Miami Heat: Will any players sit through NBA restart in Orlando?

Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat, Bam Adebayo #13 and Duncan Robinson #55 react against the New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat, Bam Adebayo #13 and Duncan Robinson #55 react against the New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

With some notable names opting to sit out the NBA’s restart in Orlando, will the Miami Heat see any players elect to not rejoin the team?

The Miami Heat’s trajectory ahead of the sports’ break due to COVID-19 was that of a legitimate playoff contender. Behind Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo‘s two-man game, the team was looking like a lock to make some noise in the Eastern Conference.

That could all change however, if any of their six pending free agents decide to not join in on the season’s resumption. Basketball is all but returned with the NBA headed for a quarantine finish to the 2019-2020 campaign on Disney Land’s property in Orlando, Florida.

Teams will officially make their return to the court on July 31st. But before that players must decide if they will or won’t participate. A number of household names like John Wall, Kevin Durant, Kelly Oubre Jr, and Kyrie Irving have already ruled out a return this season.

Most recently, Washington Wizards’ marksman Davis Bertans has elected to not participate in the remainder of the NBA’s calendar. His reasoning? Bertans is one of the top names that will be available come free agency, and has already suffered two ACL tears in his career.

Instead of risking his big payday for a near meaningless eight games with the Wizards, the Latvian Laser will be headed straight for the offseason. Could any of the Heat free agents do the same?

All players have until June 24th to opt out of playing in the restart, which will give teams around a week to explore the available free agent pool for replacement players.

Related Story. This Caron Butler Story is Something We All Need to See. light

It’s hard to say if Miami will see any players sit, given their guaranteed playoff position no matter their performance over the regular season’s remaining eight games. But they do have six players headed for free agency, and won’t be able to bring them all back.

The most obvious candidate would be Meyers Leonard, who won’t be atop the Heat’s priority list when it comes to the offseason. This would also pave the way for Miami to take a look at free agents like DeMarcus Cousins, someone fans have been clamoring for.

He’s also dealt with his own injury this season, which may prompt him to continue resting. Leonard missed 16 games due to an ankle issue before the season’s shutdown.

Other free agents for Miami include Goran Dragic, Derrick Jones Jr, Jae Crowder, Solomon Hill and longtime veteran Udonis Haslem. It’s worth noting that all members of the team have rejoined together at American Airlines arena in the previous weeks.

That’s a positive sign if there was one that the team is all on board.

Next. ESPN to Explore LeBron James and "the Decision". dark

The Miami Heat shouldn’t be too concerned with any of their pending free agents opting to sit out the rest of the season. Their prized culture and chances at a lengthy playoffs, or even championship, should be enough to gain the participation of the entire squad.