With the Miami Heat‘s final preseason game on Friday night, it’s time for head coach Erik Spoelstra to officially whittle down the 20-person roster to fit the NBA’s guidelines for the 2021-22 regular season.
The Heat have 14 players under standard contracts, and the league allows each franchise to have 15 players on their roster. However, Miami will likely enter the regular season with an NBA minimum of 14 players in order to avoid the ominous luxury tax.
Because the Heat’s two-way players Caleb Martin and Marcus Garrett do not count toward the regular-season roster limit, Spoelstra will have to cut four players.
The latest Heat news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Heat newsletter here!
Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman tweeted on October 15, “Spoelstra reiterates that players to be cut by the Heat (as soon as postgame) are merely transitioning to Sioux Falls in G League, speaks of it as a pipeline.”
Spoelstra waived four undrafted rookies that were signed to Exhibit 10 contracts during the preseason:
“The Heat can seed players ticketed for their G League affiliates with guarantees up to $50,000,” Winderman reported, and those four players received such deals. Smart, Potter, Stewart, and Smith will be funneled into the Heat’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce in South Dakota, where they will be able to get snatched up by any NBA team.
Miami Heat opens their regular season with a matchup against the defending NBA champions, the Milwaukee Bucks, on October 21 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Miami Heat’s Predicted Starting Lineup for the 2021-22 NBA Season
After a flurry of exciting offseason moves, the Heat’s starting lineup will look decidedly different than last year. It’s largely predicted the following mix of veteran stars and new player additions will make up the Heat’s starting five: Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson, and P.J. Tucker.
However, if those are the starting five, which is quite an impressive lineup, the next three players to come off the bench will likely be Tyler Herro, Markieff Morris, and Dewayne Dedmon. It’s not yet clear how Spoelstra will utilize Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, Omer Yurtseven, and KZ Okpala.
Veteran Udonis Haslem will remain the team’s captain, but similar to last season, he will be used sparingly on the court.
The Return of Victor Oladipo Could Shake Up the Starting 5
It’s easy to forget about Victor Oladipo, considering the 29-year-old guard only appeared in four games before suffering a season-ending injury last season, but his return to full health could absolutely shake up the Heat’s starting lineup.
Miami took a gamble resigning Oladipo, who requires ample time to rehab his second quadriceps injury before he’s back on the court. Despite not being expected to play until 2022, Miami signed the guard to a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract, per Sports Illustrated.
On August 20, however, Dr. Jonathon Glashow, who performed Oladipo’s season-ending surgery, revealed Miami’s gamble on the two-time All-Star was not in vain and that Oladipo is expected to be back in action before the new year. As it stands, only time will tell how quickly Oladipo can get back in the game.
READ NEXT: Heat Urged to Make ‘Last Minute’ Trade to Sign Spurs’ Forward: B/R