The Miami Heat will represent the Eastern Conference in the 2020 NBA Finals.
As the fifth seed, they are the third-lowest seed to reach the championship round since 1984. Since their previous Finals trip in 2014, the Heat had only made the playoffs twice: 2016 and 2018, where they were eliminated in the Semifinals and First Round, respectively.
They could be considered among the least expected Finalists in the NBA since 1984. So how did the Heat organisation put together a roster that saw them rebound from a 39-43 record last season - good for 10th in the East - to the Finals the following year? Let's take a look:
In his three previous stops - Chicago, Minnesota, and Philadelphia - Butler got the rap of being a bad teammate. Well, in Miami with the Heat, its been a match made in heaven.
The Heat acquired Butler as part of four-team trade involving the 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers and LA Clippers. Miami also acquired Meyers Leonard from Portland in exchange for giving up Hassan Whiteside to the Trail Blazers, Josh Richardson to the 76ers and a conditional first-round pick to the Clippers.
With the team's success, Butler received his fifth All-Star selection and his third All-NBA Third Team selection. Starting all 58 games he played, Butler averaged 19.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.8 steals per contest.
Butler signed a four-year, $140 million deal with the 76ers prior to the trade, making him an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2022-23 season.
Bam Adebayo was selected 14th overall by the Heat in 2017, the final lottery pick of the draft.
A huge part of the team's success, the 6'9 centre earned his first All-Star nod and was named to the NBA's All-Defensive Second Team. In the 2019-20 season, he averaged career-highs across the board with 15.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.1 steals through 72 games.
Adebayo is eligible for a contract extension this offseason, which the Heat will likely honour following a monster posteason. Should they instead pick up his qualifying offer, he'll hit restricted free agency in 2021.
The Heat acquired Goran Dragic along with his brother Zoran from the Phoenix Suns back in the middle of the 2014-15 season as part of a three-team trade that also involved the New Orleans Pelicans.
As part of the deal, Phoenix received Danny Granger and two future first-round draft picks from Miami and John Salmons from New Orleans, while the Pelicans received Norris Cole, Justin Hamilton and Shawne Williams from the Heat.
The following offseason, Dragic signed a five-year, $85 million deal with the Heat, making him the second-longest tenured member of the current roster after long-time veteran Udonis Haslem. At the end of this season, he will become an unrestricted free agent. During his time with the team, he received the lone All-Star selection of his career in 2018.
In 56 of the 59 regular season games that he suited up, Dragic came off the bench for averages of 16.2 points, 5.1 assists and 3.2 rebounds in 28.2 minutes per game. However, he's started each of the Heat's 15 playoff games, averaging 20.9 points, 4.7 assists and 4.2 rebounds on 45.2% shooting from the field.
After going undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft, Duncan Robinson signed a two-way contract with the Miami Heat and Sioux Falls Skyforce. He played 15 games for the Heat in the 2018-19, then earned a full-time NBA contract prior to the 2019-20 season, a move that increased his payout from around $9,500 to $1 million. Staying with the team past the halfway point of this past regular season, his salary got bumped up to $1.4 million.
He started 68 of 73 regular season games he played with averages of 13.5 points on 44.6% shooting from beyond the arc.
Should the Heat pick up his qualifying offer this offseason, he will become a restricted free agent in 2021.
Kendrick Nunn & Tyler Herro
Kendrick Nunn was signed by the Heat in 2019, soon after he finished his first and only season in the G League with the Santa Cruz Warriors, affiliate of the Golden State Warriors. Coming off of a spectacular rookie season where he started all 67 regular season games and averaged 15.3 points, 3.3 assists and 2.7 rebounds on 43.9% shooting from the field, Nunn finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting. Nunn signed a three-year deal with the Heat and will have a qualifying offer following the 2021 season.
Tyler Herro was selected 13th overall by the Heat in the 2019 NBA Draft. In an impressive rookie season, he averaged 13.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 27.4 minutes through 55 games. He is currently on his rookie contract, which gives Miami a team option in 2021-22.
Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder, & Solomon Hill
In early February, the Heat acquired the veteran trio of Solomon Hill, Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder from the Memphis Grizzlies as part of a three-team trade involving the Minnesota Timberwolves, in exchange for Justise Winslow, James Johnson and Dion Waiters.
All three veterans are on expiring contracts and two of these three are expected to be free agents at the end of this season. Meanwhile, Iguodala has already signed a two-year, $30 million extension with the Heat that kicks in next season.
Among the trio, Crowder and Iguodala have been a key part of Heat's rotation down the stretch, especially in the playoffs.
The Heat signed Canadian forward Kelly Olynyk as a free agent in 2017, earning a four-year, $50 million deal. Over the previous three seasons, he has averaged 9.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 22.0 minutes.
He is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2021.
Derrick Jones Jr.
Derrick Jones Jr. signed a two-way contract with the Miami Heat and the Sioux Falls Skyforce following his time with the Phoenix Suns.
The young highflyer will become an unrestricted free agent after the conclusion of this season. In 133 career games, he's averaged 7.3 points and 3.8 rebounds in 20.6 minutes per game.
The 7-foot centre was acquired by the Heat from the Portland Trail Blazers as part of the multi-team trade that also involved Butler. Set to become a free agent at the end of this season, Leonard averaged 6.1 points and 5.1 rebounds in 20.3 minutes through 51 games for the Heat this season.
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