The Heat don’t have any salary cap room remaining, but they do still have the $4.3 million room exception available to use.
An interesting name entered the picture Thursday, when the Spurs renounced the rights to 6-foot-6 wing Jonathon Simmons. Should the Heat try to sign Simmons with their exception?
We answer that question and more in the latest installment of the Heat mailbag.
@Jkw2017: Is there any possibility the Heat can sign Jonathon Simmons? Pat Riley said he would hold on to the $4.3 million room exception until something special popped up.
Anthony Chiang: I’m not going to lie, Jonathon Simmons intrigues me. But there’s one problem, most of his NBA minutes have come at shooting guard. According to Basketball Reference, 92 percent of his minutes have come at the two over his NBA career. That’s already a crowded position for the Heat, with Josh Richardson, Dion Waiters, Tyler Johnson, Rodney McGruder and Wayne Ellington on the roster. If Miami believes Simmons is an option at small forward, that changes things. With Justise Winslow as the only true small forward on the Heat’s roster, they need some more depth at this position. At 6-foot-6, Simmons has the height to play at the three. But his 195-pound frame could be an issue at small forward when he’s asked to defend players like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Jimmy Butler, Gordon Hayward, etc. Another issue … is Simmons willing to take $4.3 million? The 27-year-old made about $874,000 with the Spurs last season, so $4.3 million would be a nice raise. But don’t be surprised to see Simmons draw bigger offers from other teams.
@VictorV58432571: Do we have a bonafide star(s) on our roster? Who has superstar potential on the Heat roster this season?
Anthony Chiang: The obvious name is Hassan Whiteside. At 28 years old, he’s one of the top centers in the NBA and has All-Star potential. Aside from Whiteside, Goran Dragic is next in line. But at 31 years old, I’m not sure Dragic is going to get from “really, really good NBA player” to that “superstar level.” After Whiteside and Dragic, the Heat are hoping another player emerges as a star. Will it be Dion Waiters or James Johnson? Maybe Justise Winslow or Josh Richardson or Tyler Johnson takes a big step forward next season? And we still don’t know what Bam Adebayo will become. But this is what the Heat are lacking right now — a superstar.