Spoelstra: “This season without question would be the growth of our young players”
The Miami Herald Heat mailbag is here to answer your questions.
@NonoAfterAll: Can we expect a trade during draft night? Move up? Give our pick to let a big contract go?
Anthony Chiang: I mean, anything is possible. The NBA doesn’t allow teams to be without consecutive future first-round picks, but the Heat is eligible to trade its first-round pick in this year’s draft because it also currently holds its 2020 first-round selection. The Heat’s first-round pick is technically available to trade, but does Miami want to trade another draft pick, which is an opportunity to add to its young core of previous picks (Bam Adebayo, Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow)? The Heat is finally in a good position when it comes to the draft, as it owns seven of its next eight first-round selections. The only one Miami doesn’t hold during this eight-year stretch is its 2021 first-round pick, which is now owed to the Clippers, through Phoenix and Philadelphia, from the 2015 Goran Dragic trade. That pick is unprotected.
If including this year’s first-round pick in a deal nets the Heat a star, then I’m sure it will be on the table. But just to get out of a big contract? Not sure about that one. By just remaining patient for one more year, the Heat will have enough cap space for a max player next offseason. Also, adding another player on a rookie-scale deal gives the Heat another chance at a value contract with the team looking to keep as much cap room free as possible during the next few years to be active participants in free agency and the trade market.
(Side note: The Heat is not allowed to trade its 2020 first-round pick because its 2021 first-round selection was already dealt. As previous mentioned, the NBA doesn’t allow teams to be without consecutive future first-round picks.)
@OninLaGuardia: Will the Heat benefit if Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside opt out of their contracts?
Anthony: If by benefit you mean open enough cap space to make a team-changing addition to its roster, it would take Dragic and Whiteside both opting out of their contracts this summer. That’s still considered unlikely. Even in this scenario where they both become free agents, the Heat would need to make additional moves to open up enough space to sign a max player. The bottom line is opening max-level space will be a challenge this offseason, which is why the 2020 and 2021 offseasons are still the most realistic for the Heat to make significant changes.