For the Miami Heat only two roster options remain in the wake of Udonis Haslem returning for a 20th season:
– What you currently see is what you will be getting for the majority of 2022-23.
– Or a major trade will render moot much of the roster, rotation and payroll planning to this stage.
For now, as it has been all offseason, the latter appears unlikely, given what the Brooklyn Nets are seeking for Kevin Durant and what the Utah Jazz are asking for Donovan Mitchell.
So, instead, three numbers define the Heat’s roster construction:
– 14. The size of the roster the Heat will be limited to at the start of the season in order to remain under the punitive luxury tax, one player below the regular-season maximum. There also will be two two-way players, whose salaries will not count against the tax.
– $200,000. Approximate amount the Heat will be below the luxury-tax threshold once Haslem formally signs his contract. Staying below the tax could mean an NBA payout of approximately $10 million at season’s end, without having to instead pay into that overage pool.
– $6,000. Approximate daily pay for a veteran on the league-minimum scale. This means the Heat would be able to sign a 15th player, with the payroll as currently constructed, no sooner than about the final month of the season.
For now, all of that math leaves the Heat with an opening-night roster that likely will be Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Dewayne Dedmon, Haslem, Tyler Herro, Haywood Highsmith, Nikola Jovic, Kyle Lowry, Caleb Martin, Victor Oladipo, Duncan Robinson, Max Strus, Vincent and Omer Yurtseven. With Darius Days and Marcus Garrett on two-way deals, lacking the tax space to convert one to a standard deal.
Of the aforementioned 14 standard contracts, only Haywood’s deal is not fully guaranteed. However, because Haywood’s 2022-23 salary is below the veteran minimum for a replacement player, if he is swapped out for another player the Heat would lose even more space below the luxury tax.
Yurtseven, Vincent and Strus provide similar value against the tax because of their limited tenure and multi-year contracts.
The Heat were in a similar tax squeeze last season before the NBA trading deadline, when the offloading of KZ Okpala then afforded the ability to sign Highsmith and convey Martin to a standard deal from a two-way deal.
Where the math would change – dramatically – would be with a major trade. Such a move also could alter luxury-tax thinking if the deal brings the Heat even closer to title contention.
Otherwise, it now is all but assured that Markieff Morris will have to find another 2022-23 landing spot, after appearing in 17 games for the Heat last season.
Morris is the lone unsigned player among those who became free agents from last season’s roster, with Dedmon, Haslem, Martin and Oladipo re-signing, and with P.J. Tucker moving on to the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Heat also have extended training-camp invitations to summer-league prospects Orlando Robinson, Jamal Cain and Jamaree Bouya, with those three expected to be funneled to the Heat’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, ahead of the start of the regular season, therefore incurring no salary-cap or luxury-tax hits for the trio.
The Heat’s offseason roster when factoring in Haslem is now at 19, one shy of the NBA offseason maximum. Camp opens the final week of September.