We are now less than 72 hours until NBA Free Agency!
The Miami Heat will, once again, have questions to answer and decisions to ponder with five players with fully-guaranteed contracts on their roster: Jimmy Butler ($37.7M), Bam Adebayo ($30.4M), Kyle Lowry ($28.3M), Duncan Robinson ($16.9M) and Tyler Herro ($5.7M).
Max Strus and Gabe Vincent — who turned into regular rotation cogs — as well as Omer Yurtseven and Haywood Highsmith are all on non-guaranteed contracts for the minimum. Two-way players Mychal Mulder and Ja’Vonte Smart will also have team options for the 2022-23 season.
Among those that concluded the 2021-22 season on the roster, the Heat have six unrestricted free agents. Miami has access to the non-taxpayer’s mid-level exception ($10.3M), bi-annual exception ($4.0) and a trivial $1.8 million trade exception.
Now let’s project if Miami’s free agents stay or go:
Center | 7’0” | 245 lbs. | Age: 32
2021-22 stats with Heat (67 games): 6.3 PPG | 5.8 RPG | 56.6 FG% | 40.4 3P% | 75.0 FT% | 63.2 TS% | 15.9 PER
Skinny: The strain of playing 67 games — his most since 2018-19 after combining for 64 in the two seasons prior — plus suffering a midseason knee injury limited Dedmon’s effectiveness last season. Dedmon was still one of Miami’s top offensive rebounders and had one of the best shooting seasons of his career as Miami’s top big behind Bam Adebayo. But his scoring, efficiency, rebounding and turnover rate were all worse on a per-possession basis in more than five times the minutes than he did with the Heat in 2020-21.
Verdict: Signs elsewhere.
Forward | 6’8” | 235 lbs. | Age: 42
2021-22 stats with Heat (13 games): 2.5 PPG | 1.9 RPG | 45.2 FG% | 49.5 TS%
Verdict: Re-signs on minimum.
Wing | 6’5” | 205 lbs. | Age: 26
2021-22 stats with Heat (60 games): 9.2 PPG | 3.8 RPG | 50.7 FG% | 41.3 3P% | 76.3 FT% | 61.1 TS% | 14.8 PER
Skinny: After signing a two-way contract last Aug., Martin played his way to standard contract and was one of Miami’s top spark plugs off the bench. He said that he wanted to return in his exit interviews, praising #HEATCulture™. As an restricted free agent, perhaps the only to pry him away would be a team offering more than the tax-payer mid-level exception (~$6.4M), which would trigger the hard-cap for the Heat if they matched. Otherwise, the Heat could give him a slight pay-raise just above $2 million.
Verdict: Attempt to re-sign, though wouldn’t be surprised if poached away
Forward | 6’9” | 245 lbs. | Age: 32
2021-22 stats with Heat (17 games): 7.6 PPG | 2.6 RPG | 47.4 FG% | 33.3 3P% | 88.9 FT% | 54.7 TS% | 10.9 PER
Skinny: As a result of the Nikola Jokic scuffle in Nov., Morris was limited to 17 games with an inconsistent role in the rotation. Miami drafted Nikola Jovic, all but signifying that they might be looking elsewhere at the back-up 4 spot next season, should P.J. Tucker return. Morris was effective in the mid-post and held up in Miami’s switch-heavy scheme, but I don’t see the Heat eating into its NTMLE/BAE by giving him more than the $3.2M he’s eligible for if they chose to re-sign him.
Verdict: Signs elsewhere.
Guard | 6’4” | 215 lbs. | Age: 30
2021-22 stats with Heat (8 games): 12.4 PPG | 2.9 RPG | 3.5 APG | 47.9 FG% | 41.7 3P% | 73.7 FT% | 60.8 TS% | 16.8 PER
Skinny: Including the postseason, Oladipo has played only 27 games with the Heat since he was acquired at the deadline in March of 2021. Though he wasn’t very efficient shooting-wise, he was one of Miami’s most effective point-of-attack defenders during the postseason. He gave them an additional ball-handler and spark plug when they needed it — which, by the end, was a great deal of time. The Heat own Oladipo’s bird rights, so they’re able to pay him whatever while over the cap provided they’re not hard-capped. This is Oladipo’s first healthy offseason in nearly a half-decade decade and both sides seem open to a reunion.
Verdict: Oladipo re-signs for $10-15 million per year
Forward | 6’5” | 245 lbs. | Age: 37
2021-22 stats with Heat (71 games): 7.6 PPG | 5.5 RPG | 2.1 APG | 0.8 SPG | 48.4 FG% | 41.5 3P% | 73.8 | 59.3 TS% | 11.3 PER
Skinny: While the raw statistics say otherwise, Tucker was one of their most important players last season. He provided defensive value — on- and off-the-ball — as well as value in the mid- and high-playmaker and as a corner spacer. Tucker opted out of his $7.4 million player option last week; Miami can able to sign him for three-years and approximately $27 million, marginally lower than the reported three-for-$30 the Sixers will offer him. While Miami might not want to go that steep in its offer, both sides have expressed interest to re-unite; Philadelphia would also have forego salary elsewhere in order to sign Tucker for that aforementioned amount, too. I don’t think we’ve seen the final of Tucker-Heat.
Verdict: Tucker re-signs
for life like he should on a multi-year deal
Who do you think stays and goes? Comment below!