Heat Rumors

International Notes: Giannis, Team Canada, Hezonja, Clarkson, Vildoza, Ataman, Team China

Giannis Antetokounmpo is looking forward to participating in Greece’s training camp, though he’s still dealing with the injury that short-circuited the Bucks’ playoff run. Milwaukee’s superstar will look to help Greece advance out of the FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament in Piraeus early next month.

“I have not practiced yet, but I feel better. I cannot wait to join the training camp,” he told Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops.net and other reporters.

Antetokounmpo suffered a calf strain late in the NBA regular season. The announcement that he would play for Greece was made at the beginning of this month.

We have more international basketball news:

  • Canada’s preliminary Olympic roster is loaded with NBA players and there will be tough decisions ahead to pare it to 12 players, Josh Lewenberg of TSN notes. Kings forward Trey Lyles, former NBA bigs Khem Birch and Mfiondu Kabengele and two-time National Player of the Year Zach Edey are some of the players who, on paper, will be fighting for the last two spots on the roster, writes Lewenberg.
  • Former NBA forward Mario Hezonja announced on social media that he’s re-signing with Real Madrid, Sportando relays. “Real Madrid believed in me when many didn’t, cared for me and my family since the first day I arrived and made us feel at home. My only intention was to stay so I am happy to communicate to you that I will continue my journey at MY HOME, MY REAL MADRID for a long time!” he wrote. There had been speculation he might look at NBA opportunities.
  • Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson was not on the Philippines’ 12-man roster for the FIBA Olympic qualifier. Coach Tim Cone opted for continuity, according to executive director Erika Dy. Cone decided to go with the same group that participated in an Asia Cup qualifier over the winter. “Premise of coach Tim, we have the same roster every time. The shorter training periods will accumulate, and the players will build chemistry,” Dy said, per BasketNews.
  • Virtus Bologna is reportedly interested in former NBA guard Luca Vildoza, who is leaving Greece’s Panathinaikos, according to another Sportando report. Vildoza had a seven-game stint with the Bucks in 2021/22.
  • After leading Panathinaikos to a Euroleague title, Ergin Ataman is eager to get a shot at coaching in the NBA. But he told the Spanish outlet AS that he only wants to make the jump if he’s offered a head coaching job. “Before it was my dream, now it’s not, but if you want a star coach from Europe, here I am. Why would I be afraid of training NBA stars?” he said, per Eurohoops.net.
  • The Chinese national team will participate in the California Classic in Sacramento next month, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee reports. They’ll be grouped against Summer League teams from the Kings, Hornets, and Spurs. Squads from the Warriors, Lakers and Heat will play against each other in San Francisco.

Draft Notes: Green Room, Mock Drafts, Samuel

Four more players have received green room invites for the 2024 NBA draft. Dayton’s DaRon Holmes II, Indiana’s Kel’el Ware, Colorado’s Tristan Da Silva and Pittsburgh’s Carlton Carrington have all accepted invitations to attend the draft in person, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (all Twitter links here).

Holmes, the A-10 Player of the Year, averaged 20.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.1 blocks per game last season while shooting 54.4% from the field and 38.6% from three. He’s listed at No. 39 on ESPN’s big board and is the lowest-ranked prospect on that list to be invited.

Ware (No. 24 on ESPN’s list) averaged 15.9 points and 9.9 rebounds this season in 30 games with Indiana after transferring from Oregon. Da Silva (No. 17 on ESPN) is a toolsy forward who spent all four seasons of his college career at Colorado. He averaged 16.0 PPG this season while making 39.5% of his 4.8 three-point attempts per game. Carrington (No. 19) made the ACC’s All-Freshman Team this season after averaging 13.8 PPG and 4.1 APG, establishing himself as a premier pull-up mid-range shooter.

Holmes, Ware, Da Silva and Carrington join France’s Zaccharie Risacher, Alex Sarr and Tidjane Salaun, Serbia’s Nikola Topic, UConn’s Donovan Clingan and Stephon Castle, Kentucky’s Reed Sheppard and Rob Dillingham, Duke’s Jared McCain and Kyle Filipowski, Colorado’s Cody Williams, Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht, Providence’s Devin Carter, Baylor’s Yves Missi and Ja’Kobe Walter, Kansas’s Johnny Furphy, Miami’s Kyshawn George, USC’s Isaiah Collier and the G League Ignite’s Matas Buzelis and Ron Holland as the 24 players who accepted invitations to the green room. Purdue’s Zach Edey also received an invite, which he declined.

We have more draft-related notes:

  • There’s plenty of room for change in the next week leading up to the draft, but for now James L. Edwards of The Athletic sees Sarr as the best prospect in this class and believes he’s the player the Hawks should take at No. 1 if they don’t trade down. In a new mock draft that also involves Kelly Iko and Josh Robbins, The Athletic has Risacher going second to the Wizards and Castle going third to the Rockets. Carter going No. 8 to the Spurs and Holland falling to No. 11 to Chicago are among some of the more intriguing picks in the mock.
  • The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor doesn’t view Sarr or Risacher as the best players in this class, according to his latest big board, but still has Atlanta selecting Risacher in his latest mock. O’Connor lists Castle, Clingan and Buzelis as the best three players in the class, in that order. He has Holland as the 13th-best player and Bobi Klintman as the No. 18 prospect in the class. Terrence Shannon Jr., Nikola Djurisic and Trentyn Flowers are other prospects O’Connor has first-round grades on, deviating from the consensus. As for his mock, O’Connor has Sarr going second to Washington, Sheppard going third to Houston and Buzelis going fourth to San Antonio.
  • Former Florida and Seton Hall forward Tyrese Samuel has worked out for the Knicks, Spurs, Nets, Heat, Jazz, Bulls, Pelicans, Cavaliers, Raptors, Suns, Lakers and Pistons, NJ.com’s Adam Zagoria tweets. The 6-10 Samuel averaged 13.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks last season for Florida.

Moore’s Latest: Kings, Kuzma, Bulls, Bridges, Sixers, Jones, Grizzlies, More

The Kings are expected to return to the trade market this offseason with the same assets they offered Toronto for Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby earlier in 2023/24, writes Matt Moore of ActionNetwork.com: Harrison Barnes, Kevin Huerter, and draft compensation.

While Sacramento will do its best to re-sign Malik Monk, the team only holds his Early Bird rights and will be limited to offering him up to $78MM over four years. If Monk ends up getting away, the Kings will likely feel some additional pressure to make a trade to upgrade its rotation — and will have some additional financial flexibility to add salary.

The Kings will likely circle back to the Wizards to discuss Kyle Kuzma, according to Moore, who says Sacramento has also talked to the Bulls about Zach LaVine and Alex Caruso. LaVine, whose price tag is believed to be lower now than it ever has been, could become a more attractive target if Monk departs, Moore adds.

Here are a few more items of interest from Moore’s latest look at free agency and the trade market:

  • The Sixers are expected to have interest in forward Miles Bridges in free agency, according to Moore. Philadelphia would have more than enough cap room to make a competitive offer for Bridges, especially if it misses out on its top targets. Moore reports that the Hornets are “known to be” fans of Bulls restricted free agent Patrick Williams, so he could be a target for Charlotte if the team loses Bridges.
  • Veteran point guard Tyus Jones, who was a full-time starter this past season for the Wizards, is expected to seek a deal worth north of $15MM annually, two sources tell Moore. Jones is the No. 15 free agent on our top-50 list.
  • There’s an expectation that the Grizzlies will look to add multiple centers this summer, Moore writes, noting that Nets big man Day’Ron Sharpe is a name to watch for Memphis. A Grizzlies offer for Sharpe could consist of a second-round pick and one of their bench wings, Moore adds.
  • The Grizzlies are also among the teams that have expressed interest in Hawks center Clint Capela, along with the Wizards, Pelicans, and Bulls, Moore says.
  • The free agent market for Heat forward Haywood Highsmith is expected to start around the taxpayer mid-level exception ($5.2MM), two team cap strategists tell Moore.

Southeast Notes: Mills, Spoelstra, Gueye, Bufkin, Windler, Wagners

Patty Mills only appeared in 32 games with the Hawks and Heat this season but the 35-year-old guard isn’t ready to retire. Mills will head into free agency looking for a new deal, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

“I take really good care of myself and my body and the plan is to continue to play until the wheels fall off is how I see it,” he said. Mills, who added he’d prefer to stay with the Heat, will play for Australia in the Paris Olympics.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat‘s early postseason exit has allowed coach Erik Spoelstra to spend more time evaluating draft prospects, though he’s offering opinions rather than getting too involved in the process. “I figured I had three days to get up to speed on the draft last year,” he told Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. “The eight weeks leading up to [this year’s draft], I think I’ll just be probably overconfused by overanalysis. I’ll stay out of the way. Now that I have more time, I’m probably dangerous. I’ll stay out of the way of our scouting department. They do an exceptional job — Adam Simon and his staff — preparing for that draft.”
  • Mouhamed Gueye, Kobe Bufkin and Dylan Windler are expected to play on the Hawks’ Summer League squad next month, Brad Rowland of the LockedOnHawks podcast tweets. General manager Landry Fields made that revelation during his press conference on Monday. Gueye and Bufkin were on Atlanta’s 15-man roster to finish the season, while Windler was a two-way player.
  • Germany won the FIBA World Cup last summer, defeating Team USA along the way. The Magic‘s Franz Wagner and Moritz Wagner will now try to lead their home country to a gold medal at the Olympics. “It’s a dream come true for me as a player,” Franz told Jason Beede of the Orlando Sentinel. The Magic hold an $8MM option on Moritz’s contract for next season, so he could wind up as a free agent next month.

Warriors Top List Of NBA’s 2023/24 Taxpayers

While the official numbers from the NBA aren’t yet in, Bobby Marks of ESPN estimates (via Twitter) that the Warriors led all teams in 2023/24 with a luxury tax bill in the neighborhood of $176.9MM.

Golden State was subject once again to the “repeater” tax penalties this season, meaning that every dollar spent above the luxury tax line cost them more than a first-time taxpayer. The Warriors paid roughly $206MM in player salaries, meaning their roster as a whole cost more than $380MM. They didn’t make the playoffs, having been eliminated in the first play-in game by Sacramento.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Luxury Tax Penalties]

The Warriors weren’t alone among teams that are on the hook for tax payments without a playoff series win to show for it. Of the eight taxpayers, only two (the Celtics and Nuggets) made it beyond the first round of the postseason, with only one Boston advancing past the second round. Unlike Golden State, the Clippers, Suns, Bucks, Heat, and Lakers all made the playoffs, but they were each eliminated in the conference quarterfinals.

Here are the estimated tax penalties for 2023/24, according to Marks:

  1. Golden State Warriors: $176.9MM
  2. Los Angeles Clippers: $142.4MM
  3. Phoenix Suns: $68.2MM
  4. Milwaukee Bucks: $52.5MM
  5. Boston Celtics: $43.8MM
  6. Denver Nuggets: $20.2MM
  7. Miami Heat: $15.7MM
  8. Los Angeles Lakers: $6.9MM

Half of those tax payments get distributed among non-taxpaying teams, so those 22 clubs should each receive a little less than $12MM, Marks observes.

That payout for non-taxpayers serves to highlight why some teams who were hovering around the luxury tax line earlier in the season made a concerted effort to duck below – or stay below – that threshold. For instance, the Pelicans finished the season below the tax line by less than $400K after initially moving out of tax territory by salary-dumping Kira Lewis’ expiring contract back in January. That cost-cutting move didn’t just save Pels ownership a tax payment — it also ensured that the team will receive that extra $12MM.

The tax line for 2024/25 is projected to be just north of $171MM, and while many of the teams listed above project to once again be taxpayers next spring, at least a couple of them could be in position to avoid the tax next season, including the Warriors.

Southeast Notes: Heat, Coulibaly, Flowers, Anthony

No matter when the NBA Finals wrap up, the Heat figure to be one of the league’s most active teams on the following day, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. A change in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement gives teams a window to negotiate with their upcoming free agents from the end of the Finals until the league-wide start of free agency on June 30.

For Miami that means a chance to work out new deals with Haywood Highsmith, Patty Mills and Delon Wright before they reach the free agent market. The Heat can also negotiate with two-way players Jamal Cain, Cole Swider and Alondes Williams, who will become restricted free agents if they receive qualifying offers by June 29.

In addition, they can hold talks with Caleb Martin ($7.1MM), Kevin Love ($4MM), Josh Richardson ($3.1MM) and Thomas Bryant ($2.8MM), who all hold player options for next season. As Chiang points out, that gives the Heat an opportunity to get some clarity about what their 2024/25 roster might look like before heading into free agency.

Miami is also permitted to begin negotiating an extension with Bam Adebayo, who will become eligible to sign the deal when the leaguewide moratorium ends on July 6. The Heat can pay Adebayo $165MM over three years with a starting salary of $51.2MM for 2026/27, but Chiang states that he might want to wait for a more lucrative deal next summer.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Bilal Coulibaly is hoping to win a spot on the French Olympic team and compete for a gold medal in Paris, per Chase Hughes of Monumental Sports Network. The Wizards forward was one of 19 players to make France’s preliminary roster, which will eventually be trimmed to 12. Whether he’s in the Olympics or not, Washington has offseason plans for Coulibaly. “He’s got the mindset that this is a massive summer for him,” general manager Will Dawkins said. “Whether he’s playing with us or playing with France, we’ll be involved. We’ll be around and we’ll have a program in place.”
  • The Hornets could have interest in Trentyn Flowers, who raised his stock with an impressive athletic showing at the draft combine, according to Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Boone notes that Flowers, who played this season with Adelaide in Australia, has at least 13 pre-draft workouts scheduled. Charlotte holds picks No. 6 and 42, and Boone says there’s still not a clear range of where Flowers might be taken.
  • Cole Anthony was disappointed in his performance after signing an extension with the Magic last summer, relays Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel. In his fourth NBA season, Anthony posted career lows with 11.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. “I’m going to work on everything (this summer),” he said. “The biggest thing for me I’m going to work on is just try to take care of my mental health. Whether it’s talking about it, whatever it is, just try to do all I can to have as little distractions on the court next year.”

International Notes: Mexico City Game, James, Teodosic, Harper

The NBA’s Mexico City Game in 2024 will feature a pair of Southeast rivals, as the Heat and Wizards will match up in the contest on Saturday, November 2, the league announced today in a press release. It will be the NBA’s 14th regular season contest and 33rd game overall in Mexico.

The game will be the fourth in Mexico for the Wizards, who last played there in 2019, and the third for the Heat. Since Miami’s last visit in 2022, the team has added Mexican-American forward Jaime Jaquez, which likely factored into the NBA’s decision to have the team return just two years later.

Here are a few more updates from around the international basketball world:

  • Reigning EuroLeague MVP Mike James has a new three-year deal in place with AS Monaco Basket, the team officially announced on Friday (via Twitter). The former NBA guard was initially said to be nearing an agreement a week ago before Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com reported that James was considering testing the open market. According to Urbonas (Twitter link), Monaco improved its offer to ensure that a deal got done. James previously appeared in 49 NBA games from 2017-21 with the Suns, Pelicans, and Nets.
  • Former NBA guard Milos Teodosic, who played for the Clippers from 2017-19, will spend another season with Crvena Zvezda in Serbia. The team announced (via Twitter) that it has signed the 37-year-old to a new one-year contract (hat tip to Sportando).
  • Valencia Basket and Jared Harper, who suited up for the Suns, Knicks, and Pelicans from 2019-22, have parted ways, the Spanish club announced in a press release. A former All-NBAGL first-teamer, Harper spent the past two seasons with Valencia but will be a free agent this summer.

Heat Notes: Edey, Markkanen, Jovic, Offseason

Zach Edey could be an option with the 15th pick if the Heat are looking to add size in the draft, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The Purdue center, who had a workout in Miami earlier this month, stands 7’4″ and weighs nearly 300 pounds. He would ensure that the Heat aren’t physically overmatched in the middle whenever Bam Adebayo is resting.

“Every team needs someone to hold down the paint,” Edey said. “You need someone to grab the rebound. You need somebody to block shots. You need someone to finish lobs. You need someone to do all those things. Like not everything has to be with me having the ball in my hands in a post-up. I think I can do a lot of things. Obviously at Purdue, we used a lot of post-ups. But if you really watch the games there’s a lot of ball screens and that’s what they run in the NBA, ball screens, seals, re-posts.”

The two-time Player of the Year in the NCAA hears that his potential draft spot is “between 10 and 25.” Several teams in Miami’s range could be in the market for size, so it’s not certain that Edey will still be on the board at No. 15. He said at the draft combine that he hopes to prove to teams that he’s capable of doing more in the NBA than just clogging the paint.

“Obviously I need to show people I can shoot the way I believe I can,” Edey said. “But I think for the most part I know what I’m good at. Like if teams have tons of film on me, obviously I think I’m quicker than teams think I am, I think I can shoot better than teams think I can. I have to show that. I’ve been in college for four years. They’ve got a lot of film on me. They kind of know what I can do.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • The Heat could have interest in trading for Lauri Markkanen, but getting Jimmy Butler in return is unlikely to appeal to the Jazz, Winderman states in a mailbag column. At 34, Butler doesn’t fit Utah’s timeline, Winderman notes, and his injury history and desire for an extension make him especially risky. A deal involving Tyler Herro and other pieces could be more realistic, but Winderman describes the Jazz as “lukewarm” to that possibility.
  • Nikola Jovic will be reevaluated in two weeks after suffering a minor left ankle sprain, sources tell Winderman (Twitter link). The Heat forward is still expected to be able to play for Serbia in the Olympics.
  • Responding to questions from readers, Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald examines Butler’s future, negotiations with the Heat’s soon-to-be free agents and potential moves for the summer.

Erik Spoelstra Vows To Fix The Heat's Offense

  • Head coach Erik Spoelstra will focus on fixing the Heat‘s offense this summer, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Injuries made it difficult for Miami to establish any continuity as Spoelstra was forced to use 35 different starting lineups. Beyond that, Chiang points out that the Heat had difficulty with inside scoring — attempting just 28.5% of their shots around the rim, which was the third fewest in the league, and shooing 63.4% in the restricted area, which ranked seventh worst.

2024 NBA Offseason Preview: Miami Heat

Entering opening night last fall, the Heat were coming off one of the most unusual seasons in recent memory. They barely finished above .500 during the 2022/23 regular season, posting a negative net rating (-0.5) across 82 games, then narrowly survived the play-in tournament to earn the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. From there, they knocked off the Bucks, Knicks, and Celtics in their first three postseason series, coming within three wins of a championship before ultimately falling to Denver.

During the subsequent 2023/24 season, Erik Spoelstra repeatedly insisted that his team wasn’t counting on a repeat of the year before and was taking the regular season seriously rather than waiting to turn it on in the postseason. But injuries and inconsistency resulted in a pretty similar outcome. Miami won 46 games instead of 44 and outscored its opponents, but once again finished in the bottom half of the league in net rating and needed a win in its second play-in game to grab the No. 8 playoff seed.

This time around, there was no postseason magic for the Heat, who were missing star Jimmy Butler due to a knee injury and managed just a single win over the top-seeded Celtics before their season came to an unceremonious end.

On one hand, the Heat are just one year removed from winning the East and perhaps could have made a deeper run this spring with a healthy Butler and a more favorable first-round matchup. But that’s a rosy view of their situation. The regular season results show that this team has been a relatively middle-of-the-pack squad over the past two seasons and, with Butler entering his age-35 season, probably can’t consider itself a legitimate title contender without some tweaks to the roster.

Based on what’s transpired since their season ended (more on that below), I wouldn’t rule out major offseason changes for the Heat, but it’s not in their DNA to fully rebuild (they haven’t won fewer than 37 games since 2007/08). So even if next season’s roster looks quite a bit different than the ’23/24 group, the goal will be to get further in the 2025 playoffs than they did this year.

The Heat’s Offseason Plan

The most pressing question facing the Heat this summer is whether or not Butler will still be on the roster on opening night. A breakup would be a bit of a surprise, given that the past five years have seemed like a near-perfect marriage between one of the NBA’s most competitive stars and a franchise that prides itself on its hard-working culture.

But shortly after the Heat’s season ended, word broke that Butler would be seeking another maximum-salary extension this summer, looking to replace his 2025/26 player option with a new two-year deal worth approximately $113MM. Asked at his end-of-season press conference about that possibility, longtime team president Pat Riley didn’t explicitly say whether or not the Heat would be willing to put that offer on the table, but suggested they wouldn’t exactly be eager to do so.

“It’s a big decision on our part to commit those kinds of resources, unless you have someone who is going to be available every night,” Riley said, referring to an injury history that has forced Butler to miss at least 15 games in every season since he arrived in Miami in 2019.

Riley also didn’t approve of a viral video that showed Butler claiming the Heat would’ve been able to beat Boston and New York if he’d been available to play in the postseason. The Heat president told reporters, “If you’re not on the court playing against Boston or on the court playing against the New York Knicks, you should keep your mouth shut on the criticism of those teams.”

A thinner-skinned player might respond to those comments by submitting a trade request, but the ability to be frank and honest with one another is an important reason why the relationship between Butler and the Heat has worked. I wouldn’t expect him to seek a change of scenery this offseason due to hurt feelings. But if Miami is unwilling to put an appealing extension offer on the table this summer, he might become more inclined to weigh all his options as he enters the final stage of his career.

While the Heat would be under no obligation to move Butler if he asked to be traded, he showed earlier in his career in Minnesota that he can make life difficult for his current team if his demands aren’t met. Still, I’m not necessarily counting on the situation coming to a head this offseason. Miami would have a hard time turning Butler into a player – or multiple players – who could increase the club’s ceiling in 2024/25, and the 34-year-old has been in the league long enough to know that the grass isn’t always greener in a new environment.

Three-time All-Star center Bam Adebayo will also be extension-eligible this summer and looks like a better bet than Butler to get a maximum-salary offer from the Heat, given his edge in age (27 in July) and availability (he has missed more than 11 games just once in the past five seasons). A max deal for Adebayo would be worth approximately $165MM over three years. He could potentially become eligible for more years and more money with an All-NBA berth or a Defensive Player of the Year trophy next summer, but I could see the big man opting to lock in that long-term guaranteed money now.

If building around Butler and Adebayo remains the plan going forward, I’d expect some combination of Tyler Herro ($29MM), Terry Rozier ($24.9MM), and Duncan Robinson ($19.4MM) – and perhaps all three – to be mentioned in trade rumors this summer. As long as they’re able to operate below the second tax apron, the Heat would be permitted to aggregate those salaries in a trade for another star, and the franchise has made a habit of going star-hunting over the years, including in the 2023 offseason when its bid for Damian Lillard came up short.

Cleveland (Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland) and Atlanta (Trae Young, Dejounte Murray) are among the situations the Heat figure to keep an eye on this offseason, with Mitchell in particular having long been considered a prime target.

If Mitchell or another well-fitting impact player hits the trade market, it’s possible a rival suitor would outbid Miami, like the Bucks did last year with Lillard. But the team has some strong trade assets, including All-Rookie first-teamer Jaime Jaquez, 21-year-old forward Nikola Jovic, this year’s No. 15 overall pick, and at least one future first-rounder — the Heat have traded away their 2025 and 2027 first-rounders, but protections could push those picks back to 2026 and 2028, so only the ’30 pick can be traded unconditionally, though the club could offer a handful of first-round swaps.

The more prudent approach to the offseason might be to keep those youngsters, who are on team-friendly contracts for multiple years, trust the scouting department to find another potential gem at No. 15, and perhaps attempt to make a less significant move involving one of Herro, Rozier, or Robinson. There’s a good deal of overlap in that trio — both Herro and Robinson provide most of their value with floor-spacing and outside shooting, while both Herro and Rozier are score-first guards – so if the Heat could find a way to turn one of them into more of a two-way wing or a traditional point guard, it would help balance the roster.

The Heat will have a sizable hole to fill on the wing if they’re unable to re-sign Caleb Martin, who is expected to turn down a $7.1MM player option, and Haywood Highsmith, who is headed for unrestricted free agency. Both players are due for raises and could be targeted by teams who have the full mid-level exception available.

The situation with those two players feels awfully reminiscent of the one the club faced with Max Strus and Gabe Vincent a year ago, when luxury tax concerns limited what Miami was able to offer that free agent duo. Strus ultimately agreed to join the Cavaliers, while Vincent signed with the Lakers.

The Heat already have over $163MM in guaranteed money on their books for seven players in 2024/25, and that figure would rise by another $14MM+ if Kevin Love, Josh Richardson, and Thomas Bryant exercise their player options and the team hangs onto its first-round pick. That would push team salary above $177MM, essentially assuring the Heat will operate over the first tax apron ($178.7MM) even without new deals for Martin or Highsmith.

Retaining either player would likely increase team salary beyond the $189.5MM second apron, so Miami will have a decision to make. It can resign itself to losing two solid role players for a second straight summer, try to shed salary elsewhere to create room under the second apron to bring back Martin and/or Highsmith, or simply re-sign both players and commit to being a second-apron team, accepting the roster-building restrictions that come with that.

None of those options are ideal, and the third one seems especially unlikely, given that the Heat will want to maintain the flexibility to aggregate salaries if a star becomes available. I expect the club to explore the second path in an effort to retain at least one of those two free agents, but if that’s not possible, Heat fans can at least take solace in the fact that the front office has done a good job over the years finding low-cost replacements to fill out the rotation when certain role players get too expensive.

The Heat will also benefit from the fact that there’s never a shortage of veterans who want to play in Miami due to a combination of the weather, the culture, and the organization’s distaste for rebuilding. Richardson missed half the season due to an injury and Bryant wasn’t quite as good a fit as the front office had hoped, but those are high-quality players for the minimum-salary tier, as is Love. Whether or not those guys opt in to return for another season, the Heat will likely head back to the free agent market in search of more minimum-salary bargains to fill out the back end of their roster.

Salary Cap Situation

Guaranteed Salary

Non-Guaranteed Salary

  • Orlando Robinson ($2,120,693)
    • Robinson’s salary will become guaranteed if he remains under contract through July 15.
  • Total: $2,120,693

Dead/Retained Salary

  • None

Player Options

Team Options

  • None

Restricted Free Agents

  • None

Two-Way Free Agents

Note: Because he has finished each of the past two seasons on a two-way contract with the Heat, Cain’s qualifying offer would be worth his minimum salary (projected to be $2,093,637). That offer would include a small partial guarantee.

Draft Picks

  • No. 15 overall pick ($4,244,160 cap hold)
  • No. 43 overall pick (no cap hold)
  • Total (cap holds): $4,244,160

Extension-Eligible Players

  • Bam Adebayo (veteran)
  • Jimmy Butler (veteran)
  • Haywood Highsmith (veteran)
    • Extension-eligible until June 30.
  • Caleb Martin (veteran)
    • Player option must be exercised.
  • Duncan Robinson (veteran)
  • Terry Rozier (veteran)

Note: Unless otherwise indicated, these players are eligible for extensions beginning in July.

Unrestricted Free Agents

Other Cap Holds

Note: The cap holds for these players are on the Heat’s books from prior seasons because they haven’t been renounced. They can’t be used in a sign-and-trade deal.

Cap Exceptions Available

Note: The Heat project to operate over the cap and over the first tax apron. If they move below the first apron, they would gain access to the bi-annual exception ($4,681,000) and the full mid-level exception ($12,859,000) instead of the taxpayer mid-level exception and would regain access to their three trade exceptions (the largest of which is worth $9,450,000 and expires on July 8). If they surpass the second tax apron, they would lose access to the taxpayer MLE.

  • Taxpayer mid-level exception: $5,183,000