2020/21 Salary Cap Preview: Miami Heat

Hoops Rumors is looking ahead at the 2020/21 salary cap situations for all 30 NBA teams. Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the NBA, it’s impossible to know yet where the cap for 2020/21 will land. Given the league’s lost revenue, we’re assuming for now that it will stay the same as the ’19/20 cap, but it’s entirely possible it will end up higher or lower than that.

The 2019/20 season represented a return to form for the Heat, who endured some up-and-down seasons following LeBron James‘ departure in 2014. Prior to the NBA’s hiatus, they were a top-four team in the East with a 41-24 record.

In addition to their success on the court, the Heat also managed to create some major cap flexibility at the trade deadline by moving Dion Waiters and James Johnson in a three-team deal. The trade ensures that Miami could be one of just a handful of teams with cap room this offseason. However, with several of their own free agents to address, the Heat may end up rolling that cap space over to 2021.

Here’s where things stand for the Heat financially in 2020/21, as we continue our Salary Cap Preview series:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

Offseason Cap Outlook

The Heat could go in any number of directions this offseason. Assuming they account for their guaranteed contracts, Nunn and Robinson, Olynyk’s player option (likely to be exercised), and the cap hold for their first-round pick, they could get up to nearly $22MM in room, even if the cap doesn’t increase.

However, with some combination of Dragic, Jones, Crowder, Leonard, Hill, and Haslem likely to be retained, I’d expect Miami to operate as an over-the-cap team this offseason. Assuming those free agents ink one-year deals or modest multiyear pacts, the Heat could maintain enough flexibility to pursue Giannis Antetokounmpo or another star in 2021.

Cap Exceptions Available

  • Mid-level exception: $9,258,000 3
  • Bi-annual exception: $3,623,000 3
  • Trade exception: $7,533,867 (expires 2/8/21) 4


  1. Robinson’s new salary guarantee date is unknown.
  2. The cap holds for Babbitt, Mickey, and Wade remain on the Heat’s books because they haven’t been renounced after going unsigned in 2019/20. They can’t be used in a sign-and-trade deal.
  3. These are projected values. If the Heat go under the cap to use room, they’d lose these exceptions, but would gain access to the room exception ($4,767,000). If their team salary approaches the tax apron, it’s possible they’d be limited to the taxpayer mid-level exception ($5,718,000).
  4. The Heat would lose this exception if they go under the cap to use room.

Note: Minimum-salary and rookie-scale cap holds are based on the salary cap and could increase or decrease depending on where the cap lands.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders and Early Bird Rights was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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9 thoughts on “2020/21 Salary Cap Preview: Miami Heat

    • Luke Adams

      We don’t, but until he’s definitively off the market, he’ll be Miami’s top target.

  1. x%sure

    I doubt Giannis chooses to do what Lebron did. It will be a choice, since his offers will be maxxed everywhere. But there will be other options. Miami’s:

    Negative on/off and O-DRtg: Dragic, Hill
    Negative on/off only: Crowder, Haslem, Jones(keep?)
    Neither: Meyers Leonard(keep?)

    Dragic looked like a gunner, which was okay in the Heat system, but may have set back teammates like Jones, and he’s not getting younger. Hill was a total island. Crowder had the same experience as in Memphis & Cleveland– not the expected team help. Haslem is a local thing. Jones should be retained if cheap to use as a shock against opposing teams, and as a bought-in vet.
    After years of being overpaid, Leonard might sign for about the same amount!
    Offer a 3/9 for Jones, a 1/15 for Leonard, and 1/6 for Dragic in case he just doesn’t want to leave his spot on the beach.
    As for new guys, the Heat way seems to be to wait for players to contact first.

    • JohnTheSportsFanatic

      You realize Giannis has an amazing team around him thats why he will not pull a LeBron. LeBron had to carry his team to the finals and didn’t have a Khris Middleton and a great supporting cast with guys like Bledsoe, Lopez, Matthews, etc.

    • JohnTheSportsFanatic

      He had some guys like Bledsoe, Lopez, and Matthews but no one even close to Middleton.

  2. stretch123

    Give Dragic a 20 million one year deal and then hopefully for 2021, he’ll take a pay cut. I’d target Gallinari on a one year deal as well. Dreams of 2021 Heat:

    Bam, Gallinari, Giannis, Butler, Nunn
    Olynyk, Crowder, Robinson, Herro, Dragic

    • JohnTheSportsFanatic

      That team would be stacked but there is no way I’m starting Nunn over Herro

    • x%sure

      Some of those guys would also need to be dreaming of the future Heat!

      Actually acquiring Giannis would force everyone else into an assisting mode. Who could be better at that than Lopez & Middleton? Bledsoe changed his game (though maybe he was due to anyway).
      I think also that Butler likes being top guy.

  3. stevep-4

    Obviously planning to operate over the cap if they are keeping Wade’s contract on the books…so probably shooting for 2021 and standing pat.

    Dragic won’t get even 20 in this market, but Riley can do him a favor for one year if they want to stay over the cap.

    I too doubt that Giannis is going anywhere, he likes cheese and beer.

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