MIAMI — After losing Dwyane Wade last offseason, the Heat were left with a big void to fill at the guard position.
One year later, some would say Miami has too many guards on its roster. After making long-term investments in Dion Waiters and Josh Richardson this offseason, what does the future hold for the rest of the guards on the Heat’s roster?
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).
@gabrielhg96: Does all the money invested in Josh Richardson and Dion Waiters mean the Heat will have incentive to move on from Tyler Johnson?
Anthony Chiang: By move on, you must mean trade Tyler Johnson away. Tyler is under contract with the Heat for the next three seasons. And just like with Josh Richardson and Dion Waiters, the Heat have a lot of money invested in Tyler, too. After making $5.9 million this upcoming season, Tyler’s annual salary will jump to around $19 million in each of the following two seasons. This means that between Tyler, Josh (signed four-year, $42 million extension that will start in 2018-19) and Dion Waiters (signed four-year, $52 million contract as a free agent this summer), the Heat have A LOT of money tied up at the guard spot. This is not counting the long-term money invested in point guard Goran Dragic. That’s a lot of salary cap space dedicated to the guard position. So yes, the Heat do now have the flexibility to trade one of these contracts away in order to create playing time for the others and free up some cap room. Tyler seems like the obvious trade candidate because his contract spikes to $19 million in 2018-19. But Tyler has also proven to be an effective sixth man and backup point guard for Goran. One way the Heat can justify spending all of this money on the guard spot is to move Josh to small forward. Don’t be surprised to see Josh playing the majority of his minutes at the three this season. He might even end up starting there, as he’s expected to compete with Justise Winslow and Rodney McGruder for the job. Or the solution might be just to trade one of these guards. We’ll see.
@Abell305: Will the Heat use their $4.3 million exception, and if so to target what?
Anthony Chiang: I would be surprised if the Heat didn’t use their exception. It’s a “use it or lose it” deal, so Miami shouldn’t let it go to waste. The exception expires following the last day of the regular season. Even if the Heat don’t use the exception before the season, they will have it in their pocket for an in-season acquisition when the right player becomes available. That could be Dwyane Wade if he’s bought out by the Bulls (yes, ANOTHER guard) or another available free agent. Let’s see how things develop during the season.