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2021 Miami Heat Free Agency Primer

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Here’s everything you need to know about Free Agency for the Miami Heat.

NBA: Playoffs-Milwaukee Bucks at Miami Heat Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA will begin its free agency period on Monday, August 2 at 6 PM. That’s when players and teams can begin negotiating and communicating officially about deals and signings. Contracts can officially be signed on August 6 at 12:01 PM.

That gives teams the opportunity to work multiple angles to make all their deals work under the salary cap. So let’s break down exactly what’s going on for the Miami Heat as they enter the free agency period.

Players under contract for 2021-22:
Jimmy Butler: $36 million
Bam Adebayo: $28.1 million
Tyler Herro: $4 million
Precious Achiuwa: $2.7 million
KZ Okpala: $1.7 million

Players with Team Options for 2021-22:
Goran Dragic: $19.4 million
Andre Iguodala: $15 million
Omer Yurtseven: $1.5 million

Restricted Free Agents:
Kendrick Nunn
Duncan Robinson

Free Agents:
Victor Oladipo
Nemanja Bjelica
Udonis Haslem
Trevor Ariza
Gabe Vincent
Max Strus
Dewayne Dedmon

Dead Money:
Ryan Andersen: $5.2 million (waived and stretch final year)

THE TWO OPTIONS THE MIAMI HEAT CAN DO THIS SUMMER (via Miami Herald)
Option 1: Operate as a room team, using what could be as much as $27.5 million in cap space, to add the best available player or perhaps two players. Miami also would have a $4.9 million room exception in this scenario.

Option 2: Operate as an over-the-cap team, allowing Miami to exceed the cap to keep Victor Oladipo, Goran Dragic and/or Trevor Ariza if it wishes, use a $9.5 million mid-level exception and a $3.6 million bi-annual exception and make a sign-and-trade to upgrade the roster.

THE PRIMER
So there are a lot of different ways this can go and it’s hard to predict what direction Miami will go. There are so many factors...but let’s start with these:

#1 — What type of contract will Duncan Robinson demand and will the Heat be willing to match it? Duncan has been such an integral part of the Heat’s offense the last two seasons — and he has done all of it at a discounted rate thanks to the Heat’s smart maneuvering.

But Duncan is a restricted free agent and can field offers from anyone. Most around the league believe he’s going to require between $15 - $24 million per season in a long term deal. Thanks to the precedent from Davis Bertans, Duncan will be paid by someone. The question is will it be Miami?

“It’s no secret that I’ve loved my time in Miami,” Robinson said of his impending free agency during an episode of The Long Shot podcast. “I’d love to try to make something work with Miami. The reality is like, I tell this to my family, I don’t know how the next whatever 10-plus days, two weeks, how it’s going to play out.

“I just want to take all information as it comes. When the time comes to actually evaluate and make a decision, be meticulous and deliberate about what actually is going to be best for me.”

What the Heat decide to do with Duncan Robinson will be telling of the direction they go.

#2 — What will Victor Oladipo be worth in free agency? I do believe the Heat would like to see how Vic would work out, and that was the plan to end the season. But he only played four games for Miami. With another surgery and unable to play contact ball until November, who’s paying for Vic?

Probably not anyone for a multi-year deal, but I could be wrong. If Miami were able to keep him on a one-year prove it deal, that could be a great thing for them. But Vic has changed agents, so who knows what he thinks is going to happen and what he is willing to do.

#3 — How serious is Miami about a whale? Do they have the capital to try to get Damian Lillard or Kawhi Leonard? Not sure, but there has been plenty of talk. One thing is for sure, the Heat need some type of playmaking help.

Kyle Lowry. Collin Sexton. Spencer Dinwiddie. Those are a little less exciting, but something is needed.

The level of talent is going to be dictated by their approach (as a cap team or room team). But here’s the key — with Miami having the ability to sign a major free agent with cap space, it gives them the ability to luer but also possibilily faciliatate it as a trade.

I don’t know what they are going to do, but I would bank on something significant changing after last season’s inadequecy.

#4 — Who’s coming back? Do the Heat want to bring back Max Strus and Gabe Vincent on regular constracts? Would Strus be willing to do another two-way? Trevor Arize and Dewayne Dedmon were good additions, is Miami interested in continuing with that?

What about Goran? Seems it wouldn’t be wise to bring him back at that salary. Is Udonis finally finished? There are a lot of players that we don’t know what the direction is going to be. The Heat have a lot of flexibility with their free agents and team options and that was intentional.

Miami’s roster could look entirely different in a week...and maybe that’s OK.

COMMENT
What are your thoughts or predictions for free agency?