Heat figure to be one of league’s most active teams following NBA Finals

New York Knicks v Miami Heat - Game Three
New York Knicks v Miami Heat - Game Three / Eric Espada/GettyImages

Whether the NBA Finals end Monday night or not, the Miami Heat figure to be one of the league’s most active teams within the first 24 hours after the end of the season.

This is because a change in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement allows teams to negotiate with their upcoming free agents from the day after the Finals until the start of free agency on June 30.

That could give the Heat more than a week to negotiate new deals with their own free agents before they can reach the open market. 

The Miami Heat have a number of decisions to make when it comes to their own free agents. Fortunately, they'll have a window to get some clarity before leaguewide free agency begins.

Miami’s unrestricted free agents include Haywood Highsmith, Patty Mills and Delon Wright. 

This new CBA wrinkle is especially important when it comes to Highsmith, since the Heat will have a chance to offer him a new deal before the market has an opportunity to drive up the price. ESPN’s Bobby Marks projected that Highsmith could command a new contract worth between $8 million and $10 million per year. 

It’s important to note that even if the Heat offer Highsmith a contract during this window, there is nothing stopping Highsmith from waiting to test the open market.

Mills and Wright aren’t expected to earn more than the veteran minimum this summer. The guess here is that the Heat could bring back one, but likely won’t want to bring back both. Wright has a lot of fans within the Heat organization and could be useful as a reserve who can play both guard positions.

In addition to Miami’s unrestricted free agents, it can also get the ball rolling on players with player options for next season. Caleb Martin ($7.1 million), Kevin Love ($4 million), Josh Richardson ($3.1 million) and Thomas Bryant ($2.8 million) each hold player options for next season.

Settling who will opt in and opt out will give the Heat clarity before the league-wide portion of free agency begins.

Among that group, Martin is nearly certain to opt out and enter free agency, where he will command a new contract with an eight-figure annual salary.

Love and Richardson are good bets to pick up their player options and return in reserve roles next season. Bryant, who played just 38 games last season, could opt out to find playing time elsewhere.

The Heat will also be able to negotiate with two-way players Jamal Cain, Cole Swider and Alondes Williams, who can become restricted free agents if they receive qualifying offers by June 29.

Beyond their free agents, the Heat will also be allowed to negotiate a contract extension with Bam Adebayo. The Heat can offer Adebayo a three-year $165 million extension that he can sign when the leaguewide moratorium ends on July 6. But it’s more likely that Adebayo will wait to sign a more lucrative deal next summer. 

Another note: The Heat will not be permitted to negotiate a contract extension with Jimmy Butler until July 6 because of the nature of his contract.