Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2017 offseason for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting the summer’s free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and more. We’ll evaluate each team’s moves from the last several months and look ahead to what the 2017/18 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the Miami Heat.
Other offseason news:
Salary cap situation:
- Used up cap room. Now operating over the cap, but well under the tax. Carrying approximately $100MM in guaranteed team salary. Room exception ($4.328MM) still available.
Check out the Miami Heat’s full roster and depth chart at RosterResource.com.
Story of the summer:
An annual threat to land the top players on the free agent market, the Heat are an appealing possible destination for stars for a variety of reasons, including the head coach, the management team, the culture, and – not least of all – the climate. As such, it’s no surprise that the front office went after Gordon Hayward this offseason — the All-Star forward wasn’t the best free agent on the market, but he was probably the best one who legitimately considered changing teams.
For the second straight year, however, the Heat secured a meeting with the summer’s top free agent, only to be eliminated from consideration early. A year ago, Kevin Durant passed on the allure of South Beach, and this time around, Hayward’s decision ultimately came down to Utah vs. Boston.
A lack of recent success chasing stars won’t necessarily diminish Pat Riley‘s enthusiasm for pursuing them in future offseasons, but it did force him to change directions this year. Rather than locking up a bunch of players to one-year contracts and rolling over their cap space to the summer of 2018, the Heat made lucrative, long-term commitments to a handful of players after missing out on Hayward.
James Johnson went from a one-year deal worth $4MM to a four-year deal worth $60MM. Dion Waiters, coming off a contract that paid him less than $3MM for one year, inked a four-year pact worth $47MM+. Josh Richardson wasn’t a free agent, but he got a new contract too, signing an extension that will bump his salary from the minimum this year to more than $10MM annually for the next four seasons.
It’s an intriguing strategy for the Heat, one that probably eliminates any chance they had of making a free agent splash in 2018. There are many movable contracts on the roster, so targeting stars on the trade market will still be an option. But Miami’s Plan B this summer suggests that Riley – in the years between legit title contention – is far more comfortable putting together a solid, but unspectacular, roster capable of making the playoffs than he would be blowing things up in search of potential star power in the draft.