Heat roster locked in for NBA resumption, playoffs (unless COVID replacement needed)

Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Basketball

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The 2019-20 window for discretionary change has closed for the Miami Heat.

With the passing of Sunday's final waiver deadline of the season, the Heat remain at the NBA maximum of 17 players, effectively eliminating them from another move before Tuesday's 11:59 p.m. close of the league's transaction window.

The only addition going forward for Erik Spoelstra's team would be an emergency replacement if a player is sidelined by COVID-19 or opts out of the league's planned resumption of play, starting July 30 at the Wide World of Sports complex on the Walt Disney complex.

In standing pat, the Heat become a luxury-tax team, ending the league's fiscal year with a $133.9 million payroll, $1.3 million above the NBA's $132.6 million tax threshold. While that typically would require a $2 million payment to the league (at the tax rate of 1.5 per dollar above), the shortened schedule created by the coronavirus pandemic could impact how the league both collects and distributes such overages, if that is done at all.

Perhaps of greatest consequence is the Heat again find themselves back on the clock toward the repeater luxury tax. Teams that operate above the tax four seasons in any five-year period are subject to a higher multiplier on future tax bills.

The Heat escaped the tax the final week of the 2018-19 season by waiving Rodney McGruder, whose contract then was claimed by the Los Angeles Clippers. But with the Heat back in the playoffs this season, the decision was made to deal with the tax consequence.


Should a Heat player either opt out of the planned resumption in the quarantine setting at Disney, or be unable to play due to a positive COVID result, the Heat would be allowed to add a replacement without a corresponding roster move. Players who are replaced are ineligible for the balance of the season and playoffs.

For now, just as it was when the league went on hiatus on March 11, the Heat remain with a roster of Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Jae Crowder, Goran Dragic, Udonis Haslem, Tyler Herro, Solomon Hill, Andre Iguodala, Derrick Jones Jr., Meyers Leonard, Kendrick Nunn, KZ Okpala, Kelly Olynyk, Duncan Robinson and Chris Silva.

The Heat also continue with Kyle Alexander and Gabe Vincent under two-way contracts. Unlike typical seasons, the NBA will allow players on two-way deals to be eligible for playoff rosters.

Out of those 17 players, Spoelstra still will be limited to 13 active players on game nights, both for the Heat's eight remaining regular-season games, which the NBA is terming "seeding" games, as well as the playoffs.


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