3 Heat rivals that are primed to take a leap next season

The Miami Heat haven't gotten much better, yet several of their biggest rivals have made big additions this summer.
New York Knicks v Miami Heat
New York Knicks v Miami Heat / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
1 of 3

After the first significant wave of free agent signings and a limited trade market, the Miami Heat are likely running it back with their core. They lost a key role in Caleb Martin, but recently filled their 14th roster spot with the re-signing of Haywood Highsmith. Other than that, they made a pair of draft selections with Kel’el Ware and Pelle Larson, along with the signing of veteran point guard Alec Burks

It’s looking like Tyler Herro has survived yet another summer of potential trade rumors. The Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Terry Rozier and Herro-led team will be returning at full health. Miami’s limitations financially this offseason made it difficult to shake up the roster. 

Although the Heat showed plenty of flaws and inconsistency last season, mainly due to injuries, the front office likes this group. They are essentially banking on good health, along with growth from the team’s young core in Adebayo, Herro, Nikola Jovic and Jaime Jaquez Jr. 

However, there are rival Eastern Conference teams that have gotten better and will be hungry to make a push in the 2023-2024 season. Let’s go over a few teams that are primed to take that leap.

Orlando Magic 

Led by their superstar in the making of Paolo Banchero, the Orlando Magic turned in an impressive 2023-2024 season. The year prior, they saw themselves finish at 13th in the East and a 34-48 record. This past year featured them making the jump all the way to the fifth seed at a 47-35 record. 

They have attractive young pieces to build on heading into the future with Banchero, Franz Wagner and Wendell Carter Jr. There could be a fair argument that Banchero has the skill set to quickly become an All-NBA caliber player. He received his first All-Star nod last season, along with the league’s Rookie of the Year honors a season prior.

Orlando beefed up their lineup by signing two-way guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on the opening day of free agency. Pope can instill championship experience, while adding elite defense and 3-point shooting for a young squad that was in need of a veteran presence.