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.

Jimmy Butler gets triple-double, Heat beat Lakers in NBA Finals Game 3

ESPN.com: “Jimmy Butler’s 40-point triple-double on Sunday pushed the injury-ridden Miami Heat to a 115-104 win in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, avoiding a 3-0 series death knell. For 45 minutes, Butler slashed to the basket and jockeyed with Lakers defenders for offensive rebounds on his way to finishing with 40 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists. His stat line puts him in esteemed company: Butler was just the third player in Finals history to have a 40-point triple-double, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information, joining Jerry West and LeBron James.”

ESPN.com: “The win does give the Heat some extra time to potentially get Goran Dragic — who missed the past two games with a torn plantar fascia in his left foot — and Bam Adebayo — who missed the same two games with a strained neck — back on the floor. “I go to war for those guys because whenever they’re out there, they’re going to war with and for me,” Butler said.”

LA Times: “With 10 seconds remaining in his team’s embarrassing 115-104 loss to the undermanned Miami Heat on Sunday night in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, LeBron James turned his back and walked off the court. A handful of teammates followed. Even though the clock still was ticking, there were soon only two Lakers left on the floor. When there was a stoppage in play with about a second remaining, Lakers coach Frank Vogel had to insert three new players into the game just to finish it. It was unsightly. It was humiliating. It was basically how the Lakers handled their business the entire night at the AdventHealth Arena near Orlando, Fla., surrendering the ball, acquiescing to Jimmy Butler, conceding to a team missing two of its best players but clearly not its fight.”

ESPN.com: “With Adebayo and Dragic sidelined, that three-pronged offense was reduced to a single leg. Forget about those nifty three-man actions playing off Adebayo at the elbow, and forget about Dragic’s whirling and probing that sucks the defense in and produces kick-out 3-pointers. The Heat would have to concoct some high-grade lemonade, with Butler — master brewer himself — at the controls. What the Heat lost in versatility they gained in individual dominance on Sunday evening. Butler was aggressive, crafty, unselfish and, in key moments, sublime. As both playmaker and scorer, Butler owned the half court in Game 3. He scored 40 points, dished out 13 assists and grabbed 11 rebounds. He got to the free throw line 14 times, and took on the assignment of defending LeBron James for extended stretches.”

OC Register: “Adebayo worked out before Sunday’s game, and Miami coach Eric Spoelstra talked of how it was agonizing to have to sit Adebayo and Goran Dragic (plantar fascia tear) Sunday but he had to be responsible for their health. “I know how much this means to (Adebayo), and I know how much he wants to be out there,” Spoelstra said. “This is one of the most difficult decisions that I’ve had to make with the trainers and with Pat (Riley) and everybody, but it’s the most responsible thing.” The Heat, which has already knocked off Milwaukee and Boston, climbed back into this series with Butler’s brilliance and a mixture of resilience, resolve and good old fashioned aggression.”

Miami Herald: “According to Elias Sports, Butler scored or assisted on 73 points Sunday and that’s tied for the second-most in a Finals game in NBA history behind only Walt Frazier’s 74 points. Butler’s Heat teammates combined to score 75 points on 45 percent shooting in Game 3. Tyler Herro and Kelly Olynyk each scored 17 points in the win, and Jae Crowder was important with 12 points, eight rebounds and solid defense. Butler is averaging 22.1 points on 48.2 percent shooting, 5.9 rebounds and 5.5 assists in 37.3 minutes this postseason.”

Miami Herald: “The Heat started Herro in Dragic’s place and center Meyers Leonard in Adebayo’s place Sunday for the second consecutive game.”

OC Register: “The Lakers’ offensive dysfunction was a team effort, including a couple of duds from shooters Kentavius Caldwell-Pope and Danny Green. The bubble has haunted Green for much of the Lakers’ extended stay; the two-time NBA champion was a 41.6% field-goal shooter in the regular season, but he’s shooting 33.3 percent from the field in the playoffs, when he’s 33.0% from 3-point range.”

OC Register: “And in the past two games of the Finals, Green is a combined 1 for 14, including missing all six of his shots Sunday. Caldwell-Pope hasn’t been much better this series: He’s 8 for 29 so far against the Heat, including going 1 for 5 on Sunday. That’s well off the typical pace for the guard who was a 46.7% shooter from the floor and a 38.5% 3-point shooter in the regular season.”

Kelly Olynyk faces opt-out decision next NBA offseason

Here’s the Miami Herald reporting on Heat big-man reserve Kelly Olynyk:

When life was normal, less than a month ago, it seemed no Heat player faced a tougher offseason decision than Kelly Olynyk, who has the option of bypassing $13.6 million in the final year of his contract and instead entering free agency this summer.

Now, with pro sports facing unprecedented uncertainty in the coming months amid the coronavirus pandemic, coupled with the possibility of a lower NBA salary cap because of lost revenue, the choice could essentially be made for Olynyk and many others with 2020-21 player options: The security of opting in suddenly seems pretty appealing.

Even before coronavirus affected everything, Olynyk faced a landscape in which only six other teams, besides Miami, would have cap space above $10 million this offseason, per capologist Jeff Siegel: Atlanta at $49.1 million, New York at $44.3 million, Detroit at $31.9 million, Charlotte at $25.2 million, Memphis at $16 million and Phoenix at $13.9 million.

The big takeaway here goes way beyond Olynyk. League-wide, it makes sense, as of a few weeks ago, to assume that lots of players with contract options who may have tested free agent waters during the next offseason to play it safer and opt for short-term security.

Kelly Olynyk undergoes shoulder surgery

Kelly Olynyk undergoes shoulder surgery

The Boston Celtics announced today that Kelly Olynyk yesterday underwent a successful right shoulder arthroscopy for recurrent subluxations. He will begin an immediate rehabilitation program and the time frame for his return to basketball activities has not yet been determined.

Olynyk, who completed his third year with the team, averaged 10.0 points, including shooting 40.5 percent from beyond the arc, 4.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 20.2 minutes per game during the 2015-16 regular season.

The 7’0” forward/center recorded a season-high 28 points on 11-21 (.524) shooting from the field, six rebounds, three assists, three steals and one block on December 11, 2015 against the Golden State Warriors.