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2022 NBA Offseason Preview: Miami Heat

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After a quick exit from the playoffs in the first round in 2021, the Heat brought in a handful of tough players with championship experience, completing a sign-and-trade deal for Kyle Lowryusing most of your mid-level exception in PJ Tuckerand signature Markieff Morris to a minimum wage contract. At the same time, Miami bet on young players like gabe vincent Y Max Strus be ready for bigger roles after spending the 2020/21 season on two-way deals with the team.

While not all of the Heat’s offseason moves paid big dividends (a neck injury cost Morris most of the season and he didn’t make the playoff rotation), the club’s strategy was good overall. . Lowry, Tucker, Vincent and Strus played key roles to complement the All-Stars. jimmy butler Y Bam Adebayo and Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herrowhile other young people like Caleb Martin Y Omer Yurtseven they proved their worth on minimum wage contracts.

Miami’s deep, well-balanced team earned the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 53-29 regular-season record, then won a pair of playoff series over Atlanta and Philadelphia. Unfortunately, when the Eastern Conference Finals began, the Heat’s roster was incredibly banged up, with Lowry in particular limited due to a hamstring injury that sidelined him for eight playoff games. The club didn’t have enough left in the tank to get past the Celtics, losing to Boston in a seven-game battle that went down to the wire.

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While the Heat didn’t pull off a title, it could be argued that their roster was championship-caliber, or at least very close to it. If a couple of plays had been a little different, it might have been Miami and not Boston that represented the East in the NBA Finals. The front office’s task this offseason will be to determine the best way to keep the Heat at that championship level and then find the missing piece that could help them come out on top.


The Heat’s offseason plan:

The Heat have five players on guaranteed contracts for 2022/23. Of those players, it’s safe to assume Butler and Adebayo aren’t going anywhere. That is less safe for Lowry, Herro and robinson duncan.

Lowry has always been a player whose value goes beyond his scoring numbers. He’s a talented defender who has a knack for taking charge, and his offensive creativity helps him generate baskets that don’t get him credited for points or an assist. However, he turned 36 this year, his brilliant analytical numbers have begun to wane and his hamstring issues made him a below-average rotation player in many of the Heat’s biggest games this spring.

Under his contract (two years, $58 million), Lowry may have negative trading value at this point, which means the Heat will likely hold on to him as he’s still capable of providing more value on the court. which would make it as a business asset. However, if Miami gets a chance to acquire a younger star on the perimeter and has to use Lowry to match salaries, I can’t imagine they’d hesitate to do so.

Robinson appears to be a more likely trade chip in the offseason, as his 2022/23 salary cap number ($16.9MM) is more manageable than Lowry’s. As a high-volume 3-point shooter who has connected on 40.6% of his career attempts from beyond the arc, Robinson is a solid role player, especially during the regular season. But his defensive limitations were a problem in the playoffs, as he provided little value on the floor when his shot didn’t fall regularly.

If the Heat use Robinson in an offseason trade, they would need to include at least one additional asset in the package to have a chance of acquiring an impact player. That asset is most likely a draft pick. Miami has the ability to move its 2022 first-round pick (27th overall) and/or its 2023 first-round pick, as well as at least one future first-round pick (no sooner than 2027). One or two of those picks might be enough to sweeten the deal for most of the team’s realistic offseason trade goals.

While the Heat will likely offer those first-round picks before making any of their young, inexpensive rotation players available, it’s worth noting that Herro will enter a one-year contract and be eligible for an extension this offseason. . He was fantastic during the regular season, but struggled in the playoffs, where his scoring average dropped by eight points (20.7 to 12.6 PPG) and he made just 22.9% of his 3-pointers. .

That playoff performance, and the fact that Herro still has plenty of room to improve on defense, could give the Heat pause as they enter negotiations on a rookie-scale extension that could be worth more than $100 million over four years. . Pat Riley He’s long resisted the idea of ​​trading Herro and I wouldn’t expect an abrupt change in that stance this summer, but if the right player is available on the trade market, I don’t think Herro should be completely off limits: it’s possible that moving him now instead of investing heavily in his next contract will benefit Miami in the long run.

One or more of the four Heat players on non-guaranteed contracts: Strus, Vincent, Yurtseven and Haywood Blacksmith – In theory, it could be added to a commercial package, but I hope that all four will return. Strus and Vincent, in particular, are two of the Heat’s most recent developmental success stories and will be big bargains next season, helping offset the cost of high-priced veterans like Butler, Adebayo and Lowry.

After handling the power forward role admirably in his first year in Miami, Tucker has the opportunity to opt out of his contract and become a new free agent. He and the Heat seemed to be a good fit in 2021/22, so you wouldn’t expect Tucker to turn down his player option to jump ship, but turning down the option and signing a new one-plus-one deal (potentially with a slight raise) would probably be the best for him. As good as Tucker was last season, he’s 37 years old and could start showing real signs of decline soon, so this may be his last chance to sign for more than the minimum.

If the Heat re-sign Tucker at a price similar to his option and keep their first-round pick, they’d still have about $13 million in breathing room below the luxury tax line to fill three or four spots. remaining on the list.

Victor Oladipo and Martin are candidates to return and fill a couple of those roster spots, but negotiating a new deal with Martin could be tricky, as Miami only has his Non-Bird rights. That means the Heat couldn’t offer him more than $2.25 million for the 2022/23 season unless they’re willing to take advantage of the midlevel exception to increase their offer. Miami may decide that using part of the midlevel exception to re-sign Martin is the best way to maximize the value of the MLE, but if the team has that midlevel money earmarked for an outside goal, it’s unlikely to Martin come back.

Since the Heat have the Bird rights to Oladipo, they have more flexibility to offer him a raise. Whether or not he returns will come down to how much interest he gets from rival suitors and perhaps how willing Miami is to pay the tax, depending on what other moves are made.


Salary Cap Status

Note: Our salary cap figures are based on the latest league projection ($122 million) for 2022/23.

Guaranteed Salary

  • jimmy butler ($37,653,300)
  • Bam Adebayo ($30,351,780)
  • Kyle Lowry ($28,333,334)
  • robinson duncan ($16,902,000)
  • Tyler Herro ($5,722,116)
  • Michael Mulder (bidirectional)
  • Smart Javonte (bidirectional)
  • Total: $118,962,530

player options

team options

salary not guaranteed

  • Max Strus ($1,815,677) 1
  • gabe vincent ($1,815,677) two
  • Omer Yurtseven ($1,752,638) 3
  • Haywood Blacksmith ($1,752,638) 4
  • Total: $7,136,630

Restricted free agents

Two-way free agents

draft picks

  • No. 27 overall pick ($2,209,920)
  • Total: $2,209,920

Players Eligible for Extension

Note: These are players who are already eligible for an extension or will be eligible before the 2022/23 season begins.

  • Tyler Herro (rookie scale)

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Capitalization Withholdings

  • Dewayne Demon ($1,811,516 limit retention): Early Bird rights
  • Udonis-Haslem ($1,811,516 retention limit): bird rights
  • mickey jordan ($1,811,516 cap withholding): Non-bird rights 5
  • Markieff Morris ($1,811,516 cap withholding): Non-bird rights
  • Victor Oladipo ($1,811,516 retention limit): bird rights
  • Dwyane Wade ($1,811,516 limit retention): Early Bird rights 5
  • Total: $10,869,096

Off-Season Cap Perspective

If we assume the Heat will retain all of their players on non-guaranteed contracts, they’d be at around $126 million for nine players, so they’ll certainly be operating over the cap. That would leave them with about $23 million in wiggle room below the projected tax line ($149 million) for the remaining five or six spots on the list.

If Tucker and/or Oladipo return and the Heat use a significant chunk of their midlevel exception, that wiggle room would quickly disappear, but the club certainly has the flexibility to stay out of the tax if that’s a priority.

Limit Exceptions Available

  • Medium level exception: $10,349,000 6
  • Semiannual exception: $4,050,000 6
  • Trade Exception: $1,782,621

Footnotes

  1. Strus’ salary will be fully guaranteed after June 29.
  2. Vincent’s salary will be fully guaranteed after June 29.
  3. Yurtseven’s salary will be fully guaranteed after June 29.
  4. Highsmith’s salary will be partially guaranteed at $50,000 on July 1, and that partial guarantee will increase to $400,000 after the first game of the regular season.
  5. The cap for Mickey and Wade remains on the Heat’s books from previous seasons because they haven’t been waived. They cannot be used in a sign-and-trade deal.
  6. These are projected values. If the Heat approach or cross the tax line, they may not have access to the full mid-tier exception and/or the biannual exception and would instead be limited to the taxpayer mid-tier exception ($6,392,000).

Salary and cap information from Basketball Insiders and RealGM was used in the creation of this post.

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