2018 Offseason In Review: Miami Heat

Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2018 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 2018/19 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the Miami Heat.



  • None

Draft picks:

  • None

Contract extensions:

  • Justise Winslow: Signed three-year, $39MM extension. Third-year team option. Starts in 2019/20.

Departing players:

Other offseason news:

Salary cap situation:

  • Remained over the cap.
  • Carrying approximately $130MM in guaranteed salaries.
  • Projected tax bill of $9.72MM.
  • Full taxpayer mid-level exception ($5.34MM) still available.

Check out the Miami Heat’s full roster and depth chart at RosterResource.com.

Story of the summer:

Although trade rumors surrounded players like Hassan Whiteside, Dion Waiters, and Tyler Johnson for much of the offseason, the Heat’s summer was ultimately a quiet one.

Pat Riley and his front office didn’t have any draft picks and didn’t make any trades. The only four NBA free agents the Heat signed (Wayne Ellington, Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem, and Derrick Jones) were under contract with the team last season, and of those four players, only one (Jones) will earn noticeably more than he did last season, getting a bump from a two-way contract to the NBA veteran’s minimum.

Given the Heat’s relative inactivity, it was a move that didn’t get made that turned out to be the story of the team’s summer — or, more accurately, the fall. When Jimmy Butler‘s trade request went public in September, Miami quickly emerged as his top suitor, reportedly dangling a package that included Josh Richardson, a protected first-round pick, and Waiters for the All-NBA swingman.

The Heat and Timberwolves appeared multiple times to be on the verge of a deal, even exchanging medical information on the players involved in the proposed swap. However, Tom Thibodeau and the Wolves reportedly got cold feet, and Butler remains in Minnesota with each team’s regular season schedule now set to get underway.

The Wolves know that Butler doesn’t plan to re-sign with them next season, meaning it’s virtually inevitable that a deal will happen before the 2019 deadline. If and when it does, the Heat are in prime position to be the team on the other end of that trade. If Miami can land Butler, it won’t technically be an offseason move, but it would represent a significant roster shakeup for a club that essentially stood pat over the summer.

Key offseason losses:

Jordan Mickey, Luke Babbitt, and Derrick Walton are no longer members of the Heat, but their departures won’t have a real impact on the team. None of those players appeared in more than 23 games or averaged more than 12.3 minutes per contest for Miami last season.

While the Heat appear to have moved on from Mickey and Walton, the possibility of Babbitt returning to the club down the road shouldn’t necessarily be ruled out. The trade Miami completed at the 2017/18 trade deadline for Babbitt represented the second time in a 20-month span that the team had traded for him. Still, the outside shooting he provided during his previous stint with the Heat (.414 3PT%) wasn’t evident in last season’s admittedly small sample (.244 3PT% in 13 games).

Key offseason additions:

All 14 players on the Heat’s opening-night NBA roster were with the team last season, meaning the only newcomers are on two-way deals. Miami found NBA playing time for its two-way players in 2017/18, so we may see Yante Maten and Duncan Robinson earn some minutes for the Heat this season.

Maten, the 2018 SEC Player of the Year, is a 6’8″ forward who is capable of making outside shots (.403 career 3PT% at Georgia) and crashing the boards (8.6 RPG in 2017/18). As for Robinson, the former Michigan swingman also showed off an impressive three-point stroke in college, making 41.9% of 565 long-distance attempts with the Wolverines.

If the Heat have any issues with floor spacing in the coming months, one or both of those players could earn a look.

Outlook for 2018/19:

Even without a Butler trade, there are plenty of storylines to watch in Miami this season. Will Justise Winslow take a big step forward after inking a three-year, $39MM contract extension? Will Whiteside bounce back following a disappointing postseason and establish himself as a force in the middle again? Will the 2018/19 season be a farewell tour for both Wade and Haslem?

As constructed though, this Heat roster appears to have a clear ceiling. The club is capped-out and finds itself a level or two below the top-tier contenders in the Eastern Conference. Packaging two or three players to land an All-Star like Butler could help push that ceiling higher.

With no major changes, the Heat should still comfortably earn a playoff spot this season, and could even win a postseason series. But given the make up of the roster, trade rumors figure to fly early and often during the 2018/19 campaign as Riley looks to get back into title contention.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post. Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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