Miami Heat Faced With Another Impending Roster Decision. What Are Some Options?


Even with the NBA’s trade deadline in the past, the Miami Heat has at least one more roster decision to make before the end of the season.

© David Santiago/Miami Herald/TNS Miami Heat guard Duncan Robinson reacts after Heat center Bam Adebayo hits the winning shot over Brooklyn Nets forward Jeff Green in the fourth quarter at the AmericanAirlines Arena on Sunday, April 18, 2021 in Miami, Florida.

With 14 players currently on standards contracts, the Heat can sign one additional player on a veteran minimum deal to reach the league-maximum of 15 allowed on a roster and still remain below the luxury-tax line starting Monday. Miami stands just about $314,000 below the luxury-tax threshold after signing veteran center Dewayne Dedmon for the remainder of the season on April 8.

Monday is important because its the first day the Heat can sign a 15th player to a prorated veteran minimum contract and still avoid the luxury tax. The Heat entered this season with the expectation that it would not cross the luxury-tax line after finishing last season as a tax team, and the threat of the more punitive repeater tax (when a team is over the tax at least three times over a four-year period) looming.

Once/if the Heat signs a 15th player, its playoff roster will likely be set because it will be up against the tax threshold and its roster will be full with the NBA-maximum of 15 standard contracts and two two-way contracts.

For a player added by the Heat to be playoff eligible, he needed to have been waived by his previous NBA team by the April 9 deadline. The exception to this rule is if the player was on a 10-day contract, not a standard contract, after that deadline because such players retain playoff eligibility.

Of course, a player who has been out of the NBA for the entire season is also still eligible to be signed by the Heat and participate in the playoffs.

Among the playoff-eligible veterans currently available for teams to sign are Isaiah Thomas, Gerald Green, Shabazz Napier, Emmanuel Mudiay, Jamal Crawford, Glenn Robinson III, Allen Crabbe, Quinn Cook, Marquese Chriss, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Justin Jackson, Joe Johnson, Patrick McCaw, Thon Maker, Ian Mahinmi, Greg Monroe, Jeremy Lin and a familiar face in Dion Waiters.

Austin Rivers and Jabari Parker were also free agents, but Rivers is expected to soon sign with the Denver Nuggets and Parker recently signed with the Boston Celtics.

With just four weeks remaining in the regular season, one option is to sign a 15th player sooner rather than later to give him as much as time as possible with the team before the playoffs.

But the Heat could also delay the signing until it knows whether guard Victor Oladipo will return this season. Oladipo is out indefinitely because of right knee soreness and Miami could use its open roster spot to add guard depth if he’s unable to return.

The final roster spot could also go to a developmental young player who could be offered a guaranteed contract for the rest of this season, and then a partially guaranteed or non-guaranteed salary in future seasons. Miami used this strategy when it signed Kendrick Nunn on the final day of the 2018-19 season.

The Heat currently has 16 players on its roster who are postseason eligible because the NBA recently changed the rules to allow for two-way contract players to participate in the playoffs during this pandemic-altered season. But Miami does have the option to use its final roster spot to convert one of its two two-way contract players, Gabe Vincent and Max Strus, to a standard deal.


Center Kelly Olynyk will spend his birthday in Miami playing against his former team.

The Heat dealt Olynyk to the Houston Rockets on March 25 as part of the trade package to acquire Oladipo, and the Rockets and Heat will face off for the first time since that deal on Monday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.

“It’s a good opportunity,” said Olynyk, who turns 30 on Monday. “I look forward to being back there. Another opportunity to grow and play a basketball game in this league. ... For me, I’ll go out there and try to win a game. It is what it is. We’ll see what happens.”

Olynyk has played well since joining the Rockets, as he entered Sunday averaging 18.1 points while shooting 60.3 percent from the field and 41.7 percent on threes, 7.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 12 games (nine starts) with Houston. But the struggling Rockets posted a 2-10 record in those games.

“It’s just a different role, but it has been a great opportunity for me to go out there and play,” Olynyk said. “Help these young guys and help this team in a different way than my role was in Miami. Just be someone these young guys can lean on, talk to and grow with. For me, just go out there and try to help us and make a positive impact on the floor and on this team. I’ve enjoyed it. We have a great group of guys, great staff and everybody has been so welcoming.”

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