The Miami Heat have set their sight on the 2017 free-agency class, if their attempt of snagging superstar free-agent Kevin Durant doesn’t materialize this summer, per Ira Winderman of South Florida Sun Sentinel.
According to Winderman, Heat president Pat Riley is treating the 2016 and 2017 free agency class with the same conviction as he had when he started hatching the plan of signing Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh in 2010.
“You’ve got to really see the big picture in where you are,” Riley said through the Heat’s in-house media outlets via Real GM. “From 2014 to this point, once LeBron left, we had some decisions to make. We had always been looking at 2016 and 2017. Just like back in 2006 we looked at 2010.”
“What happens in ’16 and ’17, are the next two years of being able to build this team back to a championship contender. That’s our goal. That’s my goal. That’s my desire.”
Despite reports on Kevin Durant preferring to join the Golden State Warriors if he ever cut ties with the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Heat is still expected to come hard at the former NBA MVP.
However, if things don’t work out according to plan this summer, the Heat will then shift its focus on signing either or both Blake Griffin and Russell Westbrook, the top-two free-agents outside Stephen Curry (a lock to re-sign with the Golden State Warriors) in the class of 2017.
The Heat was one of the teams trying to trade for Griffin at the trade deadline. And with the health Chris Bosh (blood clot) now questionable in the long run, the Heat will be even more aggressive in bringing the double-double beast to South Beach.
Westbrook is another player Riley is reportedly angling to acquire. The Heat signed Goran Dragic to a five-year, $85 million deal last offseason, but his long-term future with the franchise continues to be in question because of Riley’s desire of landing the super-athletic Westbrook.
Both Griffin and Westbrook will command max-contract money, which is something the Heat can offer thanks to expected jump in salary cap in 2016 and 2017.
Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia