Mailbag: Why did the Heat go ‘all-in’ on a .500 roster?

MIAMI — After missing out on Gordon Hayward in free agency this summer, the Heat decided to bring back last season’s core. A core that led Miami to a 41-41 record.

Was it a good decision for the Heat to invest years and money into a .500 team? We answer that question and more in the latest installment of the Heat mailbag.

If you weren’t able to ask a question this time, send your questions for future mailbags via Twitter (@Anthony_Chiang and @tomdangelo44).

Miami’s James Johnson and Wayne Ellington celebrates during a victory in Detroit last season. (Photo by Getty Images)

Jason: I see most people are excited that the Heat are bringing back last season’s core … and bringing back last season’s core on long-term contracts. But I have a question. Why did the Heat go all-in on a .500 team?

Anthony Chiang: Good question. Pat Riley hasn’t exactly made a name for himself by investing in mediocre teams. But the Heat don’t see this as a .500 team. Riley and the rest of Miami’s front office believe in this roster. They believe last season’s 30-11 finish is a better indication of what this team is than the 11-30 start. This is why the Heat were compelled to sign Dion Waiters and James Johnson to four-year contracts, and why they felt they needed to retain Wayne Ellington. The front office believes this roster can compete for a top-four seed in the Eastern Conference and battle for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. After Gordon Hayward passed on the Heat to sign with the Celtics, this summer was about signing players to contracts that the Heat believe make them assets. Just take a look at what Riley said after free agency about the current roster: “I think the team deserves a chance to grow organically and I think even though we have some long-term contracts, they are assets. We don’t look at our players like assets, but they are assets. If something comes along somewhere along the way, there are opportunities to do other things. I don’t have plans to do that, but you need those kinds of assets.” So you may call it going all-in, but the Heat call it collecting assets. Assets that Miami can later use to help improve the roster via trade.

@iamtzamac: Is there any chance the Heat bring back Briante Weber?

Anthony Chiang: There’s a chance because the Heat have opened their doors to reunions in the past. But with so many guards already on the roster, the fit wouldn’t be great. Miami would like to keep the backup point guard spot open to help create some minutes for Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson, which means playing time would probably be hard to come by for point guard Briante Weber with the Heat. Weber’s skill set and ability to defend intrigues the Heat, though. So never say never …

[Former Heat center Willie Reed released after arrest in Miami on domestic violence charge]

[Former Heat forward Luke Babbitt signs for minimum with Hawks]

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