After getting swept by the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the NBA playoffs, Miami Heat are laser-focused on how to successfully rebuild for next season.
According to Bleacher Report‘s Eric Pincus, the Heat are already frontrunners to land seven of the Top 20 players set to become free agents this summer. Considering the Heat have no picks in this year’s NBA Draft, free agency is their only path to pull of a meaningful restructure.
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Pincus linked the Heat to the following pending free agents and/or players with upcoming contract opt-ins:
Indiana Pacers’ TJ McConnell
Los Angeles Lakers’ Alex Caruso
Los Angeles Lakers Dennis Schroder
Brooklyn Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie
Dallas Mavericks’ Tim Hardaway Jr.
Miami Heat’s Duncan Robinson
Utah Jazz’s Mike Conley
Utah Jazz’s Chris Paul
Toronto Raptors’ Kyle Lowry
Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard
While obtaining Leonard is an obvious long shot, Lowry has been linked to the Heat since March, and reports of Miami being a possible new home for Hardawy Jr. started swirling in May. Overall, many of these free agents, such as 11-time All-Star Chris Paul, are linked to Miami because they’re one of the few franchises with cap space to take on these players’ high salaries.
Heat’s Duncan Robinson Said He’d ‘Love’ to Stay in Miami
On the most recent episode of Duncan Robinson’s The Long Shot podcast, he discussed his possible return to Miami, shutting down a few rumors he saw swirling online.
“I want to get out in front of [co-host Reid] Davis somehow alluding to me maybe not being in Miami moving forward,” Robinson said. “That’s not at all what that was… Somebody on our social media posted that — quote, unquote — we’re back, basically,” he continued, “and there were a lot of people in the comments somehow putting together that that meant that I was coming back to Miami. Which, for the record, I would love to do.”
Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman succinctly surmised why there’s so much interest in Robinson’s future in Miami, as there are numerous ways in which he could be resigned or signed to another franchise:
The Heat have the right to make him a restricted free agent by extending a $4.7 million qualifying offer by Aug. 2. That, in turn, would allow the Heat to match any outside offer. But the Heat also could bypass the qualifying offer to maximize their cap space and then cycle back to Robinson with an understanding that he would return.
Pat Riley Discussed Adding a Third Big Name for Next Season
With Victor Oladipo‘s future still up in the air, and possibly up to $34 million in additional cap space if they release both Goran Dragic and Andre Iguodala, the Heat are capable of making a blockbuster move this offseason.
“We’ll see,” Heat President Pat Riley said during his annual postseason media conference on June 3, as reported by Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson. “The market will determine a lot of that as we move forward. I like the nucleus of our team. We have a great core with Jimmy [Butler] and Bam [Adebayo]; regardless of how they performed in the playoffs, we didn’t make a mistake on those guys.”
“I have a pretty good idea of what we have and where we are headed,” Riley said, “Despite the result of the Milwaukee series, which was bad… We are ready to move forward.”
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