Miami Heat 2024 Free Agency: Who stays, who goes?

Heat
Haywood Highsmith and Caleb Martin are two of the Heat’s top free agents this offseason. (Photo by Eric Espada/NBAE via Getty Images)

We are one day away from the start of the 2024 NBA Free Agency period, where the Miami Heat currently have more questions than answers. Each year, I do a column projecting on which Heat free agents will stay, and which will go. Without further ado, let’s dive into it!

(Editor’s note: These are predictions … NOT reports!)

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Player Options:

Caleb Martin ($7.1M)

Skinny: It’s been previously reported that Caleb Martin will decline his player option and seek a bigger contract elsewhere, where he’ll have “tons of interest” leaguewide.

Martin, 28, has spent the last three seasons with the Heat. After coming off a phenomenal playoff run, he averaged a career-best 10.0 points on 43.1 percent shooting and 34.9 percent from 3-point range last season. He dealt with knee tendinosis at the start of his season and had his worst season in Miami defensively and as a decision-maker.

Barring something unforeseen, I expect both parties to part ways on good terms.

Verdict: Sign elsewhere

Kevin Love ($4.0M)

Skinny: Love had a bounce-back full season with Miami last year, posting 8.8 points and 6.1 rebounds on 44.0 percent shooting and 34.4 percent from 3-point range. He was one of the NBA’s top backup bigs and was Miami’s most effective rebounder, hauling down a team-best 20.7 percent of the team’s misses, including 34.5 percent on the defensive end.

Unless he received (at least) the taxpayer midlevel ($5.5M) elsewhere, Love would take a pay cut of nearly $700K if he opted out of his current player option. He’s not going to retire, and I think he’s proven to be a valuable veteran leader in the locker room.

Verdict: Opts in

Josh Richardson ($3.1M)

Skinny: Richardson exercised his option before publishing; it also makes sense since he’s coming off a serious season-ending injury. He averaged 9.9 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists, shooting 44.4 percent from the floor, 34.7 percent from deep and 94.4 percent from the free-throw line in his return to Miami.

Thomas Bryant ($2.8M)

Skinny: Bryant had an underwhelming first season with Miami, despite an eight-game stretch where he averaged 9.8 points and 5.5 rebounds in 14.9 minutes. The 6-foot-10 big man only appeared in 38 games, and while he showed energy on the offensive glass, wasn’t nearly as impactful on either end as one would’ve hoped. With the addition of Ware, Bryant’s future in Miami–should he opt-in–is in question.

Verdict: He opts in, but is traded

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Team Options:

None.

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Partially/Non-Guaranteed Deals:

Orlando Robinson ($2.1M):

Skinny: Robinson’s contract doesn’t become fully guaranteed until July 15. In 67 career games with Miami, he posted averages of 3.2 points and 3.1 rebounds in just 10.9 minutes. I don’t think the Heat bring him back and potentially look for a more viable option between Adebayo, Love and Ware.

Verdict: Heat release Robinson

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Restricted Free Agency:

Jamal Cain

Skinny: Cain simply did not do enough across the last two seasons on two deals to justify a standard contract. He is a sound defender with good instincts on the glass, but averaged just 4.4 points and 2.0 rebounds in 11.3 minutes. He couldn’t find a consistent role in the rotation. Miami did not offer him the qualifying offer, thus suggesting the two parties will not be together at the start of 2024-25.

Verdict: Cain signs elsewhere

Cole Swider

Skinny: Unlike Cain, Miami did offer the qualifying offer to Swider, who knocked down 50.0 percent of his 9.4 3-point attempts across 14 Sioux Falls Skyforce regular season games last year. Swider has done little on an NBA court throughout his two-year career, but he’s a deadeye shooter with improved rebounding. He will play with the Heat in summer league, which could help the organization evaluate where he’s at from a developmental standpoint. With Keshad Johnson and Zyon Pullin earning two of the team’s two-way contracts, Swider will likely be competing for Miami’s final two-way spot alongside Alondes Williams and Miami’s other undrafted free agents.

Verdict: He does not earn final two-way, unless there is more than one two-way available

Alondes Williams

Skinny: In my estimation, Williams is the more likely option to receive the final two-way. He averaged 21.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 1.2 steals with Sioux Falls last season, shooting 52.2 percent from the floor, 37.7 percent from 3-point range and 76.6 percent from the charity stripe. He’s a more well-rounded creator offensively plus is a better defender. I project he earns the team’s final two-way.

Verdict: He competes for a roster spot, but ultimately earns final two-way

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Unrestricted Free Agents:

Haywood Highsmith

Skinny: Highsmith doubled down on his interest in returning to the Heat and both sides are reportedly negotiating for a return despite him having interest around the league. Highsmith is coming off a career season with Miami, knocking down 39.6 percent of his long-range attempts, albeit on fairly low volume. He’s one of the most valuable defenders atop Miami’s 2-2-1 press and its zone, where he utilizes his 7-foot wingspan to disrupt at the point-of-attack. I don’t think the Heat want a repeat of last season–when they lost both Strus and Vincent–with Highsmith and Martin, despite them having a history of not deviating from their respective price on players.

Verdict: Highsmith signs, three-year, $24 million deal

Patty Mills

Skinny: Mills signed with Miami after getting bought out by Atlanta. He wasn’t impactful in his 13 games, averaging 5.8 points on 33.8 percent shooting and just 11-of-53 from distance. He’s a good veteran presence, but not an impactful player at this point of his career.

Verdict: Mills re-signs elsewhere

Delon Wright

Skinny: Wright only appeared in 14 regular season games with Miami last year, but was impactful at the point-of-attack in those games. He averaged 5.4 points, 2.6 assists and 1.4 steals on 36.7 percent shooting from 3-point range. He previously expressed interest in wanting to return, being eligible to return with a starting salary exceeding $3 million since the Heat doesn’t own his bird rights.

Verdict: Delon Wright re-signs with Heat on two-year minimum

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2qbn

I was pretty sure Cain would be back since they have kept him around so long, but having him around so long and not fully contributing would contribute to letting him walk. I stand corrected.

Agree on Alondes. I’ve been saying he is the next developmental guy the Heat want to try and showcase. He will be must watch at summer league.

Delon is a great guy to have on the team. I want him to stay. Solid bench option.

Truly surprised Thomas Bryant didn’t pop as much on the Heat. I’m sure he opts in, but if he doesn’t get traded, I’m still holding out hope he can turn it around a bit on this team.

heat for life

d murray goes to pels for nada One of these days one of these stars going to so beach dam pat and coolio missed another one lol.

2qbn

The guy who said he has an eye for basketball somehow missed that the Hawks shipped him to the western conference. Do you really think they were going to trade in the division so they could see him 4 times a year? Sir, put the Bartles & James down.

SunManFromDogBone

Martin is gone to greener pastures.

Best case scenario is JRich, KLove opt in and Bryant opts out or is traded.

It would be great to get Highsmith back on a team-friendly extension. He will need to make a concerted effort to score more in order to earn his contract. At minimum, he will need to match Martin’s 10ppg average, or he may not be around for the full contract term.

I like Swider and Williams. Hopefully, one of them makes the team and the other signs a two-way contract.

Sorry to see Cain and Robinson go. I like them both, but they had their shots and didn’t produce.

Would be very glad to get Wright back.

Wish Patty the best of luck in finding another team.

Things can change further if trades are made. I still think either Herro should be traded for a two-way SG and/or Duncan should be traded for a two-way PF/C (Beef Stew anyone?). I noticed Atlanta traded Murray for two firsts and a couple of bags of chips. Too bad. Miami could have used him.

Last edited 14 days ago by SunManFromDogBone
2qbn

Atlanta was not going to trade him to Miami. As I mentioned to HFL, they sent him west.

heat for life

If they had a good offer from an eastern team like the knicks or boston u dont think atl trades him to them.The only guy that values ty or dunc is rc and i dont believe hes an nba gm.But u are right theyd prefer him to send him west.You add Murray to the heat that takes us from a top 6-8 team to a top 3-4 team.Thats a diff maker.Clearly 2 best teams in east our 2 biggest rivals bost ny.pat and coolio have some work to do,

2qbn

Both teams you mentioned aren’t in their division like the Heat. Also, let’s deal with reality. The actually traded him to the western conference. So my proof is real and yours is a what if scenario that didn’t happen.

But here we are doing that dumb shit where people whine and moan at every single freaking move and trade.

Reality Czech

That’s his dna. Constant whining and complaining. I may not be a gm, but neither is he. Ha

Last edited 13 days ago by Reality Czech
heat for life

didnt whine and complain about panthers.,things not looking good here.lets face it.we have nobody worth sht to trade but jimmy.no cap space.might as well run it back add a jon collins for ty..hope keep jim healthy and jjj jovic take a step or 2 up

Reality Czech

Just the truth

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heat for life

I value my opinion.

heat for life

WE are staying pat while other teams getting better.Oh well got the panthers at least

Reality Czech

Lol! He doesn’t whine when a team is winning. What a good sport, great fan. He does the same whining on the Dolphins site too. People there react the same as we do. So only happy and positive when the team wins a championship? So what does that mean? That he’s miserable most of the time.

SunManFromDogBone

But they would consider trading Trae to Miami if the price was right? Hmm?

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