Heat's 2022 Free Agents, Targets and Draft Needs After NBA Playoff LossMay 30, 2022
Heat's 2022 Free Agents, Targets and Draft Needs After NBA Playoff Loss
A promising season for the Miami Heat has ended with a 100-96 loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Miami impressed during the regular season with a 53-29 record, earning the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Tyler Herro emerged as one of the top sixth men in the NBA, averaging 20.7 points per game while becoming a legitimate third star alongside Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. Kyle Lowry also seamlessly fit with his new team after coming from the Toronto Raptors, providing valuable leadership on the court while averaging a team-high 7.5 assists per game.
The good news is each of these players remain under contract for 2022-23, continuing the window of contention.
With several top playmakers on the roster and head coach Erik Spoelstra capable getting the most out the rotation, Miami should remain a team to beat next season. A few key offseason moves could be what's needed to get over the top.
P.J. Tucker, PF ($7.35 million)
Unrestricted Free Agents
Victor Oladipo, SG
Udonis Haslem, PF
Markieff Morris, PF
Dewayne Dedmon, C
Restricted Free Agents (Qualifying Offer Value)
Caleb Martin, SF ($1.8 million)
Kyle Guy, SG ($1.6 million)
Dru Smith, SG ($925,258)
Free-agent info via Spotrac
After signing Victor Oladipo to a one-year deal at the veteran minimum, it might be tough to keep him again at the same price. The guard appeared in just eight regular-season games while recovering from a quad injury, but he showcased his upside toward the end of the year with a 40-point effort against the Orlando Magic.
The two-time All-Star is still a risky bet this offseason considering he hasn't played in more than 40 games since 2017-18, but there could be enough teams willing to take a chance that it goes out of the Heat's price range.
Caleb Martin is another player who might draw too much outside interest after a strong 2021-22 season, averaging 9.2 points and 3.8 rebounds per game while shooting 41.3 percent from three-point range. The Heat would clearly like to keep the restricted free agent and will have a chance to match any cost, but his future with the team could depend on his offers from the outside.
P.J. Tucker also proved to be too valuable to let go, even at this stage of his career. If he turns down his player option, the Heat would likely be on the phone to figure out a new contract.
As for Udonis Haslem, it's clear his roster spot will be there as long as he chooses.
If the Heat are looking for a big name this offseason, there is no bigger available than Bradley Beal.
The three-time All-Star has a $37.2 million player option this offseason and can sign a five-year, $246 million contract extension with the Washington Wizards if he chooses. If he does want to leave, the Heat are considered a "legitimate suitor for Beal," Shams Charania of The Athletic reported in March.
Though it would take a sign-and-trade, Miami should do whatever it takes to accommodate a player who has averaged 29 points per game over the last three seasons.
The Heat would have a group of scorers that could match up with anyone in the NBA, while the perimeter scoring could be a perfect complement to Jimmy Butler in the backcourt. It could be enough to finally get over the top toward a title.
Beyond the top targets in free agency, Miami would benefit by adding frontcourt depth to take pressure off Bam Adebayo.
Young bigs like Kevon Looney and Thomas Bryant have plenty of upside, while proven veterans like Montrezl Harrell or Dwight Howard could be valuable depth pieces if available.
With the No. 27 pick in the first round, the Heat likely aren't getting a sure-fire superstar. However, there should be plenty of impact players available.
The team's strategy should be targeting players who can help right away in the rotation, putting the squad one step closer to a title.
One potential fit is Arizona center Christian Koloko, a defensive-minded big who can bring some much-needed size at 7'1", 230 pounds. The Cameroonian averaged 2.8 blocks per game and is an efficient finisher inside, which could help him battle Omer Yurtseven for frontcourt minutes right away.
Arkansas' Jaylin Williams can be a similarly effective defender at the next level, showing excellent mobility at 6'10" to handle NBA forwards and centers.
Point guard depth could be another target for Miami in the draft with no proven options behind Kyle Lowry.
Duke guard Trevor Keels would be a high-upside option if still on the board, showcasing the type of athleticism and finishing ability that could allow him to be a reliable scorer at the next level. Even if he sees limited minutes as a rookie, he could be a spark plug off the bench and a key part of the team's future.
A veteran like Andrew Nembhard of Gonzaga could be a safer option for the Heat if they want someone who can step in and run an offense off the bench.