The Heat made no trade before Thursday’s trade deadline. Meanwhile, Heat forward Chris Bosh, sidelined all season because of a third blood clotting episode, on Thursday joined TNT as a studio analyst for the next five Mondays, reinforcing the belief that he has no intentions of playing this season.
Meanwhile, the Heat in March is expected to begin the process of clearing Bosh’s contract from its salary cap.
That would give the Heat not only an additional $25 million in cap space this summer, but substantial cap space this season if it chooses to bid on any veteran free agents who receive buyouts later this month.
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Players who were on an NBA roster this season must be released by March 1 in order to be playoff eligible.
The Heat was eligible to begin the cap-clearing process with Bosh on Feb. 9 but has waited partly because Bosh’s contract would go back on Miami’s cap if he plays 25 games with another team. Bosh has shown no interest in making a comeback this season.
On TNT, Bosh will appear alongside Chris Webber, Isiah Thomas and Baron Davis for five consecutive double-headers. TNT will use only former players in the booth and in the studio for those games.
The Heat would have an available roster spot only if it releases Bosh or another player.
The Heat also has a $1.3 million disabled player’s exception that it can use until March 10, a result of Justise Winslow’s season-ending shoulder injury.
Thursday’s deadline offered some level of clarity about the Heat’s cap space, which is expected to fall in the $38 million range if Bosh’s salary is removed (as expected), if Dion Waiters opts out of a deal that would pay him $3.1 million next season, if Willie Reed opts out of $1.5 million for next season and if the Heat terminate Wayne Ellington’s contract instead of paying him $6.3 million next season.
If all of those things happen, the Heat will enter the offseason with about $59 million in contract commitments for eight players for next season: Hassan Whiteside at $23.7 million, Goran Dragic at $17 million, McRoberts at $6 million, Tyler Johnson at $5.8 million, Winslow at $2.7 million and Josh Richardson, Rodney McGruder and Okaro White at each a bit more than $1 million.
With the cap expected to be $102 million,that would leave the Heat with $43 million, with anywhere between $2 million and $4 million allocated for a first-round draft pick, and another $2.4 million for three cap holds. (Every unfilled roster spot below 13 carries an $815,615 hit until it is filled).
This summer, the Heat also would have a $4.3 million exception which cannot be combined with cap space.
The Heat sat out the trade deadline for the first time in five years and Miami’s available assets were limited, because the only first-round pick that it is permitted to trade is in 2023 because of a rule prohibiting teams from trading picks in consecutive years.
The Heat has its first-round pick this season but its 2018 pick will go to Phoenix unless it is in the top seven.
The Heat also had only two available second-round picks to dangle, in 2022 and 2023.
Conversely, several upcoming Heat opponents reportedly made moves during the past two days:
• A 76ers/Mavericks trade means that center Dallas-bound center Nerlens Noel is expected to face the Heat for the third less in less than a month when Miami plays at Dallas on Monday. He had 19 points in the 76ers’ Feb. 11 win that snapped Miami’s 13-game winning streak.
The 76ers, who play at Miami on Wednesday, received center Andrew Bogut in the deal, but the 76ers reportedly will release him.
• The Heat has two remaining games, including their April 12 finale, against the Washington Wizards, who augmented their roster this week by acquiring Nets swingman Bogan Bogdanovic, who’s averaging a career-high 14.2 points.
The Heat enters its post All-Star break schedule at 25-32, two games behind No. 8 Detroit (which is playing Charlotte on Thursday) and three games behind No. 7 Chicago.
And the Bulls appear to have worsened their roster on Thursday by trading Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott for Jeffrey Lauvergne and Anthony Morrow.
WAITERS LOSING AGENT
• Heat guard Dion Waiters said he wasn’t surprised by the Lakers’ expected decision to hire his agent Rob Pelinka as general manager.
“At first, I didn’t believe anything until I heard from him,” Waiters said. “He called me. We talked about it. He told me to continue what I’m doing and everything will be fine.”
He said he plans to stay at Pelinka’s firm, Landmark Agency, though Pelinka obviously can no longer represent him. He is expected to be represented by Landmark’s Brandon Rosenthal.
“We’re building something,” Waiters said. “I don’t really like to start over. I’ve been there forever. My mom and everybody are comfortable. If we make changes, that’ll be later on. For right now, I’m not really worried about that.”
Come back shortly for a post with everything Pat Riley said in a 3 p.m. news conference.