Last season, the Miami Heat exceeded everyone’s expectations as they rolled over to become the champions in the Eastern Conference. Coming into this off-season, they were seen as a top team for the free agents.
One of the biggest players linked with the Heat was 2-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. After a disappointing off-season by the Bucks, it was expected that the Greek Freak won’t sign the massive contract extension. The Heat was in the driving seat as a potential suitor.
But to everyone’s surprise, the 26-year-old signed the Supermax with Milwaukee. With Giannis signing an extension, what’s next for the Miami Heat?
1. Challenge for the Eastern Conference with the current roster and wait for the 2021 off-season
The Heat had a great 2019-20 season, and there were three young players in the center of it- Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro, and Bam Adebayo. This trio, along with their talismanic leader Jimmy Butler, are vital for the Heat’s success.
The Heat has already signed Adebayo with a massive 5-year contract worth $163 million. Given the season, he has had, it’s not a surprise that the team wants to build around the 21-year-old.
Tyler Herro had a great rookie season and showed that he can be a great attacking threat. His output increased significantly in the playoffs. He has shown great promise as a rookie, and next season we might see him as the Heat’s go-to guy offensively.
Duncan Robinson has also shown how lethal of a shooter he is. He was the fourth best shooter in the NBA, averaging 44.6% from the field.
Miami has also made some moves, like bringing in Avery Bradley from the Lakers. Bradley will replace Jae Crowder, who signed with the Phoenix Suns. Bradley is a great defensive point guard and also a decent shooter of the ball, making him an ideal replacement for Crowder.
Jimmy Butler has emerged as the leader for the side. He stepped up in the playoffs, single-handedly won them two games against the eventual champions, the Lakers. After years of scrutiny, Butler has found his home in Miami. He will be eager to lead this trio and challenge for the Eastern Conference finals.
Despite missing out on the Greek Freak, the 2021 free-agency is still a loaded class. There are players like Kawhi Leonard and Chris Paul, who will have a player option at the end of 2020-21 season.
The Heat will hope that some of these players opt out of their player options. This will cement their positions as the favorites to bring in a superstar like Kawhi or Paul.
For now, the Heat might stick with their young guns to develop and compete for the Eastern Conference.
2. Miami Heat Trade for James Harden
Recently, reports emerged that James Harden had added the Heat as one of his preferred destinations. The Eastern Conference Champions have a pool of talented young stars, but when you have a player of Harden’s capability available in the market, it’s hard to say no.
Harden arguably has one of the best scorers in the NBA. He has led the league in scoring for three seasons in a row. The attacking talent he brings to any team is just on a whole new level.
The Heat recently extended Bam Adebayo’s contract, so they won’t be giving him up in the trade. The other player that they can use as the centerpiece of the trade is Tyler Herro, who has had a fantastic rookie season.
He even impressed everyone with some of his performances in the playoffs and can be a great trade asset. The Heat can trade Herro, Kendrick Nunn, Kelly Olynyk and Andre Iguodala along with two first round picks of 2025 and 2027 for James Harden.
Given the performances of all these players last season, it will be very hard for the front-office to trade them but a big Three of Harden, Adebayo and Butler sounds enticing.
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