Miami Heat

Mailbag: What’s next for the Heat after adding Jimmy Butler?

‘I’m still chasing another championship,’ says Pat Riley

Pat Riley speaks about his future with the Miami Heat during an interview with Dan Le Batard on ESPN's SportsCenter.
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Pat Riley speaks about his future with the Miami Heat during an interview with Dan Le Batard on ESPN's SportsCenter.

The Miami Herald Heat mailbag is here to answer your questions.

If you weren’t able to ask this time, send your questions for future mailbags via Twitter (@Anthony_Chiang). You can also email me at achiang@miamiherald.com.

@mikeryangoat: Clearly we aren’t getting a No. 2 this offseason. What is the plan to get Jimmy Butler help?

Anthony Chiang: To be persistent. Whether it takes days, months or even years, expect the Heat to remain on the hunt for a second established star to pair with Jimmy Butler. The Heat pitched Butler on becoming the first established star to join the current roster, with the understanding the organization would be aggressive in trying to add another, according to a league source.

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The Heat was in on a possible trade for Russell Westbrook in July, and Oklahoma City just wanted more than Miami was willing to offer. Also, Wizards guard Bradley Beal has been a popular name among Heat fans lately, although he has not yet demanded a trade from Washington. Beal can become a free agent in 2021. And there are sure to be other names who will turn into possibilities during the next two years, just because that’s how the NBA goes. Whether it’s the prior situations of Anthony Davis, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving or Westbrook, things change fast in the NBA. And often times, those changes are unexpected.

If the Heat can’t land a second star through a trade, Miami would be able to open maximum-level cap space in the 2021 offseason. Along with Beal, the potential 2021 free agent class includes Giannis Antetoukounmpo, Gordon Hayward, Victor Oladipo, Andre Drummond, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Rudy Gobert. Also, LeBron James, Blake Griffin, George and Leonard have player options to become free agents in the summer of 2021. But it makes sense for Miami to make the big addition sooner rather than later, with Butler turning 30 in September.

Just know Miami is aware that it will take multiple stars to win at the highest level, like when the Heat traded for Shaquille O’Neal to pair with Dwyane Wade to win a title in 2006 and when the Heat brought the Big 3 together to win titles in 2012 and 2013.

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@AR1ST0KOUNMPO: Do we see Tyler Herro in the Heat’s starting lineup by the end of the season?

Anthony: It’s possible., but I would be somewhat surprised if Tyler Herro is in the Heat’s starting lineup at the beginning of the season. With Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters and Justise Winslow expected to be ahead of Herro in the perimeter rotation to start the year, Herro will have to pass at least one of them to have a shot at starting. An injury to one of the guards could also bump Herro into a starting role.

But in the end, whether Herro is starting or not doesn’t matter. As a first-round pick who fills a need with his outside shooting, he’s expected to get immediate playing time in his rookie season.

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Anthony Chiang covers the Miami Heat for the Miami Herald. He attended the University of Florida and was born and raised in Miami.
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