Ranking the Miami Heat's Free Agency Priorities

Ranking the Miami Heat's Free Agency Priorities
Photo by Alex Broadwell

The Miami Heat have many questions entering NBA free agency, which begins Friday. Questions that, depending on how they are answered, could influence the paths the franchise takes for the next decade. The franchise is betting a lot on Pat Riley and his ability to once again pull a rabbit out of his hat. The greatest player in Miami Heat history is still unsigned. The Heat's seven-foot nugget of gold they mined from the NBA D-League is puffing out his chest, seemingly daring the Heat to ask him to take a penny less than the maximum allotment. Key veteran leaders from last season's squad are as good as gone. 

Other than that, the next week or so should be pretty chill. 

So what should the Heat's priorities be heading into this crucial free agency period? Let's take a shot at ranking them.

1. Find out what Dwyane Wade is thinking.

From the looks of things, this has already happened. Dwyane Wade wouldn't be running around Europe without having at least touched base with the Heat in anticipation of the opening of Friday's free agency. Wade has made it clear he himself wants nothing to do with free agency this time around. 

“The whole free agency thing, I didn't want to be in it last summer; I don't want to be in it this summer,” Wade told the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson in February. “I don't want to be on the market at all… I’m not curious at all. I want to get to it [with the Heat]. I want to be able to sign my deal and move on and not have to deal with any rumors, any free agency, any this, any that. This is where I want to end my career. So we'll figure it out.”

That sounded great, then last night news broke of Wade and the Heat once again hitting a snag in negotiations. This is probably just standard positioning by Wade's agent, but it feels bad. 

Whatever the Heat plan to do, they are going to need to know what Wade is thinking. What Wade is willing to take plays a huge factor in their pursuit of free agents this summer. If he is open to taking less if they can lure Kevin Durant and Hassan Whiteside to Miami, that's the base knowledge for everything else to be built upon. If signing Whiteside to the max means pissing Wade off to the point you're watching him play for the Cavaliers in next year's NBA Finals, Whiteside has to go.

2. Get Hassan Whiteside away from all the pens for a weekend.

This past weekend Hassan alluded to wanting to get the whole free agency thing over with the moment it opens, telling reporters he hopes Friday he knows where he'll land. 

"On July 1, hopefully I'll know," Whiteside said of free agency. "I hope it's an easy decision to make."

Hopefully is the key word here for everyone involved. Hopefully Hassan Whiteside doesn't think that's an option if he wants to return to the Miami Heat. Hopefully he knows the Heat can't just pass up a chance to speak to Kevin Durant. Hopefully his agent doesn't have him sign the first contract he's offered, because if he does, it won't be from the Miami Heat.

Hopefully when Hassan Whiteside says loyalty has nothing to do with anything, he's not completely telling the truth.

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