It’s been an offseason of surprises in Miami, where the Heat’s roster looks much different than it did a couple months ago.
After months of posturing over whether or not the team would be willing to offer Hassan Whiteside the max, Miami relented, holding off aggressive rival suitors to re-sign the star center to a four-year deal. However, several days later, the Heat lost their other key free agent, longtime star guard Dwyane Wade, when he decided to head to Chicago. With Wade no longer on their books, the Heat turned around and matched Tyler Johnson‘s pricey four-year offer sheet from the Nets, an outcome that likely surprised even Johnson.
The Heat also got one of the bargains of the summer when they signed Dion Waiters using their room exception, but the addition of Waiters – along with veterans like James Johnson, Wayne Ellington, and Luke Babbitt – raises questions about the club’s plan for 2016/17.
Will Miami hand the reins to young players like Whiteside, Johnson, Justise Winslow, and Josh Richardson, and start looking ahead to the future? Or is this still a team focused on immediately contending with the help of its veterans?
The status of Chris Bosh could go a long way toward determining the Heat’s future, at least in the short term. If Bosh can return to the court, the club will have its eye on the playoffs and on the 2017 free agent market, where it could pursue an impact player to complement Whiteside, Bosh, and the team’s other core players. If Bosh is deemed medically unfit to return, the Heat may shift into retooling mode. Of course, even with Bosh on the floor, it doesn’t look like Miami has enough talent to seriously challenge LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the East.
Complicating matters is Russell Westbrook‘s recent extension with the Thunder — if the Heat were already looking ahead to the 2017 free agent period, Westbrook likely would have been atop the club’s wish list. Instead, he no longer looks like a viable target until at least 2018.
What do you think? How do you think the Heat should move forward? Should they shift into retooling mode, allowing their young players to take on larger roles? Or should the team still be exploring the trade market and looking ahead to next summer’s free agent market in an effort to make upgrades and compete immediately? Are those two scenarios even mutually exclusive, or is there a way for the club to do both?
Take to the comments section below to share your opinions on the Heat. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.