The Miami Heat were eliminated from this year’s postseason despite a rampaging 30-11 turn-of-the-page 2017 calendar year, falling just short of an eighth seed due to a tiebreaker with the Chicago Bulls.
But the team’s shortcomings haven’t been seen as a failure by the organization or the fans, but rather an admirable display of will and togetherness that had a potential “rebuilding team” much closer to its finished product than most thought.
Only 50 minutes prior to midnight, team owner Micky Arison posted an Instagram photo of him alongside forward James Johnson and shooting guard Dion Waiters, all wearing rabbit ears while posing along an Easter bunny stuffed animal.
The caption reads: “The @miamiheat future looks very bright.”
While this could be merely speculative, Johnson and Waiters were two of the key pieces that sparked this team to a season-high 13-game win streak — which shook off an 11-30 start to the season — making them prime candidates for signing long-term deals.
Waiters averaged 15.8 points and posted career-highs in assists (4.3), rebounds (3.3) and three-pointers made (1.8) this season. The Syracuse product gambled on himself this past offseason, agreeing to a two-year, $5.9 million contract with the team, with a player-option coming up this summer.
Johnson has been a jack of all trades that every team would love to have on their roster. The 30-year-old averaged 12.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.1 blocks per game in 76 games this season. He’s set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
If Arison chooses to make the two cogs a part of the team moving forward, this will be an Easter holiday they’re likely not to forget.