This post is not a reflection of how I personally feel. I tend to agree with the approach the Miami Heat has taken. But I have been asked numerous times by frustrated fans as to why the Heat is so concerned about avoiding the luxury tax, and whether it is truly worth waiting so long to fill out the roster as quality free agents choose to sign elsewhere. This post is simply meant to address those questions, so that you can decide for yourselves.
Pat Riley proclaimed in the days following the All-Star break that the Miami Heat’s trade deadline dealings in no way impacted the team’s competitiveness in its quest to make and advance through the playoffs.
He was right.
The Heat was $11.3 million over the NBA’s $84.74 million luxury tax threshold on July 10th. It rather brilliantly executed five trades over the course of the following eight months, two at the trade deadline, in achieving a season-long goal to fall below it.
In accomplishing that goal, the Heat managed to trade away just one rotation player (Mario Chalmers(1), but even at that, trading him, through a series of subsequent developments, also led to the emergence of newly-minted rotation player Josh Richardson) and just three future second-round draft picks.
And when the Heat did have the opportunity to materially improve its competitiveness, when Joe Johnson became available, it did not hesitate, not even for the mere eight additional days that would have prevented it from vaulting right back into the same tax territory it had spent eight months to avoid. Riley took care of that problem by asking Beno Udrih to accept a small discount in conjunction with his waiver, a request Udrih graciously granted.
The result? The Heat is now $46,108 below the luxury tax threshold, despite perhaps being in better shape competitively than it was to start the season. Read more…