The Miami Heat just turned in a surprising run in the NBA’s Orlando Bubble to the Finals, where they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games. There were plenty of reasons for optimism out of the Heat, though, and it’s hard not to wonder what the team would have done if a pair of starters — Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic — stayed healthy for the entirety of the series with L.A.
Miami now finds itself in a strange spot. The team has a number of free agents, and at the same time, they do not want to spend too liberally with an eye on landing a superstar once the potentially power-altering summer of 2021 rolls around and a number of gigantic names become unrestricted free agents.
For the team’s boss, though, that’s a little too far down the road. Pat Riley met with the media on Friday and explained that his No. 1 priority is to take care of the players who helped them make it as far as they did this summer.
“We know what our priorities are,” Riley said, per ESPN. “It is to take care of the players that we have, that we have to make decisions on almost immediately. We know Bam has a decision to make and we do with him. We know the guys that have sacrificed for us that we really like, our free agents, especially Goran.”
Dragic, as he mentioned, is an unrestricted free agent, and a gigantic one at that. His play in the Bubble is a major reason why the Heat were able to exceed expectations, and prior to a foot injury, he looked like an All-Star. Other notable free agents in Miami are Jae Crowder, Solomon Hill, Derrick Jones Jr., and Meyers Leonard, while Kelly Olynyk has a player option. There’s also the matter of Adebayo, who is eligible for an extension and a crucial piece to the puzzle going forward.
Riley did acknowledge that Miami has one eye on the future, saying, “I just think we need to remain fluid. Once we get all the numbers and we get everything down, we get the schedule, we know when the dates are, and what the rules are in everything, once we get all of that, we’re going to remain fluid. And whatever presents itself to us, we’ll look at it.” In the meantime, though, he seems perfectly content for the Heat to run it back next season in some form or fashion.