The Miami Heat officially ended their 30th season of the franchise. The draft begins the season, exit interviews with Pat Riley’s addressing “Heatnation” finishes the season.
The conclusion after all the final questions are answered (Dwyane Wade and Hassan Whiteside were not available to media, voluntarily) my column on Pat Riley addressing “Heatnation” is next.
To paraphrase Sam Cooke “a change is gonna come” to this roster. Significant change needs to happen.
When I type this, I mean it from the level of the Heat being the toast of the town again with a parade down Biscayne Boulevard, Downtown Miami.
Wade was the best player for the Heat’s playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers off the bench, is that bad? Well, it is not that good.
The Heat team from this season was good enough to make the playoffs, being the first team eliminated from the Eastern Conference in a series they could have actually been swept in, is evident the team is not good enough to be championship contenders.
After their 30-11 run to end last season and missing the playoffs by the skin of their teeth, Miami pushed $153 million worth of chips on the table of long-term deals for James Johnson, Dion Waiters, and Josh Richardson; Kelly Olynyk was their summer pick up costing 50 million of those chips.
“The majority of the core is under contract, that’s what the plan will be,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra stated.
The team was better than last season but some inconsistencies from last season remained the same along with red flags raised from Whiteside’s play along with coaching decisions for his minutes. They lacked skill at each position to beat the NBA’s bad teams. 12 losses were to teams who finished at least ten games below .500.
The Heat is capped out and does not own a 2018 draft pick. Trades are the only way to break the band up. Riley has shared no one is safe.
This team could not go toe to toe with Philadelphia, let alone Boston was terrific with key talent hurt. Miami will need to raise the temperature to flat out acquire a superstar this off-season.
Speaking of a superstar.
Wade after the trade deadline did not transform the team drastically but helped on the court, in the locker room and was a fantastic voice in the community since his return after a year in Chicago and stop in Cleveland.
Wade has expressed it’s the Heat or no other team if he returns. At age 36, off the bench, it can work if he decides to come back. Waiters when ready to entirely go can compliment Wade. If the Heat has the intentions to keep him fresh for the playoffs, it can work.
Now, the elephant in the room.
Whiteside was terrible in the playoffs. He complained about playing, the moments he did the Heat did not benefit from it. Whiteside, 28, had his worst game of the series in Philadelphia’s series-clinching victory in Game 5 when he scored just two points in 10 minutes.
“The narratives and the storylines that will be out there, I do think are unfair about Hassan right now,” Spoelstra shared.
Whiteside’s trade value has dropped. Chances are he stays; he needs to get his offensive game improved tremendously. His size and strength are not felt in the paint on both ends of the court. Connecting on under 60 percent on layups made this season will not get it done.
Udonis Haslem, Wayne Ellington, and Wade are free agents for the Heat.
A change will come.