Miami Heat Is ‘Premiere Destination’ for NBA’s 2021 Free Agents: B/R

Miami Heat

Getty Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat celebrates his basket with Goran Dragic #7 and Tyler Herro #14 against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on March 29, 2021 in New York City.

While it’s been a rollercoaster season for the Miami Heat, a team that has shown little consistency as the first for a top seed for the upcoming playoffs, they are unquestionably a franchise with the brightest future.

According to Bleacher Report‘s Greg Swartz, the Heat are ranked as the No. 2 team overall in the entire league that is “Best Positioned for 2021 NBA Free Agency,” just behind the New York Knicks.

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While Miami only has $28.1 million in max cap space, “the Heat effectively control their own cap space this offseason, a result of team options of [Goran] Dragic ($19.4 million) and Andre Iguodala ($15 million),” Swartz noted. “Assuming they turn both down initially (even if new deals are eventually signed), Miami should be one of the premier destinations for veteran free agents looking to win a title.”

While it’s unknown if the Heat will show up and dominate in the playoffs as they did in the bubble last season, with All-Stars Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler returning next year, as well as “Boy Wonder” Tyler Herro, and rookie Precious Achiuwa, Miami is undeniably “on an upward career trajectory,” Swartz reported:

Choosing not to give up any assets in a trade for Kyle Lowry at the deadline could certainly pay off if the Heat sign him outright this offseason, and players like DeMar DeRozan and John Collins would be premier targets as well.
 Miami has their own free agent to pay as well, with Duncan Robinson likely eyeing the four-year, $75 million deal fellow sharpshooter Joe Harris got from the Brooklyn Nets last year. Robinson is restricted, so the Heat could use their cap space first before finding or matching a new deal for the 27-year-old forward.

Miami Is Looking to Peak Just in Time for the Playoffs

Bam Adebayo Heat Celtics

GettyMiami Heat center Bam Adebayo is defended by Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics.

The Heat have the chance to lock up the sixth seed for the upcoming playoffs with a win on May 11 against the Boston Celtics at the TD Garden. In Miami comes out victorious on Tuesday, they skip over the much-despised play-in tournament.

Celtics’ head coach Brad Stevens admitted that he fears the Heat will once again find their rhythm when it matters most.

“You start with Adebayo and Butler,” said Stevens. “When you start thinking who could be off the bench for them in a playoff series, and how many different variations of ways they can play… if they peak and hit at the right time, which it looks like they will, both with their play and with their health, they’re going to be a real handful.”

“They’re as deep a team as there is in the East, with really good players,” Stevens continued. “They’re obviously exceptionally well-coached. They do a lot of good things.”

As for whether Stevens’ view of the Heat is tinged by last year’s playoff run, during which Miami defeated Boston during the Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics’ head coach brushes that off.

Brad Stevens

GettyHead coach Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics looks on during a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at TD Garden on April 27, 2021.

“We’re not even thinking about what the teams were like last year,” he said. “That feels like five years ago. Even being in the hotel room last night, from earlier in the year, when the game was cancelled, that felt like two seasons ago. And that has happened during the season for us. We’ve changed quite a bit.”

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