With core of last year’s team returning, coach Erik Spoelstra says Miami Heat will “aim high”

Head coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat looks on from the bench while playing the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on March 6, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. Miami won the game 106-98. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Miami Heat got what they wanted.

The 2016-17 team that had the second-best record in the NBA the second half of the season will return virtually intact. Now the pressure is on the 2017-18 Heat to pick up where they left off last season.

“We’re going to aim high,” coach Erik Spoelstra said on a conference call from Africa. Spoelstra is participating in the NBA’s Basketball without Borders program.

“Ultimately we’ll find out when we start playing games. We love our group. We love the fact we were able to bring the majority of the team back together and add some guys we think can help.”

The Heat re-signed their top two free agents, forward James Johnson and guard Dion Waiters and added free agent forward/center Kelly Olynyk and first-round draft pick Bam Adebayo.

In addition, starting forward Justise Winslow returns healthy after playing just 18 games last season.

“I think it’s been pretty well-documented that everybody wanted an opportunity to bring the group back together,” Spoelstra said. “Nothing is guaranteed in this league. But the way the group and the team came together, connected and competed for each other, the group wanted an opportunity to explore this further.

“We were given that opportunity and I think everybody is pretty excited about it. You can feel it, you can see it. So we’re getting closer to training camp. We’re not there yet, but the guys are really excited about getting back to work officially.”

Training camp opens Sept. 26.

The 7-foot Olynyk adds versatility and size and helps make up for the loss of backup center Willie Reed, who signed with the Clippers. Olynyk will battle Johnson for the starting power forward position but more than likely will be a key piece to the second unit.

Spoelstra was asked what intrigued him about Olynyk.

“One, we respected his competitive spirit when we played against him and we felt that competitiveness fit our personality,” he said. “You never know until you end up coaching somebody, but our experiences against him were something that we really respected. And then secondly, his skill set is something that we think fits really well with the guys that we have.

“He’s a very skilled big that can do a lot of different things. He fits well into our positionless style of basketball because he can play with basically any combination of players. I think what he does highlights a lot of the strengths of guys that we currently have.”

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