The Miami Heat reportedly want to give young players the first crack at earning the team’s final roster spots before pursuing any veteran help.
Miami is looking to put the finishing touches on its roster after missing out on Damian Lillard, and it has players like Jamal Cain, R.J. Hampton and Dru Smith that could earn jobs (they are currently on two-way deals).
Other players competing for jobs include Cole Swider, Justin Champagnie, Drew Peterson, Cheick Diallo and Alondes Williams.
“The Heat believes the only way it will know if any of the eight young players without guaranteed contracts can play is to give them an opportunity to compete in training camp and preseason, without another veteran cluttering the equation,” the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson wrote.
“Three, four or five of those eight could emerge with jobs — three with two-way contracts (Dru Smith, R.J. Hampton and Jamal Cain are looking to hold onto those two-way deals or earn standard deals) and potentially one or, less likely, two other players emerging from preseason with standard deals.
“The Heat has 13 players signed to standard contracts and must be at 14 by opening night, when Detroit visits Kaseya Center on Oct. 25.
“While the Heat hasn’t ruled out signing a veteran, it wants to give the young players every chance to earn those jobs.”
It makes sense that Miami wants to give some of these young players opportunities, especially since the Heat have had so much success developing players — often of the undrafted variety — in the past.
It’s worth noting that some of the aforementioned players are former draft picks. Hampton is a former first-round pick, and he could have the talent to earn a role with the team this season.
Gabe Vincent, Duncan Robinson, Max Strus, Haywood Highsmith and Caleb Martin were all key parts of last season’s run to the NBA Finals, and they were all given chances by Miami to compete for roles.
Strus and Vincent moved on this offseason in free agency, so the Heat could use some help replacing them in the rotation.
Miami will also likely get a chance to look at last year’s first-round pick Nikola Jovic and this year’s first-round pick Jaime Jaquez Jr. during training camp and the preseason. If those two players were to carve out roles for the Heat, it would be beneficial since they are under contract for multiple seasons.
Pat Riley and the Heat have been able to find players that fit the franchise’s culture time and time again, and it appears that they want to give the current group of youngsters chances to prove themselves before the 2023-24 regular season.
If the Heat feel that they don’t currently have a piece that can help them this season, they can always attempt to add a veteran with more NBA experience through free agency or the trade market.