesn’t mean they are man #15, it means they want them to come to camp on a non-guaranteed deal.
Who do you want to see be #15?