The Heat will face an important decision on Kelly Olynyk at some point this season, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Olynyk can opt out of his contract next summer if he believes he can do better than his $13.2MM salary for 2020/21, and his choice will have a significant effect on Miami’s flexibility in free agency.
The Heat can create about $12MM in cap room, assuming James Johnson opts in to his $16MM salary and free agent Goran Dragic is let go. If Olynyk opts out, that number will exceed $25MM, putting Miami in a much better position to add a top name in free agency. After this year’s spending spree, Winderman estimates only about six teams will have that much to spend.
He adds that the Heat may consider dealing Olynyk during the season so they don’t have to wait for his decision. They could also try to negotiate a long-term contract next summer that replaces the option year, but that would effectively take them out of the next free agency bonanza in 2021 when include Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bradley Beal, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Blake Griffin, Jrue Holiday and Victor Oladipo will all be on the market.
There’s more this morning from Miami:
- Johnson’s message for those who have lost faith in him and Dion Waiters after down seasons is “doubt at your own risk,” according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Johnson was slowed by a sports hernia, while Waiters was recovering from ankle surgery. “Dion is adamant about his and I’m more silent,” Johnson said. “We’ve been grinding and we’ve been working together on and off. I feel like he’s ready. He looks the best that I’ve seen since he’s been a Miami Heat. And I’m healthy.”
- Bam Adebayo attended last night’s BIG3 games in Miami, but refused to comment on his release from Team USA, Winderman tweets. A late invite to training camp, Adebayo was among the first round of cuts announced Friday. Adebayo was an awkward fit with this year’s team because he serves as a complementary player and there aren’t many stars to complement, Winderman adds in a full story. His limited offense stands out when the American team will rely on scoring from all five positions.
- Veteran forward Reggie Evans, who now plays for the BIG3’s Three-Headed Monsters, was in a more talkative mood Saturday, but not about the NBA, Winderman relays in another piece. Evans reacted angrily any time former members of the Heat were asked about playing in Miami or the NBA in general. However, Mario Chalmers, who is holding out hopes of an NBA comeback, said coming to Miami with the league is “just like playing at home for me.”