Fresh off a surprising run to the NBA Finals in the bubble last season, the Miami Heat are out to prove that they are a legitimate contender. The Heat stormed through the Eastern Conference in the bubble, losing just three games. LeBron James and the Lakers were ultimately too much for Miami to handle, but now the challenge is to make another run.
Keeping the gang together
The Heat’s offseason was defined by signing All-Star center Bam Adebayo to a five-year maximum extension worth $163 million. The 23-year-old averaged 15.9 points, 10.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game last season. In the bubble, Adebayo was a force, averaging 17.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and 4.4 rebounds per game. By doing so, Miami keeps its best young talent around for the long-term future.
Miami also re-signed key depth pieces like guard Goran Dragic and big men Kelly Olynyk, Meyers Leonard and Udonis Haslem. Dragic agreed to a two-year deal worth $37.4 million after averaging 16.2 points and 5.1 assists last season. He was one of Miami’s stars during its playoff run, scoring over 19 points per game.
Olynyk stays in South Beach after opting into the last season on his deal. He gives Miami another option off the bench if it wants to play bigger. Haslem, a former Gator, signed a one-year, $2.56 million contract to stay with the Heat for the 18th season in a row.
New faces for the Heat
To bolster their lineup, the Heat made a few acquisitions. Miami signed former Lakers guard Avery Bradley to a two-year deal and forward Maurice Harkless to a one-year deal.
Additionally, the Heat drafted Memphis forward Precious Achiuwa with the 20th overall selection. Achiuwa had 15.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game with the Tigers last season.
With their offseason moves, the Miami Heat have set themselves up well for another long postseason run. They have kept most of their depth around while still adding a couple of pieces here and there. Miami still has a young core with Adebayo, Justise Winslow and Duncan Robinson, who are all 25 or younger.
The Heat still have three-time All-NBA forward Jimmy Butler as well. There’s more to the Miami Heat than just a fluke.