After coming within two games of winning the NBA title last season, the Miami Heat are facing a tragic first-round sweep by the Milwaukee Bucks. While Game 1 was a nail-biter overtime loss, the Heat were throttled 132-98 by the Bucks in Game 2, and suffered an embarrassing 113-84 loss in Game 3.
As a franchise, the Heat haven’t been swept in the first round of the playoffs since 2007. After being eliminated by the Chicago Bulls, Miami’s team president Pat Riley didn’t waste any time cleaning house. The Heat quickly said goodbye to James Posey, Gary Payton, Michael Doleac, Jason Kapono, Shaquille O’Neal, and Antoine Walker.
If the Heat lose Game 4 at home on May 29, Riley will not hesitate to restructure as soon as possible, especially since much of the Heat’s current roster will become free agents this summer.
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The following players are without job security in South Beach: Victor Oladipo, Duncan Robinson, Trevor Ariza, Max Strus, Kendrick Nunn, Andre Iguodala, Nemanja Bjelica, Gabe Vincent, Goran Dragic, Udonis Haslem, and Dewayne Dedmon.
Even if the Heat are able to avoid a full sweep, fans should expect to say goodbye to numerous players in free agency. As Sun Senintel‘s Ira Winderman reported on Friday, “History shows that Pat Riley rarely practices prudence when it comes to playoff pain.”
No NBA team has ever come back from an 0-3 deficit to win a series, so a victory on Saturday won’t provide much hope. While Oladipo wasn’t able to provide the All-Star boost Riley was looking for, the Heat already have their eyes on numerous big names to sign this summer.
Bleacher Report Suggests that Miami Pursues Lakers’ Talen Horton-Tucker
While numerous reports have Miami making a final push to finally add Lowry to their roster, Bleacher Report‘s Grant Hughes believes the No.1 player for the Heat to target is restricted free agent Talen Horton-Tucker.
Why should the Heat try to snatch Tucker from the Los Angeles Lakers? Because “in the spirit of Miami’s ambitious free-agency past, this is a plea for it to go big with an offer sheet for Talen Horton-Tucker, a wing with combo-guard skills who just feels like a ‘Heat Culture’ guy,” Hughes wrote.
“THT could replace [Goran] Dragic’s minutes if the veteran guard doesn’t return while also adding much more two-way reliability in the backcourt—in case Herro’s mildly disappointing second season is an indication he’s not the budding star he appeared to be in 2019-20.”
In order to make salary space for Tucker, the Heat would have to decline the team options for Andre Iguodala and Dragic. But if Miami lets both Nunn and Robinson go in free agency, there will be more than enough cap space freed up.
“If the prospect of [Bam] Adebayo, [Jimmy] Butler and THT strangling the life out of opposing offenses doesn’t excite you, maybe check for a pulse,” Hughes wrote.