A decision not to pursue Bucks big man Bobby Portis in free agency may have led to the Heat’s playoff downfall, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Jackson traces several missteps for Miami, which is in a 3-0 hole against Milwaukee, but the most significant might be passing on Portis, who is averaging 10.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game in the playoff series.
A source tells Jackson that the Heat showed “mild interest” in Portis during free agency, but decided against making an offer. Portis would have considered Miami, Jackson adds, but he wound up signing with Milwaukee for $3.6MM and having a career-best season. The Heat signed Maurice Harkless for the same money, but he played just 11 games and scored 15 total points before being traded to the Kings in March.
Portis figures to be back on the market this summer as an unrestricted free agent and should get much better offers this time.
There’s more from Miami:
- The Heat made overtures to Marcus Morris in free agency before he re-signed with the Clippers for $64MM over four years, Jackson adds. They lost two of their own free agents when they refused to come close to the three-year, $30MM deal that Jae Crowder got from the Suns or the two-year, $19MM contract that the Trail Blazers gave Derrick Jones Jr. Instead, Miami split its $9.6MM mid-level exception between Harkless and Avery Bradley, neither of whom is still with the team. The Heat also drafted Precious Achiuwa and gave a two-year, $19MM deal to Meyers Leonard, but Achuiwa dropped out of the rotation when Dewayne Dedmon was added and Leonard played just three games before a season-ending shoulder injury.
- Team president Pat Riley has a history of making major changes after playoff embarrassments, and Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel suggests that another one may be coming. Winderman notes that the current roster was built for an immediate overhaul, with team options on Goran Dragic and Andre Iguodala for next season and Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn, Andre Iguodala, Victor Oladipo, Trevor Ariza, Nemanja Bjelica, Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, Udonis Haslem and Dedmon all potentially headed for free agency.
- Jimmy Butler believes the Heat need to fall back on toughness to salvage the series, writes Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN. “(I’m most surprised by) just how fast it got out of hand,” Butler said after Thursday’s loss. “We’ve got to pick who we want to be — be physical, make things much tougher. Then you’ve got to live with the result.”