The Heat missed the playoffs for the third time in the past five years this spring, heading into the offseason with more questions about their roster than answers.
The steady decline in playing time for Hassan Whiteside, potential position change for Justise Winslow and important draft in June are among Miami’s biggest factors to address, and that’s without including Goran Dragic‘s player option decision or Dion Waiters‘ major weight loss goal.
“I would like to continue to grow within that point guard role [next season], but I don’t want the narrative to be between me and Goran, us fighting for that position,” Winslow said, as relayed by David Furones of the Sun Sentinel.
Winslow started at point guard with Dragic sidelined for part of the season, then failed to find a defined role upon his return.
Miami has a strong coaching staff and front office regime capable of turning the ship around, but the absence of future Hall-of-Famer Dwyane Wade will surely leave a void. The team will look to regroup in the offseason with hopes of contending for the playoffs next year.
“The time without him was different, but I think we showed ourselves that we’re capable,” Heat guard Josh Richardson said of Wade. “We’re all wiser, better basketball players, so I’m excited to see how this summer and everything plays out.”
There’s more today from the Southeast Division:
- The Heat could benefit from waiting one year before striking in free agency, Ira Winderman writes in his mailbag for the Sun Sentinel. Aside from lacking cap space (unless Whiteside and Dragic opt out), Miami could use next season to further develop the likes of Richardson, Winslow, Bam Adebayo and Derrick Jones Jr. before placing a major focus on the open market.
- Frank Urbina of HoopsHype examines the potential landing spots for Hornets guard Kemba Walker, who’s set to enter unrestricted free agency in July. Along with the Hornets, Walker has been linked to the Knicks, Mavericks and Pacers throughout the season. “I have no feeling right now, I don’t know,” Walker said of his impending decision, according to ESPN. “Honestly, I don’t know what to expect. I guess it’s a lot of different emotions bottled up into one. I’m not sure. I don’t know.”
- The Hornets must show Walker how they’re going to win next season and beyond if they hope to re-sign him this summer, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes. “I want to win; I want to win,” Walker said during his player interviews. When asked what the Hornets need to do in order to keep him, Walker replied, “They know,” according to Bonnell.