There was a time when the 4th of July weekend had the Miami Heat in scramble mode.
That, in particular, was the case in 2016, when the Heat called off free-agent negotiations with Dwyane Wade once Kevin Durant announced on July 4 that he was leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder, sending Pat Riley and Micky Arison to pack to make your presentation. to the striker who has since traveled in the New York Hamptons.
Then there’s the holiday weekend like this year, with crickets from the Heat and most of the league, as Durant again debates destinations, having requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets.
Since the opening day of NBA free agency on Thursday, when the Heat lost PJ Tucker to the Philadelphia 76ers and re-signed Victor Oladipo and Dewayne Dedmon, the holding pattern has been consistent.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t work to be done, even as the team advances after Tuesday’s California Classic summer league final in San Francisco to the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
For the Heat, several elements remain in play and need to be addressed:
Caleb Martin: The Heat have a $2.1 million qualifying offer that makes Martin a restricted free agent and allows them to match outside offers to the feisty forward.
However, there are limitations.
Because the Heat are over the salary cap and have no Bird Rights on Martin, they can’t match outside offers above the mid-level exception of $10.5 million as a starting point for a contract in 2022-23.
Even then, the Heat aren’t likely to break the $6.5 million taxpayers’ midlevel exception, as any starting salary above that figure would trigger a hard salary cap. Also, extending a $6.5 million salary to Martin would likely preclude adding an outside free agent above the minimum.
Martin’s twin brother, Cody Martin, who had similar stats to Caleb last season, recently signed a four-year, $32 million deal to stay with the Charlotte Hornets.
Markieff Morris: With Tucker lost to the 76ers, Morris could potentially return on another veteran-minimum contract.
But after missing 58 games due to whiplash following his Nov. 8 fight with Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, the veteran forward who turns 33 in September never quite got back the midrange game he initially had. made so effective at the beginning of the season.
Morris ended up playing just three minutes in the Heat’s 18 playoff games.
Udonis Haslem: Haslem, 42, is the Heat’s other remaining free agent from the 2021-22 roster, having played just 82 minutes during the regular season, none in the playoffs.
The Heat recently sent a team staff member to Haslem’s vacation home in Orlando to invite him to return for a 20th season with the team. He has been under the NBA minimum salary scale for each of the last five years.
Medium level exception: As mentioned with Martin, the Heat, who are operating above the 2022-23 NBA salary cap of $123.7 million but below the luxury tax line of $150.3 million, can use the exception. $10.5 million mid-level complete in a free agent (or free agents) or $6.5 million mid-level contributor.
Using anything above the $6.5 million mid level triggers a $157 million hard cap.
Among the reasons the Heat lost Tucker to the 76ers was the decision not to move to a hard cap position.
Semiannual exception: This is a $4.1 million exception that can be used on one or more free agents, but cannot be used in consecutive years.
Like the mid-tier full exception, utilizing the bi-annual puts a team in a hard-line position.
The Heat have the semi-annual available, but would probably only use it if they also use the full $10.5 million mid-tier and agree to operate under a hard cap.
List limit: Teams can carry up to 15 players under standard contracts during the regular season, as well as two players under two-way contracts, with those two players limited to 50 regular season appearances.
The Heat currently have 12 players under standard contract: Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Dedmon, Haywood Highsmith, Tyler Herro, Nikola Jovic, Kyle Lowry, Oladipo, Duncan Robinson, Max Strus, Gabe Vincent and Omer Yurtseven.
That leaves three additional roster spots up for grabs.
Javonte Smart and Mychal Mulder currently have a 2022-23 two-way deal with the Heat.