For years, the Miami Heat have game planned for the 2021 free agency class. However, with Giannis Antetokounmpo signing his extension with Milwaukee, 2021 free agency is no longer attractive and all the planning has gone by the wayside. So what’s next for the Heat?
Maybe deep down Miami had serious doubts about Antetokounmpo becoming a free agent, especially considering they signed Bam Adebayo to a max extension this offseason. That extension meant the difference between entering 2021 with max money or somewhere close to $25 million available in cap space.
Still, Miami has the option of pursing a star free agent through sign-and-trade. However, when Victor Oladipo is the prize free agent, that sounds less appealing. Kawhi Leonard is still expected to be free agent but it is unlikely he leaves Los Angeles. Miami also has the option of adding high-impact players with their $25 million in cap space.
If Miami is going to make a run at a star it’s going to have to be via trade. With Antetokounmpo committing long term, it could be a while before a superstar talent becomes available. It’s still unknown if Bradley Beal will ask out of Washington at some point next year. The Wizards guard has stated plenty of times he wants to stay put.
One star player that is already available is James Harden, who has the Heat on his short list of preferred destinations. The Heat could build a package centered around Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, some fillers and picks. While he’s not the ideal culture fit, adding Harden would give Miami serious star power.
There is no doubt Pat Riley is hungry for another championship. Is it worth sacrificing your depth for a player who has fallen short of playoff expectations? That’s something the front office will have to decide before going all-in on Harden.
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