Miami Heat Roundtable: Who should they target in free agency?

Pat Riley (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Pat Riley (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) /
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Miami Heat
Paul Millsap #4 of the Denver Nuggets celebrates with teammates after a basket against the Miami Heat (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Miami Heat could use one more piece in a myriad of different positions. Who might that piece be?

Tristan Tucker (@TristanHeatNBA)- Paul Millsap (PF)

There are a lot of ways this free agency period could go for the Heat, but I expect the team to spend its lone draft pick on a developmental point guard or big that can stretch the floor. That’s a story for another day, but both of those are positions of need for the Heat and they will likely look to spend their mid-level exception on a player that can fill one of those two roles.

The Heat will have about $26.5 million in cap space, assuming center Kelly Olynyk opts in. This is where free agency can go a couple of ways.

I like Danilo Gallinari and Aron Baynes for the Heat, but I am unsure if either would accept the short-term deal the Heat would offer. I expect the Heat to re-sign wing Derrick Jones Jr. to a deal that echoes what Justise Winslow got at the beginning of the 2018-19 season, let’s say three years with a team option for $12 million per year.

This leaves the Heat with about $14.5 million to use on retaining guard Goran Dragic, center Meyers Leonard, and less likely, Jae Crowder. I want the Heat to retain their entire corps, so in this scenario, they’ll only have a mid-level exception to use which could be about $9 million to use for a one year deal.

This cuts down my player pool to players that would play on the minimum and those who would accept the mid-level. I really like point guard Brandon Knight, who is from Miami.

I also really like big-men like Bismack Biyombo, Jahlil Okafor, Willy Hernangomez, and Marvin Williams. Less likely options would be opting for significant upside, maybe wings like Josh Jackson and Juancho Hernangomez.

However, my pick as a target would be forward Paul Millsap. First of all, Millsap is a four-time All-Star that would give the Heat a great locker room presence. Millsap reminds me a bit of Heat legend Chris Bosh and I think his game would mesh really well with Bam Adebayo’s for an interesting frontcourt tandem.

Even though Millsap is playing well for a contending team in the Denver Nuggets, with the addition of Jerami Grant to their frontcourt last season as well as the additions of guys like Keita Bates-Diop and Noah Vonleh, it seems like Millsap’s time in Denver is likely over.

Millsap won’t break the bank and the mid-level exception should be good enough for a one-year contract. He is not as good an option as Gallinari, but he is far more realistic and the team could then exhaust their pick on someone like Paul Reed from DePaul or Vernon Carey Jr. from Duke that could learn under Millsap. The team could then circle back and pick up some under-the-radar young players on minimum deals.