After making the NBA Finals, the Miami Heat could be excused for playing this offseason conservatively. With a 2021 pursuit of Giannis Antetokounmpo in range and veterans Goran Dragic and Jae Crowder set to hit free agency, the simplest path to continued contention would simply be to retain their own free agents on one-year deals as they await a possible superstar addition next offseason. The Heat are never that complacent, though, and one big-name free agent in 2020 is reportedly on their radar.
According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Denver Nuggets forward Jerami Grant is expected to interest the Heat. Jackson posited that the Heat could offer him their $9.3 million mid-level exception, but in all likelihood, that won't be enough to steal him away from Denver. The Nuggets have full Bird Rights on Grant, and can therefore offer him anything up to the max. He won't get that much, but something starting at around $15 million per year is where his market is expected to land. Younger teams with cap space, such as the Hawks and Knicks, could make him similar offers.
The Heat technically could create that kind of cap space, but it would be costly. Assuming Kelly Olynyk opts into the final year of his contract, the Heat have around $82 million committed for next season. That does not include cap holds for Dragic, Crowder, Derrick Jones Jr. or Meyers Leonard. If the Heat renounced their rights to all of those players, they could create more than $20 million in space. That would be enough to chase Grant, but it would likely take them out of the running for Crowder and Dragic, unless either is willing to take a meaningful pay cut.
The likelier path for the Heat this offseason would be to keep their own free agents on the books. That would allow them to go over the cap to retain all of them. Grant is probably a more valuable piece than any single Heat free agent, at least over the next several years, but is he more valuable than all of them combined? Probably not, especially given the power of Miami's Bird Rights. The Heat don't want to commit any more money than is necessary beyond this season so their books will be clean for a pursuit of Giannis in 2021. Grant will almost certainly demand a multi-year deal. Dragic and Crowder, both in their 30s, might not. The Heat could give both exorbitant one-year deals to keep them from testing the market in search of a longer offer. As the Nuggets can with Grant, the Heat can pay either anything up to the max.
Doing so would likely make it harder for the Heat to add outside talent this offseason. If the Heat choose to run it back, they will almost certainly be a tax team, and the taxpayer mid-level exception is smaller than the non-taxpayer version (around $9.3 million vs. $5.7 million in the first year). Still, a Finals team adding any mid-level free agent while retaining the rest of its core and future financial flexibility should be considered dangerous.
This is the Heat we're talking about. Few teams manage the cap better. If there's a way to add Grant without risking too much 2021 space and keeping some combination of Crowder and Dragic, they'll find it. But it would be a very difficult needle to thread, and for now, the assumption should be that Grant remains with the Nuggets.