Once again, we’re talking about the Miami Heat heading into the 2023 offseason as runners-up, not champions. They’ve knocked on the door of a title too often, reached the finals twice in the last four years and reached at least the Eastern Conference finals in three of the four seasons with Jimmy Butler on the roster.
The Heat have one of the best coaches in the game in Erik Spoelstra. However, some wonder if Pat Riley has lost his magical ability. They’ve already failed to trade for stars a few times, and the Godfather needs to step up his game again.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the current status of this team. We’ll take a deep dive into their roster, their needs and what they should and shouldn’t do to get back to the NBA Finals next season. This time, of course, they hope to take home the Larry O’Brien trophy.
Plans for the 2023 Heat Offseason
Our breakdown of the Heat’s 2023 offseason plans should consider one important aspect: The Heat can take a bunch of unknown D-II players and turn them into true rotation pieces on a playoff team . I don’t know how they do it; Nobody knows.
However, they still need to keep some of their future agents unheated. Some of them will likely attract league-wide interest and could be looking to sign the first — and possibly only — lucrative contract of their careers, even if they play a smaller role elsewhere.
But to be honest, this team is not far from winning it all. They just need to make some small changes to their current roster and Jimmy Buckets, Erik Spoelstra and Heat Culture will take care of the rest this time.
Remedies without heat
Kevin Love has been a big part of them since they signed him, so they have to find ways to keep him with them. With a veteran offer, he might draw some interest from suitors, but he fits seamlessly on this roster and in this locker room.
Cody Zeller gave them solid minutes and even held his own against Nikola Jokic in the only game they won in the NBA Finals. Spoelstra trusts him, so he’ll probably stay. Victor Oladipo will certainly pick up this player option, but will likely be sidelined for a long time due to injury.
Editing is by Gabe Vincent and Max Strus. They’ve worked their way into Spoelstra’s rotation and can now find more success elsewhere. The Heat could handle losing Vincent, but Strus has become such a big part of their rotation that they need to keep him.
The team is rounded
Aside from Kyrie Irving, which will most likely mean a sign-and-trade, most of the Heat’s free agency goals in 2023 will be focused on filling out the roster. They need more snipers, so Gary Trent Jr. can fit seamlessly into their roster.
Yuta Watanabe could be another potential target after he flew under the radar last season as one of the league’s most efficient three-point shooters. That said, they could try to spend big money on the likes of Fred VanVleet or even Bruce Brown Jr., but that would require moving pieces via trade.
Next up is Kyle Lowry
Expect most of the Heat’s offseason rumors to revolve around Kyle Lowry trades. It didn’t work out the way they hoped and during this year’s trade deadline they even came close to moving on, but Pat Riley infamously fell asleep and couldn’t agree to the deal.
Lowry is past his prime and they should target Damian Lillard, who has openly admitted that he would like to play alongside his friend Bam Adebayo. Any big move could require big loot, starting with Lowry and/or Tyler Herro, and they could trade up to three first-round draft picks.
A little far
It would certainly be a heavy blow for this team to let go of Herro. He may never become a superstar, but he has shown promising signs and is their second leading scorer. But this is a ruthless business and they need to make the most of their current Championship core.
When it comes to his playoff performance, Jimmy Butler can be considered one of the greatest small forwards in NBA history. He’s an elite defender and a guy who has proven to continue to improve his game in the postseason, but he can’t win by himself.
Bam Adebayo is a solid defensive back and will put in some great attacking performances from time to time. However, they need someone like Lillard or Kyrie to finally step up and get to the next level.
Not many coaches can match Erik Spoelstra when it comes to Xs and Os. This team has exceeded expectations many times and knocked on the door of a championship. But it’s clear they need that one star, another closer who can relieve Butler of the playmaking and scoring responsibilities that neither Lowry nor Herro have been able to do when needed.