On Sunday, the Miami Heat made two roster moves that could signal their intentions as negotiations with free agents set to open on Monday at 6 p.m. ET. Those two moves were declining Andre Iguodala’s $15 million player option for the 2021-22 season, which allows him to enter unrestricted free agency, while picking up Goran Dragic’s $19.4M player option.
The Iguodala move was done to free up cap space, and Dragic’s money likely wasn’t picked up for the purposes of keeping him in Miami; it could well be used to help facilitate a sign-and-trade with the Raptors for Kyle Lowry, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Lowry and the Heat have been circling each other for some time, dating back to February’s trade deadline, but now a blast from Lowry’s past is showing up in some very intersting reports. DeMar DeRozan, an unrestricted free agent who spent six seasons as Lowry’s teammate with the Toronto Raptors, is reportedly a candidate to join Lowry in Miami.
When word broke that the Heat had cut ties with Iguodala, it seemed to signal that they were planning to operate in free agency as an under-the-cap team with anywhere from $22 million to $27 million in room, but the exercising of Dragic’s player option contradicted that as now it looks like the Heat will operate as an over-the-cap team, making it easier to retain their own free agents like Trevor Ariza and perhaps Victor Oladipo, in addition to restricted free agent Duncan Robinson.
Operating as a team over the cap also affords Miami the $9.5 million mid-level exception, which could be used on DeRozan, who has said he would be more than happy to take less money for the chance to compete for a championship. You would have to think a shot at a title while teaming back up with his good friend Lowry would be even more of an incentive to make something happen in Miami. We’ll see what happens. It should be a wild week, as usual.