The Miami Heat will have options when it comes to free agency.
The Heat can spend most of their money on a free agent looking for max money. They can chose to go all in on their own free agents. They can opt for a combination: bring back one of their free agents and sign another who could fill a starting role.
So which direction is the most likely? We answer that in today’s Heat mailbag. If you weren’t able to ask a question this week, send your questions for future mailbags via Twitter (@Anthony_Chiang and @tomdangelo44).
From: @AsherWildMan6: After the so called “whales” are signed, can’t Miami with the cap space they have set the tone for who gets what in free agency? In other words, after Gordon, Blake, Lowry, those guys are signed wouldn’t Miami have most money left to sign guys they want in “their” range of what they want to pay? Can anyone really give Waiters Luol Deng money other than Miami this year? Seems Miami has upper hand in free agency this year.
The Heat are projected to have around $38 million in cap space once Chris Bosh is off the books. The only team expected to have more is Philadelphia. Teams will find ways to add space but the problem is there just are not that many “whales” that will be worth pursuing and many of those will re-sign with their old team, eating up most of their cap room. So, yes, once those elite players are gone and assuming the Heat do not sign a player like Gordon Hayward or Blake Griffin, Miami will be in great shape.
Miami will have plenty of options when it comes to the non-max players, starting with making offers to their own free agents, James Johnson and/or Dion Waiters. If either receives an offer that the Heat are not willing to match, players like Danilo Gallinari or Serge Ibaka could become options.
As for Waiters, I still believe somebody is willing to offer him a nice four year deal, and maybe even for $18 million a year like Deng got from the Lakers last season. My guess is the market will start at $15 million a year for Waiters but he’ll sign for more whether it’s with Miami or somewhere else. Remember, it only takes one.
From: @ChrisHypeTrain: Is there a better chance the heat spend their money on a max free agent or re-sign Dion Waiters and JJ?
How about both? Okay, that might be a stretch. But signing one max free agent like Gordon Hayward and re-signing James Johnson is possible, although it would take some creative salary cap maneuvering by GM Andy Elisburg.
But the more likely scenario is the Heat re-sign both Waiters and Johnson and then find a solid rotational player with the remaining money, especially because there won’t be many franchise-altering super stars on the market. Of course, there is the possibility that one of the two re-sign, which could still leave the Heat with $20 to $24 million to add a high quality starter.