Ahead of a Miami Heat offseason that could see a slimming down in cap space, they need to be ready for anything. This includes a Derrick Jones Jr. exit.
The Miami Heat and the entire NBA are preparing for a shortage of cap space this offseason. This will only make things more difficult for teams with a laundry list of free agency priorities.
With eyes on big game hunting in next year’s free agency, the Heat could very well find Jones’s price tag to exceed their allowance.
Miami’s been repeatedly tied to 2019 MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who will command a maximum deal and not a penny less, should he leave the Milwaukee Bucks.
Jones’ market is largely unknown, as most of the upcoming free agency period will be. Some think he could garner somewhere in the $4-to-$7 million dollar range a year, others say potentially double digits.
Teams like the New York Knicks or Atlanta Hawks, with more cap space than they know what to do with, could price Jones out of the Heat’s range. If the scenario begins trending towards his departure, Miami is going to have to find a suitable replacement for the young player.
Jones’s season averages of 8.9 points and 4.1 rebounds don’t jump off of the stat sheet, but make no mistake: he’s an integral part of this Miami team and their culture. That being said, it’s most likely the Heat would look into veteran options that they could sign to short-term deals.
Here’s a look at two free-agent-to-be veterans who could fill a void left by Jones’s exit.