5 Heat players who won’t be back next season after playoff defeat

Toronto Raptors v Miami Heat
Toronto Raptors v Miami Heat / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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The Miami Heat stumbled into the play-in tournament by losing three games in six days before completing a sweep of the sad-sack Toronto Raptors over the regular season’s final weekend. They failed to climb to sixth in the East, instead plopping into the play-in tournament for the second straight season.

Jimmy Butler sustained what amounted to a season-ending knee injury in the first play-in game after Kelly Oubre Jr. fell on his knee. The Heat lost to the 76ers but beat the Chicago Bulls to advance to the playoffs. That drew a first-round series against the top-seeded Boston Celtics. On Wednesday, the undermanned Heat lost the series to the Celtics in five games and saw their season come to an end.

The Heat have some decisions to make this summer. Chalk a disappointing season up to injuries, lick their wounds and try to make a run at it again next year with some minor changes? Perhaps another run at a disgruntled star – we know Riley and Co. will have their antennas raised. 

Or do they tear it down and restart, avoid a repeater season of being in the luxury tax and begin a new era of Heat basketball?

Whichever way the Heat go, there are a few players who likely won’t (or shouldn’t) be back next season. 

5 Miami Heat players who will not be back next year

Thomas Bryant

Nobody would fault Thomas Bryant for being frustrated by this season. Although, by all accounts, he is far from it. Bryant is a locker room favorite and deserves an award for his sideline enthusiasm, including a karate routine he frequently performs during the Heat’s pregame introductions at home games.

But he also averaged his fewest minutes per game since his rookie year and appeared in just 38 games this season. He has a player option worth $2.8 million for next season that he could decline so he could find an opportunity for more playing time elsewhere. He could get that money somewhere else. 

Bryant is a good player, however limited he is on defense. His size and rebounding alone should keep him in the league for a while, and his potential as a 3-point shooter (career 35.5% on limited attempts) will persuade front offices to give him a chance. But his time in Miami could be over.

The Heat also have Orlando Robinson waiting in the wings. Robinson is three years younger than Bryant and offers much of the same strengths and limitations. He’s also on a slightly cheaper, non-guaranteed contract ($2.1 million) that offers more flexibility. Miami could certainly keep both – even if Kevin Love picks up his $4 million option as expected – but this could be up to Bryant.