The Miami Heat were interested in trading for former Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard as well as defensive-minded guard Jrue Holiday at different points of the offseason but missed out on both stars.
To add insult to injury, Lillard and Holiday were traded to two of Miami’s biggest rivals in the Eastern Conference. The former was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks, while the latter was dealt to the Boston Celtics.
Heat president Pat Riley recently spoke on the team’s failed pursuit of stars this offseason.
“When there’s a narrative out there that gets ignited through social media and the hypotheticals, of whether it was a failure, I don’t buy that at all,” Riley told the Sun Sentinel. “Because I know exactly where this team is, from that standpoint.
“From my perspective and the ownership perspective and all the internal people with the Heat, we like our team.”
Riley then said that Miami never offered to trade guard Tyler Herro during the offseason.
“I will say this, that we never offered Tyler in any trade, we’ve never shopped him to anybody,” he said. “It’s just part of the business.”
Finally, the 78-year-old said he’s a fan of the current iteration of the Heat.
“I like our team,” he said. “I’m not worried again, about what the narrative is, what the perspective is. I think we have a great chance.”
The Heat lost two players who were valuable parts of the team’s 2023 NBA Finals run — Max Strus and Gabe Vincent — in free agency. The Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Strus in a sign-and-trade deal, and the Los Angeles Lakers signed Vincent to a three-year, $33 million deal.
But while Vincent and Strus are noticeable losses, the Heat also added some quality players to their roster in free agency. Namely, the Heat brought back guard Josh Richardson on a two-year deal at the veteran minimum.
This signing could go down as one of the best of the offseason in terms of value, seeing as how he averaged 10.1 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 36.5 percent from behind the 3-point arc in 65 games played with the San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Pelicans during the 2022-23 regular season.
The Heat also signed big man Thomas Bryant to a two-year, $5.4 million deal. The 26-year-old has been one of the more underrated big men in the league for a few seasons now. He averaged 12.1 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in 41 games played with the Lakers franchise last season.
Riley’s confidence in this Heat team should have Miami fans excited for the start of Miami’s regular season on Wednesday.