Riley has 2020 vision for Heat
Heat president confident he can upgrade for future
Heat President Pat Riley has big visions for the 2020 offseason. But will he also have the needed big money?
MIAMI — To his credit, Pat Riley thinks big.
And perhaps after 2010 and the creation of the Big Three skepticism should be put aside when it comes to the grand visions of the Miami Heat president.
But the math — at the moment (which is important) — hardly seems to support the supposition that the Miami Heat could possibly position themselves for two max (or at least major) free-agent additions in the 2020 offseason.
At the moment, the Heat are committed to $71.6 million in salary for
2020-21, when counting only James Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, Dion Waiters, Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow and Bam Adebayo.
That does not include the salaries of 2019 and ‘20 first-round picks, selections still held by the team.
The projected salary-cap for
2020-21, which certainly could change in the interim, is $118 million.
So the math doesn’t seem to add up.
But this also is the no-state-tax Heat, the mesmerizing eyes of Riley that can convince you to take a little less, and perhaps some upcoming magic from Andy Elisburg that makes salary melt away as it did on the eve of
2010 free agency with the maneuvering from Shawn Marion, Jermaine O’Neal, Marcus Banks and Daequan Cook, among others.
Riley and the Heat front office have the right to dream (and scheme), as Riley offered on his video presentation to season-ticket holders that the team released Wednesday.
“In 2020, we’ll have a lot of room,” he said. “We’ll also have the possibility to have enough room to go after two max contracts. And we’re going to do that. So, we’re planning that
2020 will be the room year.”
But here’s the rub: The NBA’s Class of 2020 when it comes to free agency basically is Anthony Davis . . . and precious little otherwise.
And considering we have been talking about Anthony Davis for months now, the odds he remains available on July 1, 2020, would be . . . ?
But if the Heat are to whittle away at what currently is on their 2020-21 books — “Want Goran Dragic for next season, then take one from column B (Johnson, Waiters, Olynyk) as well” — then this is where the 2020 offseason currently stands when it comes to the market, one that certainly could change if Class of ‘19 free agents take one-year deals:
Anthony Davis (player option):
Someone will trade for Davis this summer. The acquiring team certainly will want assurances about Davis resigning. But such assurances can be fleeting. (Just ask the Boston Celtics in the wake of Kyrie Irving’s loyalty pledge and retraction.)
Gordon Hayward (player option):
It certainly has not played out as expected in Boston. And the Heat were high on his list in 2017. But is the perception still of a max free agent?
A fascinating case study as an ultimate complementary piece. But the same impact without Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson alongside? Especially at this price point?
Draymond Green: DeMar DeRozan (player option):
DeRozan turns 31 in the 2020 offseason. Big money and big years at that stage seemingly would come with significant risk.
The Kawhi Leonard decision this summer certainly could impact the Toronto Raptors’ decisions going forward. But circling back to players of previous interest seems less likely, with Lowry to be 34 in the 2020 offseason and Ibaka 31.
Kyle Lowy, Serge Ibaka:
Like many who feasted amid the NBA’s previous cap-space binges, this could be a case of a willingness to take a pay cut. A nice piece, but hardly a centerpiece.
Otto Porter (player option):
Yes, the Philadelphia 76ers playmaker currently is listed as part of the 2020 class. But it is inconceivable a rookiescale extension doesn’t change that status.
Ben Simmons (restricted): Pascal Siakam (restricted), Dejounte Murray (restricted), Jamal Murray (restricted), Caris LeVert (restricted):
Again, valued restricted free agents don’t get away. They just don’t. And tying up cap space with offer sheets presents issues of its own.
Other notable 2020 restricted free agents:
Bogdan Bogdanovic, Jaylen Brown, Brandon Ingram, Domantas Sabonis, Dario Saric
Other notable players with 2020 player options:
Nicolas Batum, Evan Fournier, Andre Drummond, Tim Hardaway Jr.
Other notable unrestricted 2020 free agents:
Avery Bradley, Jordan Clarkson, Danilo Gallinari, Eric Gordon, Montrezl Harrell, Joe Harris, Andre Iguodala, Reggie Jackson, Andre Roberson,
In the lane Making memories:
Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he had Dwyane Wade on his mind when he stopped his team’s game against the Dallas Mavericks to make sure Dirk Nowitzki could receive a deserved ovation in case it proved to be the icon’s final visit. “I had a timeout. I didn’t plan it. I just felt like he deserved that,” Rivers said. “Against Miami, I thought we didn’t give Dwyane Wade the right sendoff. I wasn’t gonna let that happen again.” Rivers, of course, also was in the midst of a 121-98 loss to the shorthanded Heat on Dec. 12 at Staples Center, a game when Wade drained five 3-pointers. The reality on that night was that Wade already was looking ahead to the Heat’s next game, his lone game this season against LeBron James and the Lakers, having missed the team’s previous game in Miami in the wake of the birth of his daughter.
And then there was Devin Booker’s Wade takeaway after the Phoenix Suns’ Monday victory over Wade and the Heat. “He’s changed my life,” Booker told the Athletic, “especially being a shooting guard in that position, with that go-getter mentality that I like to claim to carry myself with.” The victory was an added bonus. “I beat Kobe on his last game when I played him, and beat D-Wade,” Booker said. “I’m gonna take that to the grave with me.”
More memories: Keeping up with Jones:
Speculation has James Jones’ time as the Suns’ personnel lead potentially coming to an end, a topic the former Heat championship forward found himself addressing on a radio appearance on Arizona’s Sports Station. “Like all things, people on the outside don’t know what goes on inside and they guess,” he said. “But it’s inaccurate.”
Even before the embrace he received upon his return to AmericanAirlines Arena, former Heat guard Tyler Johnson spoke of how he will never forget the time Chris Bosh committed to him when the two were sidelined for the second half of the 2016 season. “I always tell the story of when I actually hurt my shoulder and had to miss half the season and Chris Bosh went down with his clots, unfortunately that whole situation that happened,” Johnson recalled before his return in a Phoenix Suns jersey. “We actually spent those 40 games, before every single game he’d sit me down and we’d watch a whole NBA game. And I hated it at first, like I hated it. Because I had to watch a whole game, then I had to go watch our game. And during that, he is quizzing me. He’s asking me questions, ‘What about this? What about this? What do you think here? What are you thinking there?’ And at the time, it was like an overload of information, but I appreciated it.”
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, having been through the grinder that was the Heat’s Big Three, offered his appreciation of what Steve Kerr has handled during the Golden State Warriors’ dominance, noting how Kerr’s time as a championship player helped. “I think he’s handled it as well as anybody can handle it,” he said. “He’s been in that kind of storm probably his whole professional career. As a player he was in involved in those kind of teams. I think it just helped him mentally and emotionally be prepared for that kind of team.” He made a point also to add, “Nobody’s shedding any tears for them. We’ll all swap with them, any day.”
Additional thanks: Appreciation offered: NUMBER
Times the Heat have had three 20-point scorers in a game this season, with both against the Warriors, Wednesday’s victory at AmericanAirlines Arena (Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade, Josh Richardson) and the Feb. 10 loss at Oracle Arena (Richardson, Dion Waiters, Justise Winslow).