The Miami Heat finished the regular season with a 53-29 record, outdueling the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Philadelphia 76ers for the first seed in the Eastern Conference as nearly every fan and expert alike yawned, assuming they had no chance of actually making the Finals. Then the Heat dispatched the Hawks with ease in the First Round as fans and experts alike yawned again. Because who cares? It was only the no-defense Hawks. Then the Heat harassed the 76ers into submission in the Second Round, as fans and experts alike didn’t exactly yawn but still didn’t give them much credit, instead of blaming Joel Embiid’s broken face and James Harden’s choke job for Philly’s demise. Now, the Heat are leading the Celtics 2-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals, and if you scan the hottest NBA message boards, most folks admit the Heat could find their way to the Finals, but nobody thinks they’ll beat the Warriors and hang a banner in South Beach.
The Miami Heat are for real. They didn’t merely eke out a pivotal game three to go up 2-1 against the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. They destroyed the Celtics in Boston without their superstar Jimmy Butler for the second half as they amassed 19 steals and made Jayson Tatum look like a dazed and teary-eyed 5-year-old lost in a shopping mall trying to find his mommy and daddy. Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo are among the most effective two-way duos in the NBA. At the same time, P. In the postseason, J. Tucker and Gabe Vincent have proven to be two of the league's top defenders, and Kyle Lowry, Max Strus, and Tyler Herro are big-time shot-makers. The Heat could very well walk away from the 2022 postseason with a chip.
And here’s the amazing part if you’re a Miami fan: The Heat are flourishing this season and could bring back their entire playoff rotation next year.
Here, we’ll examine the Miami Heat’s players’ status for next season and decide what the front office should do with each member of the team.
Jimmy Butler - $37.7 Million
Entering 1st Season Of A 4-Year, $184 Million Extension (2022-23: $37.7 Million, 2023-24: $45.2 Million, 2024-25: $48.8 Million, 2025-26: $52.4 Million Player Option)
Let me begin by saying if you haven’t tuned into a Jimmy Butler interview, you should. He is one of the most thoughtful and intelligent professional athletes I’ve heard speak. While most fans and experts would probably describe Jimmy Butler’s play on the basketball court as physical, aggressive, or even cocky, it’s that same intelligence he used to wow me during a one-on-one with Bill Simmons that separates him from nearly all his peers. The NBA is filled with physical, aggressive, and even cocky players, three attributes necessary to rise above the other millions of basketball players in the world and make it into one of the most elite 450-member clubs known to man. An NBA superstar’s basketball IQ sets him apart from the other players in the league.
There are several ways to judge a player’s basketball intelligence, but two clear indicators have always been assists and steals. These are two skills that show you’re seeing things unfold in slow motion on the court. Jimmy Butler averaged 5.5 assists per game during the regular season (down from 7.1 APG in 2020-21) with a minuscule 26.5% usage rate, a mark that lands behind Khris Middleton, Jordan Clarkson, CJ McCollum, and his teammate Tyler Herro. Butler was content to take a backseat during the regular season and hand over a bulk of the playmaking duties to Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro, and Bam Adebayo. However, he’s a passing wizard on par with LeBron James. Butler could easily average over nine assists per game if given his team's floor general duties. Jimmy Butler also averaged 1.6 steals per game (down from a league-leading 2.1 SPG in 2020-21) and 2.6 deflections per game during the regular season. Butler jumps passing lanes with the calm of knowing where the ball will be before it arrives, the mark of a grandmaster playing five moves ahead.
Jimmy Butler is a 6-7, 230-pound strong-as-hell wing with every physical tool possible. But, he’s a top-10 NBA player because of his IQ and ability to do whatever is necessary—rebounding, passing, scoring, one-on-one defense, and team defense—to help his team win. So, yeah, the Heat were wise to ink him through the 2026 season.
Bam Adebayo - $30.5 Million
Entering 2nd Season Of A 5-Year, $163 Million Rookie Max Extension (2022-23: $30.5 Million, 2023-24: $32.6 Million, 2024-25: $34.8 Million, 2025-26: $37.0 Million)
Bam Adebayo thinks he should have been the Defensive Player of the Year. He’s confident. And that’s an admirable quality. But, it’s a reach. Adebayo doesn’t offer top-tier rim protection, finishing the regular season ranked 29th among all qualified players in block percentage (2.6%) behind Mason Plumlee, Jerami Grant, Darius Bazley, and Matisse Thybulle. Although it might seem like the Heat’s defense is tearing the league to pieces by the way they locked up the Celtics in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, they’re actually ranked fourth in the playoffs in DEFRTG (107.4).
Despite Adebayo’s inability to consistently harass opposing players at the basket, he is a top-10 defender in the NBA for one overarching reason: He is one of the few NBA players who can guard positions one through five on the court. This skill has allowed head coach Erik Spoelstra to create some of the switchiest defensive schemes in the league.
The following is a breakdown of how Bam Adebayo has stifled some of the most talented NBA guards and centers during the 2022 postseason:
Adebayo guarded Joel Embiid for 129.2 possessions, allowing him to shoot 37.9%.
Adebayo guarded John Collins for 79.3 possessions, allowing him to shoot 12.5%.
Adebayo guarded James Harden for 34.8 possessions, allowing him to shoot 43.8%.
Adebayo guarded Trae Young for 21.6 possessions, allowing him to shoot 25.0%.
Bam has shut down some of the premier big men and guards in the league this postseason, blowing up dozens of pick and roll plays per game along the way.
Bam isn’t merely a one-way player. He showed his scoring ability in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals when he pillaged the Heat with Jimmy Butler sidelined during the second half, finishing the contest with 31 points while shooting 15-22 from the field against the strongest regular season defensive team in the league.
Bam Adebayo has only made one All-Star team during his five-year career, but he’s an All-Star quality player who the Heat have locked up through the 2026 season, all of which is a cause for Miami Heat fans to rejoice.
Kyle Lowry - $28.3 Million
Entering 2nd Season Of A 3-Year, $85.0 Million Contract (2022-23: $28.3 Million, 2023-24: $29.7 Million)
Kyle Lowry, 36, averaged a solid 13.4 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 7.5 APG during the regular season. But like most veterans on the wrong side of 35, he had trouble staying in the lineup, ultimately playing in 63 games with varying injuries. Also, like most aging veterans, Lowry struggled to contain his assignments on the perimeter, allowing them to shoot 4.0% higher than their typical average, the poorest mark among all regular Miami rotation players.
Kyle Lowry’s minor injury woes followed him into the playoffs, where he suffered a strained left hamstring in Game 3 of Miami’s opening round series against the Hawks. Lowry missed eight postseason games, but the Heat didn’t skip a beat going 7-1 with Max Strus and Gabe Vincent filling out their starting backcourt.
The Heat owe Kyle Lowry $28.3 million next year and nearly $30 million in 2023-24, figures that have grown from mildly excessive at the beginning of the season to downright onerous, considering his inability to stay on the court and his declining impact on the less glamorous end combined with the emergence of Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, and even Victor Oladipo in the postseason.
The Miami Heat rarely trade members of their starting lineup. However, Tyler Herro is due an extension, and Strus, Vincent, and Oladipo will also need to be taken care of as soon as this offseason. In the end, Pat Riley might have to scour the league for a swap partner for his aging point guard.
Tyler Herro - $5.7 Million
Entering Final Season Of 4-Year, $17.2 Million Contract
Tyler Herro is the reigning Sixth Man of the Year and the Heat’s second-leading regular season scorer with 20.7 points per game. Most non-heat fans see Herro as a sweet-shooting, small-framed guard who spots up off Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry. That undersells Herro’s game. He’s a solid playmaker who averaged 4.0 assists per game, and he has a top-15 off-the-dribble mid-range game.
Still, when you watch a Miami Heat playoff game, it feels like Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro have a big brother, little brother relationship. Big brother Butler lets little brother Herro romp through the first three quarters, using his herky-jerky style and sweet jumper to manufacture points, but when things come down to it in the fourth quarter Jimmy Buckets brushes little bro off to the side and takes over (Butler has 7.3 4th quarter playoff PPG and Herro has 2.8 4th quarter playoff PPG). And the Heat didn’t trust Herro with the keys to their offense, choosing instead to sign 36-year-old Kyle Lowry to a three-year agreement to run the show. And even more troubling, head coach Erik Spoelstra sat Herro during the Heat’s recent Game 3 win against the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals despite not having Jimmy Butler for the entire second half with a knee injury, instead choosing to stick with two minimum contract players Max Strus and Victor Oladipo.
Tyler Herro will be eligible for a five-year, $186 million extension this offseason and all the ancillary evidence makes it seem highly unlikely the Heat will max him out, which leads to an assortment of questions:
How much will the Heat offer Tyler Herro?
Will he balk at a non-max contract offer and go the Deandre Ayton route toward restricted free agency?
If things sour between Herro and the Heat, will GM Pat Riley attempt to trade his Sixth Man of the Year during the offseason?
Before the playoffs began, most rival executives believed the Heat would extend Tyler Herro to a maximum rookie extension this offseason, but Pat Riley has never done what is expected merely because it is expected. Riley will undoubtedly pour through the data over the summer and do what he thinks is most beneficial for his Miami squad.
Duncan Robinson - $16.9 Million
Entering 2nd Season Of A 5-Year, $90 Million Contract (2022-23: $16.9 Million, 2023-24: $18.2 Million, 2024-25: $19.4 Million, 2025-26: $19.9 Million Player Option)
The NBA can take a player on a rollercoaster ride without a seatbelt. One minute your heart is soaring down a g force drop while you sign a five-year, $90 million contract as one of the premier three-point shooting wings in the Eastern Conference. The next minute you’re free-falling toward the ground after the first loop, barely cracking the Heat’s playoff rotation and losing your playing time to three players, Max Strus, Gave Vincent, and Victor Oladipo, who collectively make peanuts compared to you. This is the life of the one-time-constant-in-the-starting-lineup-turned-bench-warmer Duncan Robinson, who has only played in ten Heat postseason games in 2022, averaging 10.3 minutes per contest.
The Miami Heat clearly prioritize defense from their wings. And Duncan Robinson clearly isn’t an above-average defender (-0.3 DBPM and 47.6 DGG% during the 2021-22 regular season). So why then did the Heat sign Duncan Robinson to a five-year deal? This was a reach of a contract for the typically savvy Miami front office, which they’ll almost certainly try to remedy during the offseason via trade.
P. J. Tucker - $7.4 Million Player Option
Entering 2nd Season Of A 2-Year, $14.4 Million Contract
P. J. Tucker is your prototypical glue guy. He holds the Heat together with his 41.5% hit rate from deep, spacing the floor for Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler, and Tyler Herro’s dashes into the lane. Tucker holds the Heat together with his decision-making from inside the lane, hitting his teammates off cuts to the rack or for open looks from beyond the arc. He holds the Heat together with his destructor defense, taking on Jayson Tatum (for example), the hottest player through the first two rounds of the playoffs, and stifling him into a 37.5% mark across 97.3 possessions.
P. J. Tucker, 37, is no spring chicken (sorry, it is my favorite corny platitude), but he’s shown no signs of slowing down. He proved a critical member of the Bucks 2021 championship core, and he’s proving himself a critical member of the Heat’s 2022 potential championship core. Milwaukee was foolish to let Tucker leave. The Heat won’t be. I expect GM Pat Riley to work out a multi-year contract to keep Tucker in Miami.
Max Strus - $1.8 Million
Entering 2nd Season Of A 2-Year, $3.4 Million Contract
Max Strus is a 26-year-old wing who earned under $2 million in 2021-22 and made Duncan Robinson superfluous. Not bad for an undrafted third-year player. Strus averaged 10.6 PPG, 3.0 RPG, and 1.4 APG while shooting 41.0% from deep and holding his assignments to a 45.2% shooting clip from the field during the regular season. And he’s continued to produce during the playoffs for the Heat, increasing his scoring to 12.2 PPG while decreasing his assignments field goal percentage to 44.6%.
Max Strus has found an excellent synergy with Jimmy Butler, and he has a penchant for hitting big shots at big moments. Max Strus is going to get paid this offseason; something like three years at $30 million seems reasonable.
Gabe Vincent - $1.8 Million
Entering 2nd Season Of A 2-Year, $3.5 Million Contract
Gabe Vincent is the Heat’s other third-year undrafted player, a 6'3" point guard who backed up Kyle Lowry throughout the season and slid into the starting lineup when Lowry was injured, providing steady play at the 1 for the Heat. Vincent has been one of the premier perimeter defenders in the playoffs, holding his assignments to a ridiculous 37.9% clip from the field. He was instrumental in the Heat’s shutdown job against Trae Young in the First Round, guarding the Hawks All-Star for 93.3 possessions and allowing him to shoot a wee 26.7% from the field. He was equally instrumental in the Heat’s beat down against the 76ers, guarding the previously red-hot Tyrese Maxey for 78.7 possessions and forcing him to shoot 31.6% from the field.
Excellent perimeter defenders are essential in today’s NBA, and Gabe Vincent has proven throughout the regular season and playoffs that he is an incredibly effective ballhawk. Like Max Strus, he too will get paid this offseason.
Dewayne Dedmon - Unrestricted Free Agent
Dewayne Dedmon put up steady backup center numbers for the Heat during the regular season, averaging 6.3 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 0.7 APG, and 40.4% from deep. The Heat signed Dedmon to a one-year minimum contract last offseason, and it feels like he might have priced himself out of a return to Miami.
Caleb Martin - $1.6 Million (Qualifying Offer)
Caleb Martin averaged 9.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG, and 1.1 APG while hitting 41.3% of his long-distance shots during the regular season. With Victor Oladipo’s emergence, Caleb Martin has seen his role reduced during the playoffs. Still, he’s a solid 3-and-D wing with a cheap qualifying offer. The Heat will at least extend Martin his qualifying offer during the offseason, or they might sign him to a reasonable multi-year deal.
Victor Oladipo - Unrestricted Free Agent
The Pacers selected Victor Oladipo second overall in the 2013 NBA Draft and he was on his way to becoming one of the league’s preeminent two-way terrors before he ruptured his quadriceps tendon during the 2018-19 season, throwing his career into a tailspin. Oladipo played in 100 regular season games from the 2018-19 season through the 2021-22 season, journeying from Indianapolis to Houston and on to Miami, where he looks like he’s regaining his old form during this year’s playoffs as a solid 24.3 minutes per game contributor for the Heat.
Victor Oladipo will enter the offseason as an unrestricted free agent, and it seems unlikely any team will offer him a substantial deal after his constant injury woes throughout the last four seasons. With that said, Miami will probably give him a low-priced one-year prove-it contract to see if he can maintain his postseason-level play throughout an 82-game season.
Omer Yurtseven - $1.8 Million
Entering 2nd Season Of A 2-Year, $3.4 Million Contract
Omer Yurtseven is a 7'0" rookie center who has only seen garbage time minutes during the postseason. Still, he has a solid-ish all-around game, and if Dedmon moves on to another team next season, he could become the Heat’s backup big man.
Haywood Highsmith - $1.8 Million (Team Option)
Haywood Highsmith is a second-year wing who was mainly a garbage time player for the Heat during the regular season. Similarly, he’s played only nine total minutes in the playoffs for Miami. Highsmith will enter the offseason with a $1.8 million team option, and it’s hard to see the Heat wasting a rotation spot on him.
Markieff Morris - Unrestricted Free Agent
After coming to the Lakers in a midseason trade during the 2019-20 and helping them win a title as a critical rotation player, Markieff Morris signed with the Heat during the summer of 2021. Sadly, he couldn’t carve out a role next to Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, playing in only 17 regular season contests and one postseason game. Morris will enter the offseason as an unrestricted free agent, and the Heat will almost certainly look for wing help elsewhere.
Udonis Haslem - Unrestricted Free Agent
Udonis Haslem has been the Heat’s official unofficial player-coach for what seems like forever (although his 13 games played this season are more than his three previous years). We have only one question: When will the Heat transition Haslem from an official unofficial player-coach to an official non-player-coach?
Give The Heat Some Credit
The Eastern Conference was about as deep as it’s been in 25 years this season, and the Heat still found their way to the top of the standings. And after beating the Hawks in the First Round and the 76ers in the Second Round, Miami is only two games away from making the Finals for the second time in three years. And this hasn’t been a lucky un-injured jaunt versus teams lacking their star power like the Suns postseason run from a year ago. The Heat faced a healthy Hawks squad. Then Miami beat down a 76ers team that had Embiid for nearly the entire series while they didn’t have their starting PG, Kyle Lowry. And now the Heat are handling a fully healthy Celtics team.
The Miami Heat have a genuine chance of winning the title this season, and with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo signed through 2026, they’ll be a top-tier playoff squad for the foreseeable future.
In other words, the Miami Heat are in an enviable position.