Saturday, July 13, 2024

Heat Believe Better Health, Not New Players, Will Improve Team in 2024-25, per Report

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The Miami Heat are in a weird spot. They went 46–36 last season, which was actually a better record than they had the year before when they went to the NBA Finals. They finished with the eighth-best record in the Eastern Conference, but were actually only four games out of the No. 2 seed.

So depending on how you look at it, the Heat are both far behind their rival the Boston Celtics, who just won the NBA championship, and kind of right there if they’ve got all their guys healthy. They have after all, gone to the conference finals three times in the last five seasons.

The Heat didn’t really do anything early in free agency and seem poised to run it back with the same team that were on the receiving end of a gentleman’s sweep by Boston in the first round two months ago. It somehow sounds like a horrible idea and makes perfect sense all at the same time.

In conclusion, South Beach is a land of contrasts.

And that’s exactly how the Heat feel right now. In Barry Jackson’s latest mailbag for the Miami Herald, he says that the team is content to roll with the current group of players.

“The Heat’s belief is that health and game availability — not a serious talent deficit — is what mostly has held Miami back. That conclusion did not change during an offseason evaluation, even with an acknowledgment that more is probably needed to win a title.”

Bam Adebayo and rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. were the only players on the roster to appear in more than 70 games last season. Jimmy Butler (60 games) was available only slightly more often than Kevin Love (55 games) and only one of them actually played in the postseason.

While the Heat are happy they have Butler, if the health and availability is what has held them back, then he’s actually a problem. He’s missed at least 20% of each regular season in the last eight years. The argument has always been that he’s available when it matters. That was always true until last season when it suddenly wasn’t anymore. Butler turns 35 this September and has a player option for $52 million after next season and he’d like a new contract.

Moving on from Butler seems like the thing that Miami “probably” needs to do to win a title, but the Philadelphia 76ers, once the most likely team to take Butler off their hands, just used that money and roster spot on Paul George.

So perhaps Miami’s inactivity isn’t by choice. Their only option might be to ride it out with Butler and hope he’s suddenly available when they need him. So here they go again.

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