Unlike in the past offseasons, the Miami Heat were noticeably silent when the 2018 NBA free agency started. With a little salary cap flexibility, the Heat was unable to join the pursuit for marquee free agents like LeBron James, Chris Paul, Paul George, DeAndre Jordan, and DeMarcus Cousins.
The same thing could happen in the 2019 offseason if the Heat doesn’t make any significant move. However, according to Barry Jackson of Miami Herald, the Heat is currently trying to create salary cap space for 2019 free agency by finding NBA teams who are willing to trade expiring contracts or draft picks for Hassan Whiteside, Tyler Johnson, and Dion Waiters.
“The Heat has tried to move Hassan Whiteside and Tyler Johnson this offseason but has not found a trade market, according to three people in contact with the team. Dion Waiters’ name also has been raised, one of these people said. Dealing Whiteside and Johnson for expiring contracts or draft picks would give the Heat $36 million in cap space next summer without factoring in 2019 restricted free agent Justise Winslow. That would be enough to pursue a max player from a free agent class potentially including Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Love.”
Since the 2017-18 NBA season ended for the Heat, Hassan Whiteside’s name immediately surfaced in various trade rumors. Whiteside is no longer happy to stay in Miami, especially after receiving a diminished role when he returned from injury. The Heat currently has a logjam at their frontcourt, and as of now, Whiteside is considered the odd man out.
Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra won’t mind losing Hassan Whiteside since they still have Bam Abedayo and Kelly Olynyk to play at five. The major problem for the Heat is finding a team willing to absorb the remaining two years and $52.4 million on Whiteside’s contract. The same thing goes for Tyler Johnson, who is owed $38.4 million for the next two seasons, and Dion Waiters, whose contract runs until the 2020-21 NBA season.
However, knowing Heat President Pat Riley, he could always find a way to make his team relevant again. Now that LeBron James is no longer playing in the Eastern Conference, the Heat has more reasons to build a team who has the ability to contend for an NBA championship title. Aside from trading some of their veteran players to create salary cap space, the Heat is also rumored to be interested in signing Carmelo Anthony once he officially part ways with the Oklahoma City Thunder.