The Free Agency Profile for the Miami Heat
*Photo via USA Today
Miami HEAT (37-45) – 10th Eastern Conference
The 2014-15 season for the Miami Heat was a roller coaster ride to say the least. After the departure of LeBron James, Miami re-signed Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, Mario Chalmers and Chris “Birdman” Anderson, while also bringing in, Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts, Shawne Williams and Danny Granger via free agency. Miami seemed poised to be a playoff team in the Eastern Conference until various injuries cooled the Heat during the season.
Miami Heat President, Pat Riley, made some incredible offseason moves including, signing a potential long term answer at center in Hassan Whiteside. Riley also made a huge move minutes before the trade deadline to acquire All-NBA Point Guard, Goran Dragic in a deal that saw Miami lose fan favorite Norris Cole, Granger, Williams, Justin Hamilton and future first-round picks. Miami now legitimately had a chance to make noise, but it wouldn’t last long, as just a couple days later, All-Star Power Forward, Chris Bosh was diagnosed with blood clots and would miss the remainder of the season. Miami would only get 17 games from McRoberts while Wade, Anderson and Whiteside all dealt with injuries throughout the season which helped facilitate Miami’s disappointing fall from a 2013-14 NBA Finals participant to a 2014-15 lottery team.
Cap Space: None (subject to change) Miami can use exceptions to sign players (BAE - MLE - Minimum)
SG Dwyane Wade (Player Option - $16,125,000)
The originator of the #HEATLifer movement, D-Wade is the single most important Miami Heat player in their history. There were early reports that Wade would opt in, but as we come closer to free agency, it looks like Wade will become a free agent (he has until June 29th to opt in). Dwyane Wade is the face of the Miami Heat and is the most revered athlete in Miami. They cannot let him leave. With both sides having valid arguments on the negotiation front, there may be an ugly breakup on the horizon. However, it’s hard to see Miami letting Wade walk.
PG Goran Dragic (Declined Player Option – UFA)
After trading players and picks for the Dragon, Miami must resign him this offseason. Miami has Dragic’s Bird Rights and can therefore offer him an extra year with more dollars. Reports have suggested that Miami will offer Dragic a five-year deal in the range of $80-100 million, a significant raise from the $7.5 million he was slated to earn if he had opted in. Expect Dragic to be wearing number seven for Miami for the foreseeable future.
SF Luol Deng (Player Option - $10,151,612)
Reports have suggested that Miami wants Deng to exercise his player option. With the addition of Justise Winslow in the NBA Draft, Deng’s mind could shift to either side of the pendulum. In all likelihood, Winslow is Deng’s long term replacement at small forward. Ideally, Deng would return as the starter while mentoring fellow Duke Blue Devil Winslow, and easing his transition into the NBA. The flipside is that Deng could also see that he probably won’t be in Miami after next season and may look to opt out and find a more secure situation. When it’s all said and done, I see Deng exercising his $10 million player option as Miami seems poised to contend in the Eastern Conference this upcoming season.
SF/PF Michael Beasley (Team Option - $1,270,964)
Miami brought B-Easy (Michael Beasley) back for this third stint in Miami this past season after Bosh was sidelined. With the addition of Winslow ,Miami may not bring back Beasley and have until June 29th to decide whether to exercise his team option.
Non-Guaranteed Contracts: The following players could be cut throughout the season to free cap space if the Heat choose to do so.
SF Henry Walker - $1,100,602
C Hassan Whiteside - $981,348
SF James Ennis - $845,059
PG/SG Tyler Johnson - $845,059
Depth – Injuries killed Miami this season. Adding depth will help them sustain quality play if injuries rear their ugly head this upcoming season.
Young/energy big – Birdman plays with such high energy that he cannot play more than 15-20 minutes per game at the age of 37. A younger big man who plays with similar energy will allow Miami to play uptempo for longer stretches.
Three-point shooting – Spacing, spacing, spacing. The four teams that battled in the Conference Finals were all in the top seven in regular season effective field goal percentage and were also top eight in true shooting percentage. Not a coincidence.
Possible Targets: Addition of free agents is not likely if Miami is able to keep their roster from last season together. Majority of the roster spots are taken, and addition of potential free agents will push Miami over the tax threshold. Owner Micky Arison, may not approve of repeater luxury tax.
PF Thomas Robinson – Robinson has been with four different NBA franchises in just three years and Miami could be the fifth. Robinson is an undersized four-man who plays with high energy who can be an undersized Chris Anderson. He would be a great spot minute option off the bench.
SF Dorell Wright – Wright was drafted by Miami in 2004 and is still close with Dwyane Wade. Wright would provide Miami with depth and three-point shooting. As a career 36.5 percent three-point shooter, Wright could help Miami space the floor.
SG/PG Monta Ellis – If Wade and Deng decide to move on from Miami, a possible replacement at two-guard could be Ellis, who just opted out of $8.7 million from Dallas. Miami would likely need to have more than $10 million available in cap space in order to bring Ellis to South Beach. A possibility, but not likely.