Heat president Pat Riley’s 2020 plan appears off the table, but while originally stating his intent to chase two max players that summer, he revealed general thoughts on team-building:
We’ve done this four times now, had a good group of players, young players, and then either through free agency or through trade brought the superstar in.
Miami wants to preserve max cap space that summer for a run at Giannis Antetokounmpo or, secondarily, a few other targets including Victor Oladipo.
Of course, the Heat want Antetokounmpo. Every team wants him. But not every team will save cap space to pursue him. Many teams think they have no chance and won’t waste their time.
But Miami is a premier destination. The Heat have a championship pedigree and play in a warm-weather city in an income-tax-free state.
A decade ago, they ambitiously chased a superstar who was playing on a good, not great, team in a small-market Midwest city. Antetokounmpo isn’t LeBron James, but we’ve seen the pitch work. We also saw what came next: four conference titles and two NBA titles in the next four years.
Antetokounmpo could make that level of impact. I believe he prefers to stay in Milwaukee and is giving the Bucks opportunity to show they match his commitment to winning. But if they fall short, at least consider Miami a threat (along with the Raptors).
Oladipo isn’t the same game-changer, but he’s an impressive player who’d help the Heat. Indiana got younger while remaining good this offseason. Oladipo also went to college at Indiana and has seemingly enjoyed returning. So, there are indicators pointing to him re-signing with the Pacers.
But when the Heat are circling major free agents, everyone should be on alert.