The Miami Heat have a long summer ahead and so far there has been plenty of talk about who is staying and who is going. And while there are at least four players who own hefty contract, the question now is who will team president Pat Riley and head coach Erik Spoelstra target in NBA Free Agency.
One player that has been linked to the Heat is JR Smith. The temperamental forward’s NBA career is in limbo right now although the word out is that the 33-year-old swingman is likely to hook up with another team this summer. The Heat have been mentioned although his eventual stay in South Beach is questioned. According to Fansided, this could be nothing more than a salary-designed trade since Miami could free up almost $12 million in salary relief should they end up waiving him before June 30. This is largely in part of the non-guaranteed nature of his contract.
But of course, this is only one of many possibilities that the Heat could consider. There is a possibility that Riley could end up keeping Smith considering the one-time NBA champion can shoot the lights out if he keeps his head in the game. This depends on the available spots on the Miami Heat roster and which players may be released or traded in the summer.
So far, the names of Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside, Dion Waiters, and James Johnson have been mentioned as the Heat players that may be moving by NBA Free Agency. The fate of Dragic and Whiteside still depends on whether both will opt in on the final year of their deals. The belief is that both will opt in although their tenure may not hinge on that decision. Miami stands to save about $75 million in salaries if they find a way to unload these four players. Much of this was covered in a previous post.
Riley is likely planning ahead as he tries to overhaul the roster and restore order in South Beach. LeBron James, someone who may reportedly ask for a trade if the Los Angeles Lakers do not shape up, has been linked as well. Trading the four players (Dragic, Whiteside, Waiters, and Johnson) could make sense for both teams although there are underlying issues tied up to the relationship of James and Riley. If it materializes, the manpower haul could work for the Lakers although not all may be retained since the purple and gold will retain only the sensible players fit for the team.