With the Miami Heat’s 2018-19 season coming to an end, it’s time to look to the offseason. Gone is the distraction of Dwyane Wade’s farewell tour. Now lies the bitter ugly truth that the team is on an unknown path. Heat President, Pat Riley has long tried to keep Miami in contention for the playoffs by filling the roster with veterans, even at a cost.
Now this summer, there is an opportunity to open some space. However, it doesn’t begin with anything Riley can do, but the players. Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside both hold player options for next season. Dragic is slated to make $19.2 million, while Whiteside would be the highest salary on the team at $27 million.
Neither player made any commitment to opt-out, but they also did not guarantee they would opt-in. Surprisingly, Whiteside mentioned, after the final game, that he would strongly consider it. This, of course, sounds almost ridiculous though. If the center chose to hit the open market, it is doubtful he could fetch even half that price in this free agency class.
Whiteside will most likely opt-in. It is too much money to turn down, even if he wants a longer deal for security. Miami did their best to push him to the brink. Bringing him off the bench instead and limiting his minutes. The Heat have shown they can be just fine without him.
Dragic is a different story. He also hinted at considering the opt-out. He is a valuable asset to the team when healthy. The problem is he is never healthy. The Dragon is 32-years-old and past his prime. Could he get anything close to his opt-in price on the open market? Not likely. However, he could find a nicer role somewhere else and maybe a longer contract.
In the rare chance that both opt-out, the Heat would save up to $20 million. That’s something they could really use. James Johnson and Dion Waiters are another two contracts Miami would like to clear out, but that would require a trade that doesn’t seem likely at the moment.
With a few years of good lottery picks and slowly clearing space, the Heat can move into the post-Wade era the right way.