The Bucks‘ run to the NBA Finals might reveal what the Heat lacked this season, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. In addition to perpetual All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and occasional All-Star swingman Khris Middleton, Milwaukee added borderline All-Star guard Jrue Holiday to the mix this season. Holiday’s excellent two-way play and ball-handling abilities helped take Milwaukee to the next level.
The Heat, on the other hand, have two stars in Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, but currently lack a third two-way threat. Winderman notes that promising second-year guard Tyler Herro could become that player, but cautions that a healthy star-studded Nets team will most likely be the class of the East going forward, and that Miami must be ready with reinforcements.
There’s more out of the Sunshine State:
- After the Heat were swept out of the first round by the Bucks, it seemed apparent that offseason roster changes would be coming. Now, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel suggests that exactly what transpires could be predicated on how certain timing elements shake out. The club’s front office, led by team president Pat Riley, will have to decide on expensive team options for former All-Stars Goran Dragic, 35, and Andre Iguodala, 37, on August 1. The club holds a $15MM team option on Iguodala and a $19.4MM option on Dragic. If the club wants to use its 2028 first-round pick in any trade, it will have to wait until after the July 29 draft. If the Heat want to use role players Duncan Robinson or Kendrick Nunn as sign-and-trade fodder, the team will only be able to do so after August 6.
- Though he was up for the head coaching position with the Magic, Memphis head coach (and former four-time Orlando All-Star) Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway never seemed like a leading contender for the gig, opines Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel. Hardaway withdrew his name from consideration and opted to remain in the NCAA for now.
- Former Nets head coach and current Clippers assistant coach Kenny Atkinson, who oversaw a successful rebuild in Brooklyn, appears to not be one of the major candidates for the Magic head coaching job, writes Chris Hays of the Orlando Sentinel. Nuggets assistant Wes Unseld Jr., Spurs assistant Becky Hammon, Suns assistant Willie Green, Bucks assistant Charles Lee, and three assistants of now-former Magic coach Steve Clifford all will interview or have already interviewed for the job. Hays wonders why Atkinson’s name hasn’t also made the cut, given his track record as a solid coach adept at developing young talent.