Addition By Subtraction: The Miami Heat 2019 Offseason


Anthony Russo

Following an off-season where numerous National Basketball Association moves scattered sports headlines around the country, the Miami Heat look to be a dark horse playoff candidate after making several smart acquisition and draft decisions.

Anthony Russo, Staff Writer

The 2018-2019 campaign for the Miami Heat was one to be filled with excitement and promise. However, as the year progressed, they found themselves plagued with numerous injuries, and they struggled to find any true rhythm. The Heat managed to finish with a record of 39 wins and 43 losses, falling just short of a playoff berth. Despite all the hardships this season presented, there were equally as many bright spots.

When All-Star point guard Goran Dragić was sidelined for three months with a knee injury, head coach Eric Spoelstra called upon a young Justice Winslow to come out of his comfort zone and patrol the point guard position. Winslow ended up having a breakout year, averaging career-highs across the board in efficiency, scoring and effectiveness. Josh Richardson and Bam Adebayo also made huge strides in their overall game, making their young core quite the threat going forward. With that, the Miami Heat headed into the 2019 offseason looking for any way to improve their roster. 

The first official move for the Miami Heat in the offseason addressed their assistant coach position. With Juwan Howard stepping down, the Heat appointed Malik Allen to the assistant coach position. Allen, a former professional, brings a much needed sense of experience and depth to the staff.

Heading into the 2019 National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft, the Miami Heat entered with the 13th and 32nd overall picks. With the recent retirement of Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade, the Heat looked for a potential replacement. With a handful of top prospects still available at number 13 such as shooting guard Romeo Langford, power forward Brandon Clarke and defensive specialist Nassir Little, the Heat decided to take a chance on Kentucky Wildcat guard Tyler Herro.

Herro played phenomenally throughout the NBA Summer League, highlighting his perimeter shooting skills all the way through his finishing ability. Coach Spoelstra has never shied away from giving rookies big minutes, so it is safe to assume that Herro’s number will be called frequently this upcoming season.

The Miami Heat also picked KZ Okpala, a very athletic and explosive combo forward, with the 32nd overall pick. His unique size allows him to be able to guard four out of five positions. He is also a very natural ball handler and can spot up from anywhere on the court. In today’s NBA, that is priceless.

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I see the Heat entering this year on a much more positive note with all of these new additions”

— sophomore Dani Cen

The 2019 free agency class was meant to be one for the ages and it definitely delivered big time. With multiple stars on the move, the Miami Heat took on the chance to add one for themselves. The Heat looked at Jimmy Butler in particular, who has shown incredible interest to come and play for South Beach ever since his days with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The only problem was that, within the last two seasons, the Heat had signed questionable contracts to multiple role players, leaving them in no position to be signing anyone. However, there was still a way they could land a star without getting penalized for going deep into the salary cap.

The Philadelphia 76ers were fearful that they would lose All-Star Jimmy Butler for potentially nothing, and they quickly started working out a deal with the Heat. A sign-and-trade deal was formed, meaning Butler would have to sign with the 76ers, and then he would be traded to Miami. The teams included in this four team deal were the Heat, the 76ers, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Portland Trailblazers.

The final trade sent Jimmy Butler to the Heat on a new four year deal worth $142 million. The Heat also received stretch big Meyers Leonard. In exchange, the Miami Heat sent Josh Richardson to the 76ers, center Hassan Whiteside was sent to Portland, and the Clippers received Maurice Harkless and a first-round pick from Miami.

“This deal was one that benefitted all teams involved, especially the Miami Heat since they got the star that fits them the best,” freshmen Abigail Viquez said.

Jimmy Butler fits the mold and identity of the Heat perfectly. His grit-and-grind style of play is exactly what Coach Spoelstra has been looking for. Meyers Leonard also adds a valuable stretch five role for the team and is going to be playing big minutes.  

The Miami Heat have put themselves in a position to be true dark horse contenders in the Eastern Conference. With the strong reinforcements in the coaching staff and the addition of young and All-Star talent, the Miami Heat had an offseason that would set them up for championship runs for years to come.