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Crowder and Jones out, Bradley and Harkless in as Heat reset roster in NBA free agency

By Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Basketball

The Miami Heat maneuvered through the first 24 hours of NBA free agency with a sense of immediacy, but also with an eye toward the future.

The approach left the Heat with the additions of veterans Avery Bradley and Maurice Harkless, but also with the losses of rotation players Jae Crowder and Derrick Jones Jr.

Along the way, the Heat retained Goran Dragic, Meyers Leonard and Udonis Haslem.

Each of the free-agency agreements reached by the Heat are limited to a single guaranteed season, most with a second-year team option added.

Crowder, by contrast, left for a three-year guaranteed contract with the Phoenix Suns, with Jones receiving a two-year guaranteed contract with the Portland Trail Blazers.

The approach by Pat Riley, Andy Elisburg and the rest of the front office allows the Heat to retain most of the core that helped push the Heat to last season's NBA Finals, while also affording sufficient salary-cap flexibility for the 2021 offseasons, when the free-agency class could include Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Jrue Holiday, Victor Oladipo, Kyle Lowry and LeBron James.

 

With their machinations at the start of free agency, the Heat stand at the NBA regular-season roster limit of 15-players. That number is allowed to reach 20 prior to the start of the season.

Counting the free-agency agreements in place, which can be finalized as soon as Sunday's start of the NBA signing period, the Heat roster includes Bradley, Harkless, Dragic, Leonard, Haslem, Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, Andre Iguodala, Kelly Olynyk, KZ Okpala, Chris Silva and first-round pick Precious Achiuwa.

In addition, the Heat have signed guard Gabe Vincent to a two-way contract, which does not count against the 15-player roster limit. The Heat are allowed one additional such signing, which such players limited to 50 appearances in the upcoming 72-game schedule truncated by the league's delayed start due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Heat reached their limit of salary-cap space with the signings of Dragic and Leonard. The agreements with Bradley and Harkless were reached by splitting the $9.3 million mid-level exception. Because of that, the Heat will be hard-capped this season, limited to a payroll of no more than $138.9 million. The Heat played under a hard cap last season due to a sign-and-trade agreement with Butler.

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