How the Heat could’ve cleared space for Wade while still signing Whiteside and contending

The Miami Heat lost their franchise icon, 3 time champion and 13 time All Star in Dwyane Wade this offseason, to their Eastern Conference foes the Chicago Bulls. Why did this happen? The Heat did not have enough cap space to offer Wade the same amount Chicago did, after re-signing center Hassan Whiteside. Furthermore, key decision maker Pat Riley reportedly barely spoke to Wade prior to his leaving. So, if I had’ve taken over as GM, here’s what I would’ve done to retain Wade and contonue to challenge LeBron James’ Cavs in the East:

Trade ill-fitting point guard Goran Dragic (who is better suited to running the show in a fast paced system) for the Rockets’ # and D point guard Pat Beverley and young forward Sam Dekker. This trade stings after the Heat gave up two first round picks to get Dragic, but if they get that return plus Wade, it’s a necessary evil. The Rockets have always coveted Dragic and he would fit well as a second playmaker alongside Harden.

This deal clears up an extra $8.18 million for the Heat, with $52 million in cap space total. Sign Whiteside to his deal, which is $22.1 million in the first year. The, sign Wade to the same deal he got with Chicago – $47.5 million over two years ($23.3 mil in first year).

This leaves around $6.6 million to re-sign Tyler Johnson with his “poison pill” contract (ie $11.5 million in first two years, $38.5 million in final two years).

The Heat would now have a (healthy) starting lineup of Tyler Johnson, Dwyane Wade, Justise Winslow, Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside, supported by Josh McRoberts, Dekker, Beverley, Udonis Haslem, Josh Richardson and whoever the team can pick up on the cheap. I think that this team could reach the Eastern Conference Finals at the least.

Of course, this is all hypothetical, and maybe Pat Riley never intended to re-sign Wade, or Wade didn’t want to come back. But this is what I would’ve done as a GM to keep the Heat in contention and keep a franchise icon in South Beach.

Think this works? If not, why not? Leave a comment below or tweet at me at @NBAcouchGM

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