The Miami Heat have a lot of decisions to make when free agency starts July 1. One of those is how much they will invest to try and bring back both James Johnson and Dion Waiters.
The Heat and both players have expressed a desire to return. Then what? What kind of money will be available to added another player or two?
We answer that and a draft question in today’s mailbag. If you weren’t able to ask a question this week, send your questions for future mailbags via Twitter (@Anthony_Chiang and @tomdangelo44).
From @OS_KeepinItReal: If the Heat re-sign James Johnson and Dion Waiters, what is left to sign another good player?
Listening to Pat Riley when he addressed the media following the season, it is clear he would love bring back both players.
On Johnson: “What James Johnson showed was another playmaker, a guy that could do a lot more than anybody ever thought he could do and he can get better.”
On Waiters: “Dion can create off the dribble and create space and get to areas of the court where you can get up shots in late clock situations. He’s going to become a better finisher, higher percentage as a finisher because he goes to the rack all the time.”
So let’s assume both return. The question then is at what price?
The guess is both could come back for $25 to $30 million. I think $25 is a little low but $30 is the max the Heat want to spend on both. Considering Miami will have around $38 million of cap space (that is without bringing back Wayne Ellington at his $6 million number) that still leaves interesting possibilities.
With $11-12 million remaining the Heat still could sign a very good rotational player and bring back Ellington on a new deal for say $12 million for three years. They probably would need another big man so possibly someone like Luc Mbah a Moute or Taj Gibson or Patrick Patterson. If they lose Ellington, perhaps they would pursue another guard. How good a story would it be if Tim Hardaway Jr. signed with the Heat?
But even if the number is somewhere around $8 million, the Heat should add a nice rotational player.
From @Jisspecial: What do you think of Terrance Ferguson?
Ferguson is virtually a lock to go in the first round and may even be gone when the Heat pick at No. 14. Checking nine mock drafts, including the Palm Beach Post’s, the highest anybody has him going is No. 13 to the Nuggets. Otherwise, he’s in the 16 to 25 range.
A 6-foot-7, 284 pound wing, Ferguson is another one-and-done guy, except his one was done in Australia, where he played after deciding to skip a year in college (he would have attended Arizona). Ferguson is quick, athletic and very skilled. He’s a good shooter, but can be streaky, and moves will without the ball. If he is available when the Heat are on the clock I believe they’ll go big. But even if they opt for a wing, I think there will be better options.