This is a big offseason for the Miami Heat. With limited draft assets and numerous players hitting free agency, Miami has big questions to answer. Our Heat offseason 2021 preview looks at roster needs, potential trades and possible free agency acquisitions.
Heat offseason preview 2021
Losing Jae Crowder hurt more than expected. While the Victor Oladipo trade was low-risk, it went as badly as it could have done. Miami has disappointed this season. Reasons can be put forward for the struggles, but this is now a roster facing vast uncertainty beyond its two stars.
Here are three key issues for the Heat hierarchy to address this summer…
What’s Robinson’s magic number?
Duncan Robinson is an elite shooter. In fact, elite probably doesn’t do him justice. Joe Harris and Davis Bertans are just two examples of sharpshooters getting paid. Robinson is expected go well into the teens per year. Miami has a dilemma.
Robinson is key to their offense. His two-man game with Bam Adebayo is a staple. The shooting makes up for what Jimmy Butler and Adebayo don’t do. Robinson, though, is a liability on defense in the postseason despite improvements. How he’s relentlessly targeted when it matters most is a worry.
His value to the team is significant. How he’s viewed will change if he gets paid, though. The shooter who came from nowhere to start in the NBA Finals is cool. If he’s on a four-year, $60 million contract, the frustrations at his defense will ramp up. Splashing on a contract of that size means locking in a player for crunch time – is Robinson ready for that?
Which veterans should Miami re-sign?
Butler, Adebayo, KZ Okpala, Precious Achiuwa, and Tyler Herro are the only Miami players with guaranteed contracts for next season. Andre Iguodala and Goran Dragic will almost certainly see their player options turned down. Nemanja Bjelica and Trevor Ariza will have plenty of suitors.
There’s the peculiar Victor Oladipo situation, too. Oladipo is expected to get back on the hardwood next year. Miami could offer a cut-price deal and attempt to carry some cap space into 2022. With Butler already into his thirties, though, punting next season would be a bold decision, and a big bet on Butler avoiding decline for a couple more seasons.
Miami set their cap sheet up for this offseason. The stars have gradually re-signed. There are limited options to spend that cap space, but past decisions leave the Heat front office with a lot of tricky calls to make on their veterans.
Who makes sense in free agency?
Low-cost veteran acquisitions are about all Miami can do this summer. Let’s ignore the Kawhi Leonard rumors. If they pay Robinson, the Heat will be trying to find value pick ups to bring shooting and defense alongside Butler and Adebayo.
Otto Porter Jr could be a nice fit. Porter has been riddled by injuries in recent seasons, but after a massive contract that has been traded twice, he could be happy to take a lower salary on a contender. Putting Porter on the wing with Butler gives switchability and much-needed perimeter shooting.
This is generally a weak free agent class. Cap room is at a premium. Miami might look to stick on many of their veterans and run it back before making a splash in 2022. There are plenty of good options away from the big names, and some could be tempted on minimum deals.