Miami Heat get update on cost of doing business last season, next season

Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun Sentinel
·3 min read

With the NBA a week from the Nov. 20 start of free agency, numbers both past and present are coming into play in the process for the Miami Heat.

In the wake of announcing that salary-cap and luxury-tax levels would remain the same as last season, even with the coronavirus-related losses of revenue, the NBA also will keep salary-cap exceptions at the same levels as 2019-20.

For the Heat, that is significant on dual fronts.

First, with the full mid-level exception remaining at $9,258,000 for 2020-21 it provides a starting point for capped-out teams considering free-agent offers for the Heat’s Jae Crowder, Goran Dragic and Derrick Jones Jr.

As a matter of perspective, Crowder earned $7.8 million last season, Dragic $19.2 million and Jones $1.6 million.

Should the Heat keep at least two of those three, it would limit them to cap exceptions to sign outside free agents, able to start an offer of their own at that $9.3 million mid-level exception.

In addition, with the full mid-level exception at $9.3 million, it could allow a team to craft a longer-term contract for Heat center Kelly Olynyk, who has an impending decision on his $12.2 million Heat player option for next season.

The taxpayer mid-level exception for 2020-21 remains at $5,718,000. Once a team spends more than that amount of its mid-level, it then becomes hard-capped at a $138,928,000 payroll for the season.

Should the Heat utilize salary-cap space this offseason, they would be limited to a mid-level exception of $4,767,000.

The Heat also have access to the $3,623,000 biannual exception (one that cannot be used in successive years, and was not utilized last season by the Heat). Utilizing such an exception also triggers the hard cap.

The league also has computed the luxury-tax bills for the four teams that exceeded the 2019-20 threshold. Those tax payments then were reduced by the percentage of the league’s revenue lost due to the pandemic. That left the Heat owing $1.64 million to the league, instead of what otherwise would have been a $1.92 million payment.

The other three teams paying the tax from last season are the Portland Trail Blazers ($3.38 million), Oklahoma City Thunder ($841,000) and Minnesota Timberwolves ($332.000).

For the Heat, the payment also starts the clock on the “repeater” tax, which is a more onerous tax level for teams operating in the tax four years in any five-year period.

Teams that did not spend into the tax each received a $195,000 disbursement of the 2019-20 tax payments, the lowest such payment since the inception of the tax in 2002-03.

Of greater impact is that each team received a $12.8 million reimbursement from player-salary escrow from this past season, as a means of offsetting unrealized revenue expectations.

Haslem time

Heat captain Udonis Haslem plans “an exclusive anticipated announcement” Friday at the

Subway restaurant he operates inside the Walmart Supercenter in Coconut Creek.

Starting at 11 a.m., Haslem will be posing for socially distanced photos with fans, before he heads behind the counter to prepare subs. Haslem is offering guests the chance to win a signed basketball, with details at his @ud40 Instagram account.

Veterans visits

Former Heat players Alonzo Mourning, Shane Battier and Glen Rice this week visited the homes of three retired South Florida veterans for Veterans Day.

Each veteran received a Rebuilding Together Miami-Dade, Inc. Healthy Home Kit funded by Ultimate Kronos Group, a Heat care package comprised of a customized jersey, giveaways from Florida Blue, as well as a personal donation from Ultimate Kronos Group.

The visit was part of the team’s Home Strong Initiative, in conjunction with the NBA Hoops for Troops program.

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