Bad, bad summer for us, is part of what Pat Riley texted to the media in reaction to the Dwyane Wade departure, leaving the Miami Heat for the Chicago Bulls. Riley of course had a lot of good things to say about Wade and what he’s achieved with the team over the last 13 years. But the bottom line is this: The Heat are screwed.
Miami went into the offseason with two goals in mind: Re-sign Hassan Whiteside, but the most important one was luring Kevin Durant away from the Oklahoma City Thunder. They failed with Durant, and re-signed Whiteside on a four-year, $98 million contract. Now, moving a bit too slowly, they lost the opportunity to add other impact players to the team, and tried to lowball Wade, with what was reported as $10 million for one season. Wade started shopping himself around, and the Heat improved their offer to $40 million over two seasons. It wasn’t enough. He had a $52 million, two-year offer from the Denver Nuggets, but chose to join the Bulls, returning to his hometown of Chicago, for $47 million over two years.
The Heat didn’t add anyone via the draft (had no picks). This is their current roster for the 2016-2017 season, with their cap hits:
|Hassan Whiteside||C||Cap Space||$22,116,750||–||–||–||–||($98,419,538)||$22,116,750||23.49|
|Josh McRoberts||PF||Cap Space||$5,782,450||–||–||–||–||($11,803,625)||$5,782,450||6.14|
|Josh Richardson||SG||Mini MLE||$874,636||–||–||–||–||–||$874,636||0.93|
|Briante Weber||SG||Mini MLE||$874,636||–||–||–||–||($218,659)||$874,636||0.93|
The Heat can make changes, but not big ones. They lost Luol Deng and Joe Johnson, not really pursuing them while waiting for Durant to make up his mind. They have some options to spend, but without a lot of talent to spend it on. David Lee, Ty Lawson, Lance Stephenson, Kevin Martin, Josh Smith, J.J. Hickson, Dion Waiters, J.R. Smith (still available), Derrick Williams, Alan Anderson, Marreese Speights. There are more. Not bad players. Some of them are looking for a lot of money, despite their low market value and demand. None of them are players the Heat would be interested to have on the team for more than one season.
Bosh might end up retiring. His blood clot risk is something very concerning, and despite his desire to keep on playing, doctors and the team might be trying to persuade him to hang up his jersey. Whoever the Heat sign, it’s going to look very different to what they envisioned when they set out into free agency, hoping to end up with a championship contender, not a team that looks like, well, nothing comprehensible, and is now very far away from contending.
If Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra were looking for a challenge, this is a big one. Turning this group into something worthwhile, even in the East. The Heat did a good job of bouncing back from the LeBron James departure, making the conference semifinals last season. This year was supposed to be the next leap, but in the jungle that is the free agency period under the new salary cap, the Heat lost, and big time. They can’t move Bosh, probably not Whiteside either (not this season). It’s a strange new world in Miami, one without the face of the franchise for the last 13 years. One without a lot to be hopeful about, at least right now.