The Miami Heat appear to be sticking by their promise to clean house before next season, and considering 11 players from the 2020-21 season are entering free agency this summer, the front office didn’t really have much of a choice.
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At 6 p.m. ET on August 2, the following Heat players will become available in free agency: Duncan Robinson (restricted), Trevor Ariza, Victor Oladipo, Nemanja Bjelica, Dewayne Dedmon, Udonis Haslem, Andre Iguodala, Kendrick Nunn (restricted), Max Strus (restricted) and Gabe Vincent (restricted).
Technically speaking, there is a 12th member of the Heat’s roster also becoming a free agent. When Miami bypassed Iguodala’s team option ($15 million) on August 1, the team also declined the $1.5 million team option for developmental center Omer Yurtseven. While Yurtseven will stick with the Heat for summer league play, he is also going to be a free agent.
A Sign-and-Trade With Goran Dragic in Exchange for Raptors’ Kyle Lowry Seems Imminent
All signs around the league point to six-time All-Star Kyle Lowry, 35, landing in Miami this summer. By extending veteran Goran Dragic‘s team option ($19.4 million) on Sunday, the Heat are set to operate as a team above the 2021-22 salary cap when NBA free agency kicks off on Monday.
However, just because Miami picked up his team option does not mean Dragic will remain in South Beach next season. In fact, it appears to be quite the opposite. Bleacher Report noted on August 2 that word around the league is that other teams have taken Lowry off their target list because his move to South Beach appears imminent.
“It’s so indicative of a sign-and-trade incoming,” one Western Conference executive told Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer.
“Dragic appears likely to head to Toronto in such an agreement, which sources around the league expect to include Precious Achiuwa,” Fischer reported. “There is a belief among rival executives that both Dragic and Achiuwa could be rerouted elsewhere in subsequent trades.”
If the Heat offer Toronto Dragic and Precious Achiuwa ($2.7 million), Miami could sign Lowry and remain within NBA salary cap rules.
The Heat Will Likely Match Robinson’s Outside Offers, But Let Nunn Go
Miami extended $4.7 million qualifying offers to Robinson and Nunn, officially making them both restricted free agents, which means the Heat will have the opportunity to match any offer extended to either player from other teams.
If the Heat are able to obtain Lowry, then Miami only has the cap space to keep either Robsinson or Nunn, as bother are in line for a massive pay bump next season.
Robinson, 27, is expected to field offers in the $18 million price range, per The Athletic’s John Hollinger, and Miami is expected to match that price in order to retain their top three-point shooter.
As for Nunn, 25, he will be one of the guards available in free agency if the Heat don’t match his outside offers. He’s expected to get a contract in the $11 million range.