After an unexpected run to the NBA Finals, the Miami Heat are re-tooling for another run. Although they haven’t acquired Giannis Antetokounmpo or another NBA superstar, they’ve made enough big moves to keep them in the title picture.
The Heat will still be popular in the Florida sports betting circles as one of the favourites to emerge from the East.
Keep a close eye on Miami as they aren’t done yet though we look and analyze at all the signings they’ve done these past few weeks:
The Heat’s best deals
Miami may not have lured a certain superstar yet, but their best moves came in the form of securing two key players to their championship run plus getting the best fit during the draft.
Signing Bam Adebayo to max rookie contract extension (A)
Although Miami tried to get Adebayo to wait, namely to structure his contract to allow for signing another max player like Antetokounmpo, they knew they had to secure their franchise cornerstone.
Adebayo signed to the tune of $195 million over five years for an AAV of $39 million. The Kentucky product broke out last season posting 15.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.3 blocks in 33 minutes.
Most importantly, Adebayo is the centerpiece of this team. He anchors the team’s defense and is continually evolving as an offensive playmaker.
At just 23, Adebayo can grow into a multiple time all-star and one of the best big men of his generation. This contract proves Miami is all-in on Adebayo even if it comes at the expense of other superstars.
Signing Goran Dragic to two-year extension (A)
Next to Adebayo, Dragic was the next crucial piece Miami needed to lock up and they not only did that but did so at a discounted price.
The former All-Star signed a two-year deal for just $37.4 million with the second year being a team option.
Dragic was arguably the best Sixth Man last season posting averages of 16.2 points and 5.1 assists in 59 games. In the bubble, Dragic averaged 19.1 points a game and will continue to be one of the team’s main scoring options.
Drafting Precious Achiuwa with the no. 20 pick (B+)
“God’s gift Achiuwa about to make a pass at Madison Square Garden” by Marianne O’Leary is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Few front offices can match the drafting prowess of the Heat as they scored another homerun in taking Memphis’s Precious Achiuwa.
The 6’9” forward is a defensive specialist and will slot in as a back-up PF. While his offensive game leaves plenty to be desired, coach Erik Spoelstra and his staff are used to molding specimens like Achiuwa.
While point guard was a bigger need for the Heat, Achiuwa has significant upside and could form one of the most defensively threatening frontcourts with Butler and Adebayo.
Secondary deals for the Heat
The biggest splash Miami made was in re-signing Adebayo. But they didn’t lay low in free agency and made some solid under-the-radar signings.
Signing Avery Bradley to a two-year contract (B+)
Miami bolstered their guard corps by adding Bradley, a two-time All-Defensive team standout. Bradley didn’t participate in the NBA bubble but was on a roll offensively averaging 10.9 points while shooting over 45% from deep in his final 17 games with the Lakers.
Bradley will be epitome of “3-and-D” and will slot in nicely as an alternative option to either Duncan Robinson or Tyler Herro.
Signing Maurice Harkless to a one-year contract (B)
Losing both Derrick Jones Jr. and Jae Crowder stings, but the Heat mitigated the losses by acquiring veteran Moe Harkless via their biannual exception. This means the Heat get the services of the eight-year pro at a discounted rate of just $3.6 million.
Harkless provides the Heat the ability to play both forward positions with some shooting on offense. He will fit in nicely behind Butler, Leonard, and Achiuwa.
Signing Meyers Leonard to a multi-year contract (B-)
Miami wasted little time in bringing back Leonard, inking him to a two-year deal north with a rough AAV of $9 million, which includes a no-movement clause and a team option for the second year akin to Dragic’s.
Although Leonard fell out of the rotation, he’s the quintessential backup 5 and spells Adebayo from the rigorous season. There were other free agent bigs the Heat could’ve gone for, but the team loves Leonard and that fosters better continuity in the group.
Bringing back Udonis Haslem (Off the board)
While Haslem will be taking up that roster spot instead of a hungrier two-way guy, there is no Heat culture without Haslem. Expect to see the 40-year-old as a coach soon. But for now, Haslem rides for one more year.