Regardless of the outcome of the 2019-20 NBA season, the Miami Heat are still expected to find ways to build a more competitive roster around Jimmy Butler this fall. Though the 2020 free agency won’t be as star-studded as the previous offseason, there are plenty of interesting players that the Heat could target on the market in the offseason, including veteran shooting guard Fred VanVleet of the Toronto Raptors.
According to Preston Ellis of Bleacher Report, the Heat could become a “dark-horse contender” to sign VanVleet this fall.
“Goran Dragic has had an exceptional season. However, at 34, he hardly fits the timeline of Bam Adebayo, Kendrick Nunn, Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson. Jimmy Butler will turn 31 in September but doesn’t appear to be slowing down, averaging 20.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 6.1 assists in just 34.2 minutes per game. In terms of playing time, that’s his second-lightest workload since 2012-13. The Heat are said to be looking for a bigger swing in the form of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bradley Beal or Jrue Holiday. However, if they’re looking for a sure thing who fits their timeline, they could make a move for VanVleet.”
VanVleet would undeniably be an incredible addition to the Heat, giving them a younger replacement for Goran Dragic in their backcourt. Aside from being a reliable scoring option, he’s also an incredible playmaker, perimeter defender, and elite three-point shooter. This season, he’s averaging 17.9 points, 6.7 assists, and 1.8 steals while shooting 41.6 percent from the field and 39.5 percent from beyond the arc, per ESPN. Also, at 26, he perfectly fits the timeline of Miami’s core of Bam Adebayo, Kendrick Nunn, Tyler Herro, and Duncan Robinson.
VanVleet may have spent his first three years in the league as a backup guard, but when he was given the opportunity to earn a bigger role, he didn’t waste any time proving that he’s ready to be a starter. With his current performance, he would undoubtedly be a huge help for Butler in carrying the Heat to the top of the Eastern Conference and bringing home the Larry O’Brien Trophy to South Beach next year.
However, as of now, it remains a big question mark how far the Heat are willing to go to bring VanVleet to Miami this fall. They may be capable of offering him a max contract in the 2020 free agency, but it would negatively affect their salary cap flexibility in the coming years. Most people think the Heat are currently preserving their salary cap space for the summer of 2021, when the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, and LeBron James are expected to become free agents.