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Pat Riley: Heat Want to ‘Take Care of the Players That We Have’ in Free Agency

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Miami Heat president Pat Riley watches before an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The Miami Heat won the Eastern Conference in 2020 one year after missing the playoffs, and now president Pat Riley is tasked with keeping his team in NBA Finals contention.

Riley gave some insight into Miami’s offseason plans Friday while speaking with the media

“We know what our priorities are. It is to take care of the players that we have, that we have to make decisions on almost immediately. We know [center Bam Adebayo] has a decision to make and we do with him. We know the guys that have sacrificed for us that we really like, our free agents, especially [point guard Goran Dragic].”

Among rotation regulars, Dragic, Solomon Hill, Meyers Leonard, Jae Crowder and Derrick Jones Jr. are free agents. Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn are on non-guaranteed deals, while Kelly Olynyk has a player option.

Adebayo, who made his first All-Star Game in February, is eligible for an extension this season but would become a restricted free agent if a deal does not come to fruition. Miami would be wise to keep the 23-year-old big man, who broke out in 2019-20 with 15.9 points, 10.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game.

The Heat also have to consider the possibility of a monster 2021 offseason.       

Milwaukee Bucks forward and back-to-back NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Los Angeles Clippers forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are among the star players who could be free agents.

“I just think we need to remain fluid,” Riley said. “Once we get all the numbers and we get everything down, we get the schedule, we know when the dates are, and what the rules are in everything, once we get all of that, we’re going to remain fluid. And whatever presents itself to us, we’ll look at it.”

The Heat finished the regular season fifth in the East at 44-29 but steamrolled through the first two rounds of the playoffs, sweeping the Indiana Pacers before beating the No. 1-seeded Bucks in five games.

They defeated the No. 3 Boston Celtics in six contests in the conference finals before losing to the favored Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals in six games.     

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