Heat ‘Plan’ to Tap Nigeria Star as Kyle Lowry’s Backup, Insider Says

Kyle Lowry, Gabe Vincent

Getty Miami Heat is looking at guard Gabe Vincent (R) to step up into the role of Kyle Lowry's backup for the 2021-22 NBA season, a new report reveals.

Miami Heat confirmed that veteran Udonis Haslem was returning for his 19th season on Sunday, solidifying their 14-player roster, as it’s highly unlikely Miami will sign another player.

NBA teams can have a maximum of 15 standard-contract players on their roster, but it’s acceptable to keep that number to 14 players. If the Heat are looking to remain under the NBA’s luxury tax, and all signs point to yes, they are unable to add an additional player.

While the Heat have a pretty stacked starting lineup following a flurry of free agency moves last week, the team still has a gaping hole in the roster, a solid backup point guard to fill in for Kyle Lowry.

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Lowry is undoubtedly the most exciting addition to the Heat’s roster, as he’s one of the top point guards in the entire league. Last season, Lowry averaged 17.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game. The main concern is Lowry’s age. The six-time All-Star is 35 and will likely need to take more breaks than a typical starting point guard.

Instead of signing a new player and going over the luxury tax threshold, Five Reasons Sports Network tweeted on Monday that the Heat “plan” to offer the role of Lowry’s backup to Gabe Vincent.

Vincent, 25, signed a two-year $3.5 million deal with Heat last week, his first standard contract with the franchise after being one of the team’s two-way contract players during the 2020-21 season. The 6-foot-3 guard’s new contract comes after Vincent busted out as Team Nigeria’s star going into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The former G-Leaguer scored 6-of-8 on threes during Team Nigeria’s exhibition game against Team U.S.A, drilling a total of 21 points and four assists.

Last year, Vincent played the maximum 50 games allotted for two-way players but struggled with efficiency. He averaged 4.8 points, 1.1 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game while shooting 37.8% from the floor and 30.9% on threes.

While it was expected for Vincent to provide occasional support off the bench, being Lowry’s backup puts a lot more responsibility on his shoulders.

The Heat Haven’t Reach Out to Veteran Point Guards Still Available in Free Agency

On August 11, Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson tweeted, “Haslem’s return & signing is considered a formality at this point, unless he suddenly changes his mind. Unclear if Heat will then add a veteran 15th player (a wing or PG), which would put them over the tax. Teams permitted to keep 14. Several vet wings said haven’t heard from Heat.”

As for Vincent, the former undrafted guard out of UC Santa Barbara did have some big moments during his 2020-21 campaign, including scoring 24 and 21 points in back-to-back games for the Heat in January, when the team was getting throttled by COVID-19. During the Heat’s regular-season finale game, he tallied 15 points, 10 assists, and six rebounds.

Miami Heat’s 2021-22 NBA Roster So Far

While the Heat said goodbye to Kendrick Nunn, Andre Iguodala, Trevor Ariza, and Nemanja Bjelica, the team also lost Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa in the deal that brought Lowry to Miami.

The following following 14 players are locked in for the Heat’s 2021-22 NBA season:

Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler, Udonis Haslem, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, P.J. Tucker, Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, KZ Okapala, Dewayne Dedmon, Markieff Morris, Victor Oladipo, and Omer Yurtseven.

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