2017 Miami Heat Free Agency Primer: What you need to know about the Heat’s salary cap situation

MIAMI — With free agency upon us, here’s a look at the Heat’s salary cap situation.

The NBA has reportedly set the salary cap for the 2017-18 season at $99,093,000, and Miami is expected to have about $35 million in cap space this summer once Chris Bosh’s contract is removed from its books. Continue reading “2017 Miami Heat Free Agency Primer: What you need to know about the Heat’s salary cap situation”

2017 Free Agency Preview: Is there more pressure than usual on the Heat to get it right this summer?

Miami Heat NBA basketball team president Pat Riley talks to the media during a season ending press conference in Miami, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald via AP)

With free agency set to start at 12 a.m. on Saturday morning, we took a look at the biggest free-agent questions surrounding the Heat. Today we ask: Is there pressure on the Heat to make the most of their cap space this summer? See below for the other questions we addressed.

[Monday’s question: Should the Heat forget about ‘whales’ and bring back last season’s core?]

[Tuesday’s question: What will it take for the Heat to re-sign James Johnson?]

[Wednesday’s question: Can the Miami Heat find a way to keep Dion Waiters?]

[Thursday’s question: What mid-level free agents should the Heat pursue?]

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As the Heat prepare to attack free agency, it’s important to remember that $35 million in cap space doesn’t come around often.

With Chris Bosh’s salary expected to be removed from Miami’s books and a bunch of players like James Johnson, Willie Reed and Dion Waiters on short-term contracts that have them hitting free agency this offseason, the Heat have room to spend this summer. Miami will enter free agency with about $35 million in cap space.

That’s enough to sign sought after free agents like Gordon Hayward or Blake Griffin to a max contract with a 2017-18 salary of $29.7 million. And if the Heat aren’t able to convince a big-name free agent to come to Miami, they should still have enough cap space to re-sign Johnson and Waiters to bring back last season’s core.

In other words, the Heat have financial flexibility this summer. But if things go as planned this offseason, Miami probably won’t have much room to spend next year.

Once Bosh is removed from the Heat’s cap, they will have about $66 million invested in their 2018-19 roster — Hassan Whiteside ($25.4 million), Tyler Johnson ($19.2 million), Goran Dragic ($18.1 million) and Justise Winslow ($3.4 million team option that’s expected to be picked up by the Heat).

The NBA’s salary cap, which is projected to be at $99 million this offseason, is expected to make a small jump to $103 million for the 2018-19 season. That probably won’t leave the Heat with much space to operate next summer.

Consider this: If the Heat sign a max player or just decide to bring back Johnson and Waiters on multiyear contracts this summer, that will likely count as an additional $22-$30 million in 2018-19 cap commitments. Add in retaining Josh Richardson, who could become a restricted free agent next summer, and the Heat will have very little room to maneuver in free agency next year.

That’s not optimal, considering LeBron James, DeMarcus Cousins, Isaiah Thomas, Paul George, Russell Westbrook and LaMarcus Aldridge can all become free agents in 2018.

But this issue won’t stop the Heat from spending money this summer. Whether it’s signing Johnson and Waiters to multiyear deals or offering Gordon Hayward or Blake Griffin a maximum contract, don’t expect Miami to save for next year.

If the Heat really feel like they can lure one of the top 2018 free agents to Miami, they can always create cap space by trading away players. For now, Miami must try to make the most of $35 million in cap space.

[Add ‘culture’ to the Miami Heat’s list of selling points in free agency]

[Heat have balancing act to consider early in free agency]

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Hoping the Heat can restructure Wayne Ellington’s contract to create additional cap space? Here’s why that’s not a feasible option

MIAMI — There are ways the Heat can manipulate the salary cap to free up additional money to spend this summer.

But restructuring Wayne Ellington’s contract to keep him on the roster while also creating more cap space is not among the feasible options. Although this strategy has been brought up, there’s one problem that will likely prevent the Heat from using it. Continue reading “Hoping the Heat can restructure Wayne Ellington’s contract to create additional cap space? Here’s why that’s not a feasible option”

Are the Miami Heat in position to sign a max player in 2017?

Miami Heat president Pat Riley (AP Photo/ Pat Carter)
Miami Heat president Pat Riley (AP Photo/ Pat Carter)

The Heat picked financial flexibility over Dwyane Wade.

After missing out on Kevin Durant, Miami’s top priority this offeason has been to preserve cap space for next summer. So it’s not a surprise the Heat built their 15-man roster with short-term contracts.

[Tim Duncan retires: His link to the Miami Heat]

[Despite messy breakup, Dwyane Wade still loves Pat Riley]

Miami currently has about $91 million invested in 11 players for the 2017-18 season. With the salary cap projected to jump to $102 million next summer, that would leave the Heat with about $11 million of cap space. Continue reading “Are the Miami Heat in position to sign a max player in 2017?”