The Miami Heat faced a daunting off-season after finishing the 2018-19 season outside the playoffs, while also losing Dwyane Wade to retirement. With their prospects bleak, Pat Riley and the Heat were expected to launch a clear-out in preparation for a historically crowded 2021 free agency class, but the organization's plans were drastically altered when Jimmy Butler made the surprise choice to head to Miami.
The addition of one of free agency's biggest talents renewed hope within the franchise that the Heat can compete. And Riley has since set out to acquire a second All-Star to play alongside Butler.
However, the Heat are currently restricted by a lack of cap space, and departures will be required to bring in new talent. Plenty among the Heat roster have been linked with a trade, and here we look at the three individuals that Miami should consider letting go.
#3 Kelly Olynyk
Kelly Olynyk signed a four-year $50 million deal with the Miami Heat back in the summer of 2017. The Heat offered the then 26-year-old a huge deal after he impressed in a four-season spell with the Boston Celtics; the Heat hoped that the Toronto native would become a vital cog for their franchise.
However, Olynyk has failed to grow into a larger role during his two seasons in Miami, starting just 58 times while averaging just 23 minutes per game. Olynyk’s performances have been consistent with the ones he produced in Boston, although the now 28-year-old appears to have hit his ceiling.
Ultimately, Olynyk can still play a reserve role on a contender, although the $25 million owed over the next two seasons makes the player a luxury that the Heat cannot afford.
#2 Justise Winslow
Justise Winslow was selected by the Heat with the 10th pick in the 2015 draft, and the Duke product is already closing in on 250 regular-season appearances for the team. The 2018-19 season was the best of Winslow's career as he averaged 12.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.
The 23-year-old also broke into the Miami starting lineup, playing 52 times from the beginning after making a combined 50 starts over his first three seasons in the NBA.
Based on his current projection, it is not a stretch to say that Winslow could develop into an All-Star in the not too distant future. However, the Heat’s salary cap means that trading the promising star may be the franchise's only path to acquire a second All-Star.
#1 Goran Dragic
Goran Dragic almost left the Heat back in June, before a miscommunication ensured that the point guard stayed in Miami. However, Dragic is entering the final year of the 5-year $85 million contract he signed back in 2015, and the Slovenian will be needed in any deal to acquire a second star.
The 33-year-old has suffered multiple injuries over the past 12 months and played just 36 times during the 2018-19 campaign, but is just one season removed from his first All-Star appearance.
Thanks to his expiring contract, rebuilding teams such as the OKC Thunder will be interested in Dragic. A potential contender could also move to improve their options at point guard.
Ultimately, Dragic remains a capable performer when injury free, but Miami need to offload the veteran so that they can bring in a younger second star.