Following the Miami Heat’s embarrassing exit from the 2021 NBA Playoffs, fans begged the organization for change within the roster this off-season. The Heat’s front office certainly delivered, as Miami was one of the most active teams in the free-agent market, making several moves within the opening hours of free agency on Monday night.
To start things off, Miami finally pulled the trigger on acquiring former Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry via sign and trade. This move broke some Heat fans’ hearts as it also resulted in the departure of young Heat big man Precious Achiuwa and arguably the greatest point guard in Heat history, Goran Dragic, which seemed inevitable to make space for Toronto’s premier point guard. During the trade deadline this past season, almost everyone assumed that this move would occur and Lowry would be a member of the Heat in March, but the trade ultimately fell through as Miami refused to include either Tyler Herro or Duncan Robinson in a package. This ended up being a smart move, as the Heat now have Lowry and the dynamic shooting duo of Robinson and Herro to support him. Lowry’s contract with the Heat is a $90 million deal over three years, and his impact will be felt immediately in the Heat’s starting lineup.
The Heat have struggled tremendously in the point guard spot as of recent, as both Goran Dragic and Kendrick Nunn never seemed to be able to go on a consistent run throughout the regular season despite showing moments of promise. Last season, Lowry with the Raptors averaged 17.2 PPG and 7.3 APG and shot nearly 40% from three. Lowry’s elite playmaking ability, along with his aggressiveness on defense, will help fill the missing piece Miami has been searching for in recent seasons.
Heat fans were also able to let out a collective sigh of relief Monday night, as it was announced that Duncan Robinson and the Heat had agreed on a deal to keep the elite sharpshooter in Miami. Robinson ended up taking a five-year $90 million contract with the Heat, even after receiving interest from other teams, including the New Orleans Pelicans and New York Knicks. Fans may view the price tag on Robinson as a hefty amount, but the way he continues to grow each season will definitely make his price worth it.
Robinson was arguably one of the most critical pieces to the Heat’s offense last season, as he averaged 13.1 PPG last season while also shooting over 40% from beyond the arc. Robinson also became the fastest player in NBA history to reach 500 made threes last season, only taking him 152 games. Robinson’s elite sharpshooting ability, along with his spacing for the Heat offense, will be something that Heat fans have to look forward to for the next five seasons.
In arguably the most surprising move of the night, fans were caught off guard late Monday night when former Milwaukee Bucks forward PJ Tucker agreed to a two-year $15 million deal with the Heat. This came as a surprise to many, as Tucker had been a critical part of the Bucks NBA Championship run last month, as his ability to shut down players like Kevin Durant and John Collins helped boost Milwaukee to the finals. Many fans believed that Milwaukee just had no interest in bringing back Tucker, but that soon proved false, as it was reported that Milwaukee had offered him a two-year $20 million deal. It’s very unusual to see a player coming off an NBA Championship decide to join one of the teams he just swept in the playoffs the following season. Still, something about that Heat roster or the Heat Culture must’ve caught Tucker’s attention to sway him to sign with Miami.
Tucker’s aggressiveness and elite presence on defense is something the Heat will definitely appreciate having, especially after Tucker seemingly locked down Jimmy Butler in the first round of last season’s playoffs. Tucker will also fill the Heat power forward spot, as it was also announced Monday night that Trevor Ariza had agreed upon a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.
To round out the Heat’s hectic opening night of free agency, they decided to bring back a lot of their supporting cast from last season. Included in this bunch were former two-way contract players Gabe Vincent and Max Strus, who both signed two-year $3.5 Million standard contracts. Although this move may not seem too critical to fans, Strus and Vincent impressed fans with their ability to knock down shots beyond the arc when their number was called. Strus will get the opportunity to continue growing his game this summer as he is one of the Heat’s summer league team leaders. Vincent will join Strus later in the summer once he finishes up his stint serving as the team captain for Team Nigeria over in Tokoyo for the 2020 Olympics.
Finally, the Heat decided to bring back the fan-favorite big man Dewayne Dedmon. Late Monday night, it was reported that the Heat and Dedmon had agreed on a 1-year deal setting up the 31-year-old to make his return to Miami. Dedmon was acquired right before the playoffs last season, and his energetic play helped boost the Heat’s bench. In his 16 regular-season games with the Heat last season, he averaged 7.1 PPG and 5.4 RPG off the Heat’s bench. His size and energy is something that the Heat will be thankful that they have on their bench throughout this upcoming season.
Even though Miami has made many early moves thus far in free agency, they are far from done as there are still several pieces Miami is still searching for. With Trevor Ariza and Nemanja Bjelica moving on from the Heat, and Kendrick Nunn on his way out as well, the Heat will continue to be active throughout the entire summer. Look out for the Heat to potentially be linked to names like Kelly Oubre Jr. and Lou Williams in the coming weeks of this exciting free agency.
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