The Miami Heat won’t be a contender next season, maybe not even a playoff team. But they’ve worked quickly top bounce back from the massive exodus of veteran talent by re-signing Udonis Haslem, matching the offer sheet to Tyler Johnson, and signing Wayne Ellington, Derrick Williams and James Johnson.
The Heat have pretty much put the Big Three era behind them. Dwyane Wade leaving marks the end of a longer, bigger, more meaningful era altogether. Not just for the Heat, but for the city, as it’s biggest ever sports star (sorry Dan Marino) moves back to Chicago after Pat Riley made it clear to him that retaining him wasn’t a first or even secondary priority. It comes with a lot of uncertainty, and with limited flexibility, at least for now.
The Heat have Chris Bosh, with a dark cloud of the blood clot issue hanging over his head, maybe threatening his career. There’s Goran Dragic, who the Heat would love to move, and need a big season from him in order to make that kind of trade easier. There’s Hassan Whiteside, their new franchise player, or their most expensive one following his signing of a max contract, despite only 1 and a bit seasons of actually being a meaningful NBA player. And that’s about it. Probably not enough to do as well as last season, unless Bosh is healthy, and even then it’s doubtful.
Justise Winslow, Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson are the youth movement for this team. Not a bad one, but not a spectacular one. Complementing pieces, nothing more, although Johnson has the potential to be a pretty efficient scorer. Dragic returns to the solo point guard role he hasn’t had in quite a while, which will probably help him pad up his numbers, and probably play a more dominant role, without having to share the ball with Wade.
Ellington played for the Brooklyn Nets last season, averaging 7.7 points in 21.3 minutes a night. The 28-year old shooting guard is a decent shooter (35.8% from beyond the arc last year), but has had seasons of making over 42% of his three-point attempts. Johnson arrives after two years in Toronto. He played some garbage time playoff minutes last season, overall averaging 5 points and 2.2 rebounds during the regular season.
Williams continues to move around the league after a year in New York. The former number two overall pick averaged 9.3 points and 3.7 rebounds in 17.9 minutes a night while shooting 45% from the field. The Heat might be able to give him a slightly bigger role, which might help him finally resemble the kind of player Minnesota thought he’d be when they picked him after two spectacular years with Arizona.