What should the Miami Heat do next?

Here’s the Sun Sentinel responding to a reader question on if it’s realistic for the Heat to improve their roster this upcoming season while also maintaining salary cap flexibility to pursue Giannis Antetokounmpo the following offseason:

The Heat, without question, will attempt to improve. It’s what they do. Always. It could be player development. It could be through a trade that minimizes 2021-22 payroll impact. It could be forgoing cap space for the 2021 offseason with eyes perhaps instead on a trade (remember, Jimmy Butler was acquired in a sign-and-trade at a stage when the Heat lacked cap space). So, if you are asking whether the Heat will be stuck running in place, the answer is the Heat don’t do the treadmill (unless, of course, it is part of their conditioning program).

Key free agents for the Heat this offseason include Goran Dragic and Jae Crowder. Kelly Olynyk has a player option. Dragic might be open to agreeing to a one-year deal. Olynyk as well. Crowder might be looking for something bigger.

After what the Heat just accomplished, their priority is likely to keep their current core together and strengthen things in an effort to return to the Finals in 2021. That’s a more logical focus than hoping that Giannis, a player on another team, somehow might become available to them in the future.

Will the Heat and Jae Crowder stick together?

Here’s the Miami Herald reporting on the Heat (41-24) and forward Jae Crowder, who has been playing for the Grizzlies before being traded to Miami:

Considering the uncertainty surrounding the NBA’s coronavirus shutdown, it’s possible that forward Jae Crowder has played his final game in a Miami Heat uniform.

The league is still hopeful it will be able to resume the season at some point, but there’s the fear that this season could be completely lost. With Crowder set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, that leaves his future with the organization in question.

However, this is certain: Crowder hopes the Heat keeps him past this season.

“I’m just very happy to be a part of this organization because I’ve always envisioned that, but I never knew if it could come true,” said Crowder, who has averaged 11.9 points while shooting 39.3 percent on threes, 5.8 rebounds, two assists and 1.5 steals in 13 games since he was traded to the Heat in February. “But I always wanted to play for this city.”

Crowder brings defense and energy, and there’s every reason the team would want to bring him back.

Hopefully we get more basketball, whether regular season or playoffs, in the 2019-20 season. But for now, everything is on hold.

Celtics re-sign Jae Crowder

Celtics re-sign Jae Crowder

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have re-signed forward Jae Crowder.

“Jae epitomizes everything that we look for in a Celtic,” said Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge. “His infectious energy on both ends of the court and his versatile skill set enabled him to win over both the coaching staff and our fan base after his acquisition last season.”

Crowder was acquired by the Celtics from the Dallas Mavericks on December 18, 2014. He averaged 9.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.0 steal in 24.2 minutes per game in 57 contests with Boston.

The 6’6” forward tallied a season-high tying 22 points on 8-14 (.571) shooting from the field, seven rebounds and one block in 30 minutes of action on February 22 against the Los Angeles Lakers. For the duration of the 2014-15 season, Crowder appeared in 82 contests and averaged 7.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 20.1 minutes per game.

He was originally the 34th overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers before being traded on Draft night to Dallas, and has averaged 5.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 17.9 minutes per game on his career.

Jae Crowder brings defense to Mavericks

Jae Crowder

[Coach Rick] Carlisle said Crowder is in a tough spot because his offense suffers while he consistently tries to slow down scoring machines such as Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James.

“But that’s one of the reasons we like him,” Carlisle said. “He’s one of the best defenders we’ve got.

“He can guard guys that run off screens, he’s a good one-on-one defender, he’s got good size, he can guard different positions, he’s played some [power forward], he’s played some [shooting guard], and he mostly plays [small forward],” Carlisle said. “The flexibility that he gives us is a big plus.”

It’s a big plus that Crowder takes seriously. That’s why he took the initiative over the off-season to try to improve his defensive skills.

Reported by Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram