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Would Josh Richardson return to the Miami Heat in 2021?

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The 2021 free agency could produce another round of unexpected roster changes.

Philadelphia 76ers Player Portraits Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

While Bradley Beal intrigues the Miami Heat, another player might decline his player option and become available in 2021: Josh Richardson.

Richardson has a choice whether to take the last year of his contract with the Philadelphia 76ers for $11,615,328 per Spotrac, or he could seek a better deal elsewhere.

Ben Simmons signing his generous extension puts the 76ers in a difficult position on whether or not to give a hefty raise to Richardson for the 2021 season, because so much money is due to their top four players.

  • Tobias Harris - $36.0M
  • Joel Embiid - $31.6M
  • Ben Simmons - $31.6M
  • Al Horford - $27.0M

SUM - $126.2M

Just those players total $126M towards the projected $151M luxury tax threshold for that season, which leaves only $25M for ten other players if Philadelphia wants to avoid the tax.

This is a situation to keep an eye out for, just in case financial constraints cause the Sixers problems retaining their unsigned rotational players.

ESPN published a tentative list of possible free agents for 2020 and 2021, and here are some notable entries with their age and contract status in 2021.

Antetokounmpo, Beal, Richardson are the three youngest ones, with most of them 30 years old and over.

  • Victor Oladipo (29 - free agent)
  • Paul George (31 - player option)
  • Kawhi Leonard (30 - player option)
  • LeBron James (37 - player option)
  • Dion Waiters (29 - free agent)
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (27 - free agent)
  • Chris Paul (36 - player option)
  • Josh Richardson (28 - player)
  • CJ McCollum (30 - free agent)
  • LaMarcus Aldridge (36 - free agent)
  • Rudy Gobert (29 - free agent)
  • Bradley Beal (28 - free agent)

Most writers predict only a few changing teams, but unforeseen circumstances, such as trades or injuries, could alter the present outlook.

Beal seems like the logical choice of many people, but other valid opportunities may unexpectedly arise by next summer or the one thereafter.

I believe the biggest unknown for the Miami Heat lies in the performances of the guys currently on the team for the coming season.

The love – hate relationship among Heat fans for some players from 2017 to now produces a widely divergent view of what’s possible or not with today’s team.

Hopefully a player( or two) will have a breakout season to form a dynamic duo with Jimmy Butler before the summer of 2021, that is, all is not lost with the players Miami has under contract right now.

The rise and (partial) fall of teams such as the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors shows the difficulty of keeping championship rosters together year after year.

Perhaps Miami can gain from that instability by not clotting the contract arteries with massive salaries, until that elusive missing piece becomes available for the Heat.