The Miami Heat missed out on the Gordon Hayward sweepstakes this offseason and decided to bring back the core that brought them to the eight seed in the Eastern Conference last season. The Heat re-signed Down Waiters to a four-year/$47 million deal, James Johnson to a four-year/$60 million deal and former Celtics forward Kelly Olynyk to a four-year/$45 million deal.
ESPN gave their harsh take on the Heat’s offseason in one of their latest Insider articles. They gave Miami a D grade after missing out on Hayward and going with their backup plan.
Miami Heat : D
After falling short in their pursuit of Hayward, the Heat decided to bring back the group that went 30-11 in the second half of last season ... at a high cost. After signing smaller one-year deals last summer, James Johnson (four years, $60 million) and Dion Waiters (four years, $47 million plus incentives) got paid. So too did newcomer Kelly Olynyk (four years, $45 million plus incentives).
Add in Tyler Johnson's salary -- which escalates from $5.9 million to $19.3 million next summer because of the "Gilbert Arenas rule" -- and Miami is capped out for the foreseeable future. We'll see if those contracts prove as tradable as the Heat think. Johnson's in particular could get ugly on the back end, costing Miami in the long term.
While the Heat did miss out on the most sought after free-agent in Hayward, they did what they needed to do in order to put a competitive team on the court next season. In the second half of the 2016-17 season, the Heat went 30-11 and showed spots of greatness down the stretch. Led by the strong play of Waiters, the Heat looked like they could pull off some upsets, if they were able to sneak into the playoffs.
ESPN’s grade of a D is a bit harsh because of the situation they were in after Hayward decided to sign with the Celtics. The only thing that Miami can be faulted for is for putting all of their eggs in one basket. They lacked a solid backup plan and it caused them to just settle on the roster they had last season.
Also the Heat did add a very valuable option in the NBA Draft with Bam Adebayo. Adebayo showed throughout the Summer League that he can be a valuable fixture in the Heat’s rotation for years to come.
At the end of the day, the Heat got the short end of the stick. They might have over paid for some mediocre talent but what were their other options? Change for the sake of change or bringing back the roster that made the second half of the season so special.