The Miami Heat are in the midst of a free agency frenzy this week, locking down a total of 12 players for the 2021-22 NBA season, but the team’s work is not done. As many have noted, the Heat still lack height.
As luck would have it, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news on Wednesday that LaMarcus Aldridge is considering coming out of retirement. The 6-foot-11 forward abruptly retired due to complications of an irregular heartbeat in mid-April, “but he now is exploring the possibility of resuming his 15-year NBA career,” Woj reported.
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If Aldridge decides to make a comeback, Miami would have to seriously consider making an offer to the seven-time All-Star, especially since the front office appears dead set on obtaining nearly every player they narrowly missed out on at the trade deadline.
On Monday, Miami finally landed Kyle Lowry from the Toronto Raptors and obtained P.J. Tucker from the Milwaukee Bucks — two players for whom the Heat were heavy favorites to sign on March 25. Miami was also considered frontrunners to acquire Aldridge but ultimately lost out to the Brooklyn Nets.
Aldridge’s subsequent early retirement was an unexpected and heartbreaking development. If he is physically cleared to return to the court, that in and of itself is worthy of a celebration.
Wojnarowski noted, “Aldridge is expected to have conversations with prospective teams in the coming weeks, sources said, and still ultimately needs an individual organization’s medical clearance to sign a contract.”
As for the Heat, picking up a healthy Aldridge would add another big man to their frontcourt rotation. As it stands, the only two centers Miami have are Bam Adebayo and DeWayne Dedmon.
Aldridge Spoke Out on Why He Chose the Nets Over the Heat
All the stars were aligned for Miami to pick up Aldridge after the San Antonio Spurs bought out his contract, so it came as a huge surprise when the veteran chose to sign with the Brooklyn Nets.
As for why Aldridge chose the Nets over the Heat, Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson tweeted that he “asked Aldridge associate what changed his mind from original expectation that he would sign with Heat, which was expected by the Heat. He said was convinced to join Brooklyn because they are in good position to compete for a championship. Heat recent losing streak didn’t help.”
It’s hard to argue with a man wanting to play alongside superstars James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving. However, now that the Heat have Lowry, Tucker, Butler, and Adebayo — Aldridge might be swayed to take his talents to South Beach.
The Heat Have Cap Space to Sign Aldridge to More Than a Veteran’s Minimum
Following the flurry of signings this past week, the Heat have roughly “$8.1 million to fill out the roster before reaching the hard-cap threshold unless other trades are completed to create additional room,” Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang reported on Wednesday.
When Aldridge signed with Brooklyn last season, he took a one-year veteran’s minimum contract. If he’s willing to sign something similar with the Heat, it would be a done deal. If Aldridge is looking for more money, Miami could squeeze something out.
“The Heat does have enough room to offer an outside free agent the $3.7 million bi-annual exception and fill out the remaining two spots with veteran minimum deals to get to the NBA regular-season maximum of 15 players,” Chiang reported. “That scenario would leave Miami about $1 million under the hard cap.
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