August 12, 2022

There was a time when the 4th of July weekend had the Miami Heat in scramble mode.

This, in particular, was the case in 2016, when the Heat suspended free agency negotiations with Dwyane Wade once Kevin Durant announced on July 4 that he was leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder, sending Pat Riley and Micky Arison packing. to the forward who has since traveled to the New York Hamptons.

Then there’s the holiday weekend like this year, with crickets from the Heat and most of the league, as Durant debates destinations again, after asking the Brooklyn Nets for a trade.

Since Thursday’s opening day of NBA free agency, when the Heat lost PJ Tucker to the Philadelphia 76ers and re-signed Victor Oladipo and Dewayne Dedmon, the pattern of waiting has been constant.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t work to do yet, even if the team moves from Tuesday’s California Classic Summer League Finals in San Francisco to the bigger NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

For the Heat, several elements remain in play and must be addressed:

Caleb Martin: The Heat have a $2.1 million qualifying offer in place that makes Martin a restricted free agent and allows them to match outside offers for the energetic forward.

However, there are limits.

Because the Heat are past the salary cap and don’t have bird rights on Martin, they can’t match outside offers above the $10.5 million mid-level exception as a point of departure. departure 2022-23 for a contract.

Even then, the Heat likely won’t exceed the $6.5 million taxpayer mid-tier exception, as any starting salary above that figure would trigger a hard salary cap. Moreover, awarding such a $6.5 million salary to Martin would likely preclude the addition of an outside free agent above the minimum.

Martin’s twin brother, Cody Martin, who had similar stats to Caleb last season, recently signed a four-year, $32 million deal to stay with the Charlotte Hornets.

Markieff Morris: With Tucker lost to the 76ers, Morris could potentially go back on another veteran minimum contract.

But after missing 58 games due to whiplash following his Nov. 8 brawl with Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, the veteran forward who turns 33 in September has never found the midfield game again. range that initially made him so effective at the start of the season.

Morris ended up playing just three minutes in the Heat’s 18 playoff games.

Udonis Haslem: Haslem, 42, is the Heat’s other remaining free agent from the 2021-22 roster, having played just 82 minutes during the regular season, none in the playoffs.

The Heat recently sent a member of team staff to Haslem’s vacation home in Orlando to invite him back for his 20th season with the team. He has been below the NBA’s minimum wage scale in each of the past five years.

Intermediate level exception: As mentioned with Martin, the Heat, who operate above the 2022-23 NBA salary cap of $123.7 million but below the $150.3 million luxury tax line, can use either the $10.5 million mid-tier full exception on a free agent (or free agents) or the $6.5 million mid-level taxpayers.

Using anything over $6.5 million of the mid-tier triggers a hard cap of $157 million.

Among the reasons the Heat lost Tucker to the 76ers was the decision not to move to a capped position.

Half-yearly exception: This is a $4.1 million exception that can be used on one or more free agents, but cannot be used in consecutive years.

Like the mid-tier full exception, using the semiannual puts a team in a capped position.

The Heat have the biannual available, but would likely only use it if they also used the entire $10.5 million mid-tier and agreed to operate under a hard cap.

List limit: Teams can carry up to 15 standard-contract players during the regular season as well as two two-way contract players, with those two players being limited to 50 regular-season appearances.

The Heat currently have 12 players under standard contract: Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Dedmon, Haywood Highsmith, Tyler Herro, Nikola Jovic, Kyle Lowry, Oladipo, Duncan Robinson, Max Strus, Gabe Vincent and Omer Yurtseven.

This leaves three additional slots on the in-game roster.

Javonte Smart and Mychal Mulder are currently on bilateral 2022-23 contracts with the Heat.

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