The Miami Heat fell just short of making it to the playoffs during Dwyane Wade’s farewell tour. The problem Miami faces this offseason is having a ton of money tied up in players next season, including player options for Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside.
After Tyler Johnson and Wayne Ellington were dealt to the Suns, the team lost depth at guard. At 33 years old and coming off an injury-plagued season, Dragic isn’t the answer for the future. Because the Heat don’t have the cap space to go big game hunting their only choices at guard are through the draft or bargain bin shopping. If they choose the latter, there are a few quality guards to sign for the cheap.
Although he’s not a free agent this year there is a market for Conley. The Grizzlies will most likely draft Ja Morant with the No. 2 pick in the draft, which means Conley’s time in Memphis could be coming to an end.
Miami would have to put together a package that not only impresses Memphis, but figure out a way to move one of the big guaranteed contracts off their books. If they can work out a trade Miami will definitely have an upgrade at guard. Conley has been the definition of consistent, but his game has been overshadowed by the sheer amount of star power at the guard position in the Western Conference. Miami would be getting an all-star caliber guard without breaking the bank.
This past season in 70 games, Conley averaged 21.1 points, 6.4 assists, and 3.4 rebounds per game. This was actually the highest scoring season in Conley’s 12 seasons in the league.
One of the more underrated aspects of Conley’s game is his defense. At 6’1 he uses his speed and quick hands to harass players. He’s averaged over a steal per game in 11 of his 12 seasons and was Second Team All-Defense in 2012-2013. If Miami were to acquire Conley, as well as have Dragic on a player option the Heat would have two veteran point guards each capable of running the offense. Conley’s arrival would definitely boost Miami’s playoff chances.
Everyone remembers Isaiah Thomas’ magical run with the Celtics a few years ago. At one point he was in the position to get a max contract once he hit free agency. However, fate had a different story for Thomas. He was traded to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving and then a hip injury kept him out a good portion of the year. When he finally came back, it was clear his game did not co-exist with LeBron’s and he was eventually shipped away in a trade later that season.
Although it’s been a pretty rough two years for Thomas, he still has a lot of game left in him. At this point, signing him would be a low risk, high reward thing. He’s 30, which is technically still prime years. He’s only two years removed from having averaged 28.9 points and 5.9 assists per game for Boston.
Thomas just needs a chance to prove himself and the Heat can offer him that. The Heat experimented with having Justise Winslow at point guard this season and it showed some promise. Adding Thomas would then give coach Spoelstra the flexibility of having two guys that, at any point could be the primary ball handler and playmaker. Denver signed Thomas for only $2 million this past season. This means the asking price on Thomas won’t be too high and Miami could even bring him in on a multi-year deal for cheap.
A guy who hasn’t really found his place yet in the league, Elfrid Payton has bounced around since entering theNBA in 2014. Drafted by Philadelphia, Payton was traded on draft night to Orlando. While in Orlando, Payton actually played pretty well and started a vast majority of the games in his two-year stint with the Magic.
Last season he was traded midway through the year to Phoenix and was thought to become a part of a forceful young backcourt with Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis. This voyage, Payton played on a one-year deal for the New Orleans Pelicans, backing up Jrue Holiday.
It’s puzzling to figure out why it’s been so hard for Payton to land a solid position on a team. He is your prototypical point guard who will run the offense and find open teammates. To an extent, Payton is kind of a poor man’s Mike Conley. Payton has averaged double digits in scoring and over six assists per game in every season except his rookie year.
At 6-foot-4, Elfrid’s got some good height, which makes him a solid rebounding guard as well as a quality defender. He only played in 42 games last season due to countless injuries. But when he was healthy he really showed out. In fact, Payton had a stretch this past season where he reeled off five straight triple-doubles. Something that had only been done five times in NBA history. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to add him to a promising young core of players in Miami.
It took Bullock a few years to find himself in the league, but he has slowly but surely settled into his own. Coming out of UNC, Bullock was known as a dude who could score, especially from the perimeter. In his senior year, he shot 43% from distance.
After being dealt from the Clippers to Detroit after his rookie season, Bullock worked his way from the end of the bench to solid role player to a starter. His shooting is what really did it for him as the years went on. Statistically, Bullock was having his best season this year — however he was traded to the Lakers in February.
A big reason why Reggie was traded to the Lakers was because of his 3 point shooting. This could be a reason why the Heat should go after him. The Heat truly missed the shooting of Wayne Ellington after he was traded to the Suns along with Tyler Johnson. If the move for the Heat is to use Justise Winslow as a Ben Simmons type, then having Bullock would serve them well. Winslow, although he’s gotten better, still isn’t a true threat from the perimeter. Bullock shot 38% from 3 point range this season and 44% during 2017-2018. Bullock would provide some much-needed floor spacing while also giving you size at 6’7. He can play the off guard position as well as small forward.