First off the Miami Heat are not getting Kyrie Irving…
Just get over it. Remember the old saying that your parents or mentors use to tell you: If it’s too good to be true, then it is. That’s the exact same situation with Miami and the possibility of adding Kyrie Irving. In order to possibly entice Cleveland into sending Kyrie to Miami, Miami must offer at LEAST Goran Dragic, Justise Winslow, and maybe a future draft pick that Miami doesn’t have. Because of the Big-3 era and the Goran Dragic trade, Miami’s draft picks will be slim until approximately 2022. Miami doesn’t have a flexible base of youngsters to risk sending away. Which explains the course of action Miami took this off-season.
If you could describe Miami’s off-season in one word, what would it be? CORE. Maintaining the core is exactly what Miami did. Besides a few hits and misses in free-agency, I’d give Miami a B- this summer. Heat fans should have nothing to complain about as the franchise has a solid .500 or better roster currently. The Heat also finally eliminated Chris Bosh’s awful contract.
Miami also traded away the infamous Josh McRoberts for Aj Hammond and a 2023 second-round pick. This allowed for the installment of players who suited Spoelstra’s system such as Kelly Olynyk, Bam Adebayo, and rookies Derrick Walton and Matt Williams.
In the NBA’s 2017 Summer League, Bam Adebayo and Okaro White did not disappoint. Okaro White led the Summer League in points with 19 and was top-5 in rebounds with 8. Bam Adebayo looks like an absolute steal as the 14th pick. Adebayo has displayed a high motor and above the rim skills. He also has the ability to score and showcased a face-up game that we didn’t really show at Kentucky. He averaged 17.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, 1 steal, and 1 assist per outing.
Adebayo told reporters,
“Any game that’s physical, I like it.”
Erik Spoelstra and the Heat have also allowed Dion Waiters and James Johnson to revitalize their careers. Even though Waiters only averaged about 16 points per game this past season, he was on track to average over 20 points per game during the second half of the season before he became inactive with an ankle injury. As a viewer, you could immediately tell the difference in the swagger and style Miami played after Waiter’s injury. James Johnson, around the same time as Waiters, seemed to catch fire as well in the latter half of the season. His effect on the floor goes beyond the stat sheet. You have to watch the tenacity in which he played this past season. I saw Johnson control and eliminate DeMarcus Cousins out of more than a few plays in Miami. He’s a lot stronger than what some give him credit for.
Wayne Ellington has become a lethal, system shooter. Justise Winslow looks to pick his career up where he left it after dropping 20+ points on the Lakers around Christmas time. Because of Josh Richardson’s value is set to cash in with a huge payday (four-year $43 million extension) and that is not something I would waste time with either. Tyler Johnson and Rodney McGruder still serves as capable backups (even though Tyler Johnson is way overpaid). The addition of Kelly Olynyk (four-year $50 million contract) serves as a solid pickup. He’s a tough, competitive, stretch big man. His best performance was in last season’s playoffs where he scored 27 points in Game 7 against the Washington Wizards.
All these moves all the more confirm that after Miami couldn’t reel in any free agency whales like Gordon Hayward, they felt comfortable enough with the core group they’ve got.
“I think the team deserves a chance to grow organically,” said Heat President Pat Riley.
“I think it’s been pretty well documented that everybody wanted an opportunity to bring the group back together. Nothing is guaranteed, obviously, in this league, but the way the group and the team came together, connected and competed for each other, that the group wanted an opportunity to explore this further and we were given that opportunity, I think everybody obviously is pretty excited about it. We’re going aim high and ultimately we’ll find out when we start playing games. But we love our group. We love the fact that we were able to bring the majority of the team back together and add some guys that we think can help,” said Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra (via Barry Jackson).