The NBA will have an offseason at some point, and the Heat will look to be major players to add a significant piece to their already existing core.
Let’s be clear: the Heat are not whale hunting this offseason, I don’t think. It seems as though the plan is to aim for 2021 when some big names are available. For this offseason, the Heat have about $83 million already committed to 8 active players (Butler, Nunn, Robinson, Herro, Adebayo, Iguodala, Okpala and Silva [T.O.]).
That leaves somewhere between $27-30 million before the expected salary cap of $115 million (although that may drop to $113 million). Just for reference, the Heat were right at the luxury tax level this season which was $23 million above the salary cap. Listen, I’m not Albert Nahmad, so I can’t explain to you in detail how all of this works, but the Heat have somewhere around $50 million total (they can go above the cap to resign Meyers Leonard, Goran Dragic or Derrick Jones Jr. Even Jae Crowder is a free agent.
I expect that they would like to bring those three back, but maybe only two are feasible.
That’s the intro...here’s what the team thinks:
MATT PINEDA: @pinedaHEAT — Harry Giles
Call me crazy, and I will understand. But I am working under the impression the Heat want Dragic, Jones Jr., and Crowder back — and who knows what Udonis Haslem will decide to do. I don’t think the Heat are going to actually in the long-run have much money to work with this summer. That’s why I think Giles could be an interesting look.
Yes, he’s been hurt, but the Kings declined the almost 22 year old. He has made strides and he’s very talented. Once, the number one player in his class. Without pressure, Giles could be a great passer and lob-catcher for the Heat off the bench in a limited role. I’m not over selling this, I think he could be a good add, but not a game-changer. The Heat’s biggest addition will be having their young guys make even bigger steps in the off-season.
DIEGO QUEZADA: @DiegoHeatNBA — Davis Bertans
With Meyers Leonard’s injury, the Miami Heat have increasingly utilized Bam Adebayo at the center. Signing Bertans and letting Leonard walk in free agency would be an upgrade and more fully commit Miami to have Adebayo as the five. Bertans is shooting 42.4 percent from 3 on 8.7 attempts per game. That’s just a smidge below Duncan Robinson’s 3-point shooting (44.8 percent on 8.4 attempts).
Bertans’ lights-out shooting would perfectly complement Adebayo’s do-everything game. Moreover, it helps space the floor to have shooters like Bertans, Robinson, Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn with non-shooters Adebayo and Jimmy Butler. Now, other teams may be willing to offer Bertans multi-year contracts. But Pat Riley should sell him on a hefty one-year deal with a playoff contender.
BRANDON DI PERNO @brandon_diperno - Danillo Gallinari:
Almost acquired at the deadline, Gallinari still makes sense for the Miami Heat. The veteran sharpshooter can add a lot to the current build of this team and take some of the weight off Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro from a shooting perspective. Hopefully the Heat and Gallinari will be able to reach a deal that didn’t emerge in February.
MICHAEL KAWAIDA: @michael_kawaida - Serge Ibaka
It seems like he’s been in the league forever, but Serge Ibaka is only 30-years old and still very much in his prime. On the heels of a championship run with Toronto, the former NBA leader in blocks is actually posting career highs this season in points and three-point percentage. With his athleticism, range and ability to protect the rim against both centers and power forwards - Serge is a unique and valuable piece for any team with title aspirations. But why should Miami go after him? He adds to the veteran presence on the roster with championship pedigree and has proven himself a leader in the locker room and on the court.
Ibaka is currently in the last year of a 3-year, $65 million contract with Toronto that netted him around $20 million per season. Miami has roughly $48 million to spend on free agents, including a few pieces from the current outfit in Meyers Leonard, Derrick Jones Jr and others. If Riley can convince the former 24th overall selection to shave a hair of his price point, I believe he fits right in with the Heat culture and style of play. Fitting the veteran with Bam Adebayo would be a match made in heaven - they two can interchange at the power foward and center spots based on match-up. Both can protect the rim and Ibaka can stretch the floor as he’s become a reliable three-point threat. Committing that much money to Ibaka means pieces like Dragic and Crowder would likely walk as UFAs but I would take the gamble.
Surya Fernandez: @SuryaHeatNBA - Davis Bertans
This is shaping up to be one of the weaker free agent classes in recent memory and pretty much all of the desirable players that could be available will likely re-sign with their current teams. Miami is (was?) winning consistently this season but at the same time still looking forward to the future and their trade deadline deal had them clearing cap space for a good chance at a max player (or two) among the tantalizing 2021 free agency class.
The potential deal to bring in Danilo Gallinari fell apart but it gives a window into their thinking. So clearly the Heat are in the market for another sharpshooter and Bertans, at 6-10 like Gallinari, immediately sticks out from the underwhelming list of potential free agents available this offseason. He’ll command a decent contract, but it won’t require breaking the bank or parting with valued pieces to get him. More importantly, it won’t affect 2021 with some more tweaks to the roster and of course more wheeling and dealing, and that’s always a certainty with Pat Riley in charge.