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The Miami Heat were one win away from reaching the NBA Finals for the second time in three years. Here are three players who will not be back for next season.
The Miami Heat finished the regular-season with the best record in the entire Eastern Conference. They got through the Atlanta Hawks and the Philadelphia 76ers to earn a spot in the Conference Finals, where they were matched up against the Boston Celtics. If they were towin the series, they would advance to the NBA Finals for the second time in three years.
Instead, the Heat fell to the Celtics 100-96 in Game 7 to be eliminated from the playoffs. This came after Jimmy Butler helped the team tie the series up with a Game 6 victory. But the team just did not have enough to get one more win.
This offseason, the Heat have to live with the fact that they were oh so close to clinching a Finals berth. If one thing is evident, it is that they need to bring in another scorer to provide help for Butler so he does not have to singlehandedly carry the team at pivotal portions of the campaign.
With that, that means there could be some players who do not return for the 2022-23 season. Here are three who may have played their final season with the Heat.
This past offseason, Markieff Morris signed a one year contract with the Heat after playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. His 2021-22 season was limited after suffering a neck injury back in November, and he would not return to the court until March.
On the season, Morris averaged 7.6 points and 2.6 rebounds while posting a field goal percentage of 47.4 through 17 games. Once the playoffs arrived, Morris only played three minutes, all in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against Philadelphia.
Given the team’s needs in the offseason, it is very likely that Morris plays elsewhere next season.
The Heat could stand to readjust the center depth chart this offseason behind Bam Adebayo. One of the backups set to be a free agent is 32-year-old Dewayne Dedmon.
After joining the team late last season, Miami opted to re-sign Dedmon to a one-year, $2.4 million contract. Through 67 games in the regular-season, he averaged 6.3 points and 5.8 rebounds in 15.9 minutes.
This playoff run, Dedmon averaged 3.8 points and 3.0 rebounds in 9.9 minutes.
The Heat do have a first-round pick in this year’s NBA Draft, where they could very well draft a center. Considering the Heat want to build off of this season, they may need to make move on from some players to give them the money for improvements. In that case, the team could potentially move on from Dedmon.
At the 2021 NBA trade deadline, the Heat brought in Victor Oladipo from the Houston Rockets, but he had to undergo season-ending knee surgery after four games played. He did opt to re-sign with the team on a one-year, $2.4 million contract.
Oladipo would return to the court this past March and logged eight regular season games. Perhaps his best performance of the year came against the Orlando Magic on Apr. 10, where he scored 40 points and recorded 10 rebounds in the 125-111 loss.
He was active throughout Miami’s deep playoff run, where he averaged 10.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.3 steals through 15 games. Oladipo put up a field goal percentage of 36.8 in that span.
Oladipo could very well get a team enticed enough to give him a good contract this offseason. If that is the case, then a return to Miami becomes less and less likely.