It’s safe to say that we are deep in the dog days of the NBA offseason — except, this time, it’s arrived before the transaction flurry really picked up steam.
The NBA stratosphere has very patiently awaited the future destinations of Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell and Kyrie Irving prior to the 2022-23 season, whether it’s with their current team or otherwise.
Unsurprisingly, Pat Riley and the Miami Heat braintrust have been deep in the thick of the rumor mill for the three aforementioned players — creating a lack of transactional activity within the franchise. So far, the Heat re-signed Victor Oladipo to a two-year deal, Dewayne Dedmon to a two-year deal and Caleb Martin to a three-year deal in what was its biggest contract given in terms of total value.
The Heat also drafted Nikola Jovic with the No. 27 pick in the draft, as well as adding a pair of new two-way players: Marcus Garrett, who earned a two-way with Miami for the second straight offseason, and Darius Days, an undrafted forwatd the Heat plucked from the Spurs organization at the end of Summer League. It’s a relatively minor shift, but it’s worth mentioning with the Heat’s famed history of fostering and developing undrafted talent.
Conversely, Miami lost valued forward P.J. Tucker — who signed with the Philadelphia 76ers to a three-year, $33 million deal with their full mid-level exception. Miami couldn’t match that if it wanted to remain under the hard-cap; instead, the Heat were speculated to have offered a three-year, $27 million deal — the most they could’ve offered since it didn’t own his bird rights.
In summary: Miami lost Tucker but re-signed three players, drafted a point-forward and added a pair of new two-way talents. Not the most eventful, but not the least either!
Miami, who finished atop the Eastern Conference at 53-29 and was a mere game (or shot, depending on how you look at it) from its second NBA Finals berth in three seasons, still possess the seventh-best championship odds at +1200, according to DraftKings. They sit behind the Los Angeles Lakers, whose odds are potentially indicative of it being healthy, more cohesive and potentially landing Irving after their tulmultuous flame out that spurred (no pun intended) them missing the play-in tournament.
They are also behind the Phoenix Suns (re-signed Ayton), Milwaukee Bucks, reigning-champion Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers (who plan to have a healthy Paul George/Kawhi Leonard) and Boston Celtics (added Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari).
Let’s look at where their championship odds currently stand:
DraftKings Championship Odds 2022 (Thru 7/26)
|Los Angeles Clippers||+600|
|Golden State Warriors||+600|
|Los Angeles Lakers||+1100|
Additionally, according to DK, the Heat have the third-best odds to win the Eastern Conference at +550 behind Boston and Milwaukee. Their win-total figure has yet to be released, but it might be set at around 50-51.5 with Philadelphia’s at 49.5 and Milwaukee’s at 52.5.
Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler both missed at least 25 games, while Kyle Lowry missed 19 and took multiple leaves of absences due to personal reasons — so 50 isn’t an unattainable number to achieve if all are healthy, even without Tucker — who was invaluable to their success.
Should the roster stay the same, however, it would need steady improvement and production elsewhere from Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson — who was out of the rotation at season’s end — Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, Caleb Martin, Haywood Highsmith, Omer Yurtseven and Victor Oladipo, who’s in his first fully healthy offseason since entering the 2018-19 season.
With a year of film for the other 29 teams to adjust to, that’s a potentially tall task to ask. We’ve seen teams do it before. Miami must adjust to the adjustments — the should-be organization-wide approach for the 2022-23 squad.