Max Strus and Gabe Vincent were two key players for the Miami Heat this year in their quest for an NBA championship that fell just short, and the team reportedly is interested in re-signing the unrestricted free agents in an attempt to actually win it all next season.
There’s reportedly mutual interest on that front.
“After playing as a starter during the Heat’s playoff run to the NBA Finals, Strus is set for a big pay raise this summer from the minimum salary he was previously on,” wrote Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. “But will the Heat be the team to give Strus that raise? Despite not having cap space, the Heat is still permitted to offer Strus up to his maximum salary because it holds his Bird rights. But paying Strus $10-12 million for next season would only make the Heat’s luxury tax bill even more expensive. There’s mutual interest between Strus and the Heat, but the money and how the rest of the offseason unfolds for Miami will likely be the deciding factors on whether he returns.”
Strus had a good postseason but an iffy series in the NBA Finals against the Denver Nuggets. He had two scoreless games, including an awful 0-for-10 shooting performance in Game 1. The 27-year-old forward did have a couple of solid games but ultimately averaged just 5.8 points per contest for the series.
Vincent was excellent throughout the postseason before his scoring fell off in the last three games of the Finals. The guard, who turned 27 this month, finished tied with Caleb Martin for third on the Heat in points per game during the playoffs, behind only Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. He certainly increased his market value heading into this crucial offseason for him.
“Vincent is in the same position as Strus, up for a significant pay raise after playing as a starter during the Heat’s playoff run,” Chiang wrote. “Vincent was on a minimum salary for the last two seasons. With Vincent’s Bird rights, the Heat can exceed the salary cap to re-sign him up to his maximum salary despite not having cap space. But signing Vincent to a contract with a starting salary in the $12 million range would add to Miami’s already expensive luxury tax bill. There’s mutual interest between Vincent and the Heat, but Miami will need to decide how far it’s willing to go to keep him.”
There figures to be interest from other teams in both Strus and Vincent, with contracts around $15 million per year reportedly possible.
The Heat have several directions they can go this offseason, with Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal emerging as a top trade target. Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers has also been linked to the Heat, and there are thoughts that the team could try to add both of them.
A lot was made of the Heat getting as far as they did this year with so many undrafted players, and that formula worked up until the Finals, where they were overwhelmed by Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. Miami could use that same idea of having top-notch role players support Butler and Adebayo and try again with as many of them returning as possible, starting with Strus and Vincent.
Whichever path the Heat choose, folks can expect them to be right in the middle of all the summer activity that could result in a “major reset” for the NBA this offseason.