It’s been rumored for months that the Miami Heat will look to reroute their team’s direction this summer. Not only do the Heat intend to make improvements across their roster, they’ll have the flexibility and the cap room to sign a top NBA superstar.
A recent name that’s been associated with Miami around the league’s circles is Los Angeles Clippers superstar and two-time NBA champion, Kawhi Leonard. In the first-round of the 2021 Western Conference Playoffs, the Clippers were able to squeak by the Dallas Mavericks in seven games and are now in a second-round fracas against the Utah Jazz.
Leonard, however, has been a postseason force once again, averaging a career-high 30.4 points on nearly 68 percent True-Shooting. With the Clippers and Jazz currently tied at two games each in the Semi-Finals, the rumors of Kawhi are appearing to become more muffled by the day, as Los Angeles is gradually improving all-around at a game-by-game basis.
Leonard, who’ll be 30 years old in just a few days, is at the absolute peak of his career and will look to lead his hometown team, Los Angeles, right where they were expected to be last season — competing for an NBA title. To sign one of the league’s premier two-way players this summer, Miami would need to drastically reconstruct much of their roster.
The Miami Heat could shake things up this summer, such as a Kawhi Leonard move, but those chances are slowly fading away.
By completing a trio involving Heat stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, Kawhi would propel the Heat into immediate contention in the Eastern Conference, regardless of their final roster adjustments. The only issue is the likelihood, meaning, what are the Heat’s real chances here?
Already heading into a summer slew of questions needing be answered, the possibility of signing a talent such as Leonard only deepens the uncertainty. Do you give Butler an extension along with creating room to sign Leonard, which would likely be more strenuous financially than a cheaper-yet-older talent such as Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry but all in order to, ultimately, create and keep a bit of financial stability for further tinkering in either scenario?
Do you match all offers for your own Restricted Free Agents, Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn? Finally, do you pick up your team options, such as Goran Dragic or Andre Iguodala, who’ve provided elite veteran experience and especially in the postseason?
Miami’s top priority, to sign a max-level player in this upcoming free agency, will be heavily noted and despite Leonard being an option, the Heat have other pathways as well. It’s never a bad thing to set the standard high and Kawhi is certainly in the stratosphere of those “high” standards.
What would make Miami’s chances of signing Leonard attainable are solely based on one single factor: Does Kawhi believe that the Clippers can consistently compete long-term and more so than Miami?
He also has to consider that the Heat are a more decorated franchise and possibly have a higher ceiling to reach. Considering Los Angeles’ recent playoff success, the consensus answer may be a hard no — with Leonard ultimately staying in L.A. in search of the first title across 51 Clipper seasons.
The best part about it all is this though if you are a Miami Heat fan. They will be able to do whatever’s necessary to persuade the elite forward otherwise and that’s exactly what they should do.