Miami Heat: Guaranteeing changes, here are a few possibilities

Miami Heat president Pat Riley speaks with members of the media during his season-ending news conference at the AmericanAirlines Arena in downtown Miami on Saturday, April 13, 2019. (Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images)
Miami Heat president Pat Riley speaks with members of the media during his season-ending news conference at the AmericanAirlines Arena in downtown Miami on Saturday, April 13, 2019. (Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images) /

With the Miami Heat missing the post season, Pat Riley is guaranteeing changes. Here are a few of the ideal scenarios that could happen.

The Miami Heat are enjoying the playoffs as we all are. The problem is however, they are doing it from their couches like the rest of the fans. With the luster of Dwyane Wade‘s one last dance sure to wear off any day now, what are some potential possibilities to look forward to next season?

That is a question that isn’t easily answered. With a slew of lopsided contracts, based on production to amount paid and very little in terms of assets deemed movable, the Miami Heat and Pat Riley have an uphill battle. With changes promised from the Heat team president, let’s look at a few of the more ideal scenarios:

Charlotte Hornets and Heat shake things up

The first key to any of the following scenarios would be things working out in the Miami Heat’s favor. In this scenario involving the Charlotte Hornets, the first thing that would have to break right for the Heat would be guard Goran Dragic opting out of his deal. This doesn’t mean that he isn’t wanted back though.

If the Miami Heat could find a way to get Dragic to opt out, take a more favorable deal towards the Miami Heat cap in exchange for more years and thus security, that would be the optimal situation. However if the tenacious combo guard would want to test the market and capitalize on his value later in his career, perhaps reuniting with his National Team coach, Igor Kokoskov and the Phoenix Suns, his former team, that would be alright as well.

Here is where the Charlotte Hornets enter the picture. Star Hornet’s guard Kemba Walker will become a free agent after the season, and is line for a new deal. Reportedly, Charlotte head coach James Borrego is interested in acquiring a shot blocking center for next seasons team.

This is where the Miami Heat and the Hornets can help each other. The Heat could trade Hassan Whiteside to Charlotte, which would fill Borrego’s reported desire, and in exchange a sign and trade could be worked out in a new deal for Kemba. Whether it would be a straight up trade between the Heat and Hornets, or including other teams, Whiteside’s money at just over $27 million is in the neighborhood of a workable first-year contract number for Kemba Walker.

He wouldn’t be the ending or answers to all the Miami Heat’s issues. What he would be is a shot maker and creator to go to when things break down, and that was something the Heat sorely missed at times during this past season.

Miami mixes it up, brings in Jimmy Butler

This scenario is probably the most ideal scenario. Not only is Jimmy Butler the prototypical Miami Heat player, a two-way player with an equally adept skilled set who had to work and refine his way to where he is today. Although possible, this scenario would require its share of cap gymnastics by the Heat as well.

As Dragic did in the Charlotte scenario, he would be opting out here, perhaps to stay at more favorable Heat money or potentially seek a more lucrative deal elsewhere. A major difference in this scenario, the Miami Heat would also need Hassan Whiteside to opt out of the last year of his deal at $27 million. On top of that, it would also see the Heat buying out the remainder of Ryan Anderson‘s contract.

With those three things occurring, that would still only leave the Heat with somewhere in the mid-$20 millions when it came to cap space. In order to clear somewhere in the $40 million dollars range worth of cap space, the essential amount to acquire Jimmy Butler if he opts out of the last year of his current deal, the Heat would have to move someone. The ideal piece to be moved would be Dion Waiters.

If not Dion Waiters, then James Johnson would be the second choice of a piece to be moved. Johnson presents immense value in his versatility, but if it meant getting Jimmy Butler in a Miami Heat jersey, it would be totally worth it.

In looking at potential landing spots for either Johnson or Waiters, the Phoenix Suns, the Atlanta Hawks, the Portland Trailblazers, and the Philadelphia 76ers will all be losing wings at the end of the season, but will also have the space to take on either contract. In exchange for a second round pick, something that wouldn’t require cap space, the Heat could attach a first round pick to incentivize the other team.

The most ideal scenario would be Jimmy Butler opting into the last year of his deal at closer to $20 than $40 million dollars. This all before a trade between the Heat and Sixers, and upon being promised an extension kicking in during the 2021 season with the Miami Heat but that is the absolute least likely scenario. The least ideal scenario here would be if Waiters and Johnson weren’t enticing enough, forcing the team to deal Kelly Olynyk to make space.

Heat stand Pat, no pun intended

The lease desired and shortest explained scenario would be the Miami Heat standing pat. Returning with the same team next season makes it hard to imagine them being more than a .500 team, and especially without D-Wade.

dark. Next. How will Whiteside's offseason impact the Heat's future?

Let’s hope the other scenarios are closer to reality, as another season missing the playoffs would be tragic. Not only for this organization and for this fan base, but for the legacy of Pat Riley.