The Miami Heat's run has come to an end.
On Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Heat in Game 6 of the 2020 NBA Finals to win this season's championship. It brings an end to an impressive season for the Heat, one that saw them enter the playoffs with the fifth seed, only to outlast the Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics en route to their first Finals appearance since 2014.
The Heat now have a busy offseason ahead of them with some key decisions looming.
Here's what's next for the Heat.
The 2020 NBA Draft
The Heat have one pick in the 2020 NBA Draft: No. 20.
Our draft expert, Eric Fawcett, has the Heat selecting Theo Maledon with that pick in his most recent mock draft. A 6-foot-3 guard from France, Maldeon spent this season playing for ASVEL in the Euroleague, posting averages of 7.4 points and 3.1 assists per game.
The Heat's second-round pick (No. 50) will go to the Atlanta Hawks by way of the Sacramento Kings, Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics.
The Heat are going to have some important decisions to make in free agency.
The earliest Jimmy Butler can become a free agent is 2022 - he has a $37.7 million player option in his contract for the 2022-23 season - but Goran Dragic, Solomon Hill, Meyers Leonard, Jae Crowder and Derrick Jones Jr. will each unrestricted free agents this offseason.
Additionally, Kelly Olynyk has a $12.2 million player option in his contract for next season that he could decline to test free agency. Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel wrote in April that he is likely to opt into that option, but Olynyk has until the middle of November to make his decision.
Hill, Leonard and Jones didn't contribute much in the playoffs, but Dragic and Crowder were both a huge part of the Heat's success. After coming off the bench for all but three games during the regular season, Dragic started at point guard for the Heat in the postseason and was the team's second-leading scorer with 19.9 points per game. Crowder didn't provide quite the same scoring punch, but his 3-point shooting and defence was key to them upsetting the Bucks in the second round and outlasting the Celtics in the third round.
The issue the Heat face is that they are one of the many teams reportedly hoping to have cap space in the summer of 2021 when a number of Tier 1 players could become free agents, including Giannis Antetokounmpo. Important as they were this season, are the Heat willing to commit long-term to either Dragic or Crowder and jeopardize not having max cap space in 2021?
Assuming he makes a full recovery from the plantar fascia tear he suffered in Game 1 of the Finals, there should be a decent market for Dragic in particular. When ranking the best point guards in the 2020 free agent class before the playoffs, the only player I had ahead of Dragic was Fred VanVleet. Teams might not be willing to give him a long-term contract considering his age, but it wouldn't shock me if he ends up getting a sizable one-year contract from a team in need of some playmaking in the backcourt.
The flip side is that the Heat will have a decent amount of money to spend should those players walk and Olynyk decline his player option, making them the best team with cap space. The Heat could use that cap space to retain Dragic, Crowder and whoever else on one-year deals if they are dead set on maximizing their cap space for 2021, of course, but they could also use it to pursue some of this offseason's best free agents, such as VanVleet, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Danilo Gallinari, Davis Bertans or Serge Ibaka.
Bam Adebayo's extension
Three years removed from being the No. 14 pick in the draft, Bam Adebayo is now eligible to sign a rookie scale extension.
Adebayo proved himself to be one of the best centres in the league this season, but don't be surprised if the Heat delay his extension until next offseason.
Why? Once again, to maximize cap space for 2021.
While the Heat run the risk of Adebayo signing an offer sheet with another team by not offering him an extension this offseason, it's hard to imagine a world in which the Heat don't match whatever he receives in restricted free agency considering how important he is to the team's present and future, even if it's for the full max. The way the Heat benefit in delaying his extension until next offseason is that Adebayo has a $15.3 million cap hold for 2021. If he signs an extension this offseason, his salary in the first year of that extension would replace that number, so anything over $15.3 million would eat into their cap space.
In his third season, Adebayo averaged 15.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.1 steals per game. He was named an All-Star for the first time in his career and made the All-NBA Defensive Second Team alongside Patrick Beverley, Eric Bledsoe, Kawhi Leonard and Brook Lopez.
Adebayo took his game to another level in the playoffs, posting 18.5 points, 11.4 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.2 steals per game prior to the Finals.
Heading into the season restart, our NBA.com Staff ranked Adebayo as the 18th best player in the league.
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