Heat president Pat Riley spoke this week about targeting the 2020 offseason as a time when his club could make a splash in free agency, suggesting that Miami will have room for “two max contracts” during that summer. However, as we noted when we relayed Riley’s comments, it’s hard to see a path to two max slots for the Heat unless James Johnson and/or Kelly Olynyk turn down player options for 2020/21, and even then it might be tricky.
Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald digs a little deeper into the roadblocks in the way of Riley’s plan. As Jackson observes, not only are Riley’s cap estimates probably unrealistic, but it’s not clear which max players the Heat would even be targeting in 2020. That year’s free agent class looks weaker than 2019’s, and while it’s possible that some stars will sign one-year contracts this summer, there aren’t currently a ton of tantalizing names in the ’20 group besides Anthony Davis, who reportedly has eyes for L.A.
Riley also talked earlier this week about trying to add a quality player to the current group in the hopes of contending in 2019/20, but that won’t be easy either, notes Jackson. The Heat might have to count on lucking out in the draft or swinging a major trade in order to add an impact player, since they could be reluctant to even use their mid-level exception on a free agent, given the club’s proximity to the projected luxury tax line.
Here’s more from out of Miami:
- Having made his return from a knee injury on February 23, Goran Dragic is still being eased back into the Heat’s rotation, having come off the bench in each of his last four games. And that’s just fine by Dragic, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. The veteran point guard said he’s focused on getting back up to speed rather than worrying about whether he’s starting or playing with the second unit. “I told [head coach Erik Spoelstra] when we were having a conversation, I said, ‘Spo, don’t think about me. We’re going to figure out things,'” Dragic said. “I know I can’t just go in and be a starter. So for me, I go day by day. My focus is on my rehab. I’m still not done. I still have a lot of stuff to do to try to get my leg stronger. That’s it, basically. In the minutes I play, I just try to help my team. That’s the most important thing right now.”
- With the Heat attempting to stay out of tax territory for the 2018/19 season, they may face a predicament regarding Kelly Olynyk‘s minutes going forward, as cap expert Albert Nahmad explains (via Twitter). Olynyk can earn some extra bonus money if he plays 1,700 minutes this season, and would need to average 22.2 MPG the rest of the way to reach that threshold. He has played 21.3 MPG so far in ’18/19, but has seen more action lately and has made the most of those minutes, Nahmad notes.
- Speaking of Olynyk, in an entertaining piece for The Athletic, Shandel Richardson takes a look at a spending habits of the Heat big man, who prefers to label his lifestyle as “financially intelligent” rather than “frugal.”
- Emanuel Terry‘s 10-day deal with the Heat has now expired, as our 10-day contract tracker shows. There have been no indications that Miami plans to re-sign him, at least not right away.