The creativity that general managers will have to come up with in order to fortify their squads in the coming seasons will be interesting to say the least.
One of those teams that will have to use some major financial gymnastics to stay competitive and finalize their objective to become a bonafide NBA title contender is the Miami Heat.
The Major Challenge
Pat Riley understands that Miami owner Mickey Arison, much like all other NBA owners felt the coronavirus crunch. Yet for Miami, that was a bit harder because of them having the second highest payroll in the NBA.
In addition to that, Arison is one of the owners that was most impacted as the cruise ship industry was completely decimated during the pandemic.
Arison was also rumored to be in the running to purchase Italian soccer club AS Roma, his priority was to find additional capital for Carnival Cruise Lines after he was forced to shutter the company in March.
During this period, Arison lost over $2.5 billion and has found ways to liquidate assets. Although retired from Carnival, he is still having to deal with the lawsuits that begin to mount up against the cruise industry giant. Quite a change of scenery in a short bit of time for one of the richest owners in the league.
As he’s tended to do throughout his career, Riley is looking anxiously at the free agency market and will be a major player during that time of year.
Pat Riley Going All In
Free Agency Conundrum
For Miami to get to the top of the NBA once again, they know that they would need potentially two high-profile pieces. There are rumors that have mentioned Indiana Pacers man Victor Oladipo looking to make his way to Downtown Miami. Yet the crown jewel of next summer’s free agency period has one name- Giannis Antetokounmpo.
All of this is easier said than done, as Miami find themselves tangled up in present contracts.
“The Heat have the second-highest payroll in the NBA this season with several key players such as Goran Dragic, Jae Crowder and Meyers Leonard headed for free agency,” indicates NBA expert Brian Windhorst.
The Bam Factor
One of the ways that the Heat are looking to save cap space next year is by not extending forward Bam Adebayo.
“While they expect to save cap room to chase free-agent stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2021 and might not extend young All-Star Bam Adebayo this year to help facilitate that plan, their spending for next year could be impacted by these financial factors,” Windhorst added.
Adebayo, 23, earned a spot in the All-Star Game this season and averaged 16.2 points, 10.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game. He’s broken out in a big way and benefited greatly from the arrival of Jimmy Butler.
The prospect of renewing Adebayo would be an interesting move as the player still has two years left on his rookie contract.
Right now the addition of a Giannis would have Miami once again have a “Big 3” and squad that could become a viable contender for the NBA title if they manage their resources properly.