Some new provisions in the CBA could work against the Heat in free agency next year, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Because maximum salaries are increasing, it will be more difficult for a team to add more than one max player each year. Miami could have about $40MM available in cap space next summer if Dion Waiters and Willie Reed both opt out and Chris Bosh is cleared from the cap, which could have been enough for two max deals in prior years. Also, mid-level exceptions are increasing, which will help teams without cap space get better players, and minimum salaries are increasing 45%, which will increase cap holds for empty roster spots from about $1MM to $2MM each. The NBA mandates that teams fill 12 roster spots with players or cap holds.
There’s more tonight out of Miami:
- Another important change is that teams can now give their own free agents six-year contracts instead of five, notes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. The difference between staying with a team for six years or going somewhere else for four could be $90MM to $100MM over the life of a contract, which reduces the advantages the Heat have enjoyed from their South Beach location and recent playoff success.
- Miami’s James Johnson is among the players who might benefit from the increased mid-level exception, Winderman writes in a separate piece. The new MLE is expected to be in the $8MM range, which is about twice what Johnson makes right now. Because Johnson signed a one-year contract over the summer, Miami won’t have his Bird Rights, which means his entire salary will have to come from cap space. Johnson has become a valuable reserve for the Heat, averaging career highs of 10.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.
- Finally back from a troublesome wrist injury, Justise Winslow is making an immediate impact, Winderman states in another story. Winslow’s sore left wrist forced him to miss 16 games and raised the concern of offseason surgery. “He’s doing plays that you cannot see in stats, and that’s huge for the team,” said teammate Goran Dragic. “He can defend multiple positions. He can organize us. And he can find people. So that’s a unique talent.”