The Miami Heat entered the 2020-21 season confident after the franchise’s sixth Eastern Conference championship and an appearance in the NBA Finals.
The team brought back much of the same roster, ready to make another run with a fully healthy core.
However, following the NBA’s shortest offseason ever, the Heat struggled to find consistency throughout the season.
Miami’s postseason run ended with a sweep at the hands of the eventual champions, the Milwaukee Bucks.
In the wake of that disappointing performance, the Heat front office understood that if the team was going to make the most of Jimmy Butler‘s championship window, the roster needed augmentation.
So rather than run back the same squad, Miami opted to make major moves in free agency.
The Heat completed a sign-and-trade deal with the Toronto Raptors for six-time All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry.
In that trade, Miami sent away one-time All-Star Goran Dragić as part of the package.
But the team didn’t stop there.
The Heat reshaped its roster around Butler and fellow All-Star Bam Adebayo in hopes of making another run at the NBA Finals.
2. Acquiring Kyle Lowry
The acquisition of Lowry took all of the headlines early in free agency.
MIAMI HEAT X KYLE LOWRY
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) August 6, 2021
The Heat landed Lowry in a deal that sent fan-favorite Dragić and second-year big man Precious Achiuwa to Toronto for the 35-year-old.
Lowry received a three-year, $85 million deal from Miami to stabilize the point guard role on a championship contender.
Lowry brings championship experience and veteran savvy to the Heat.
Last season, he averaged 17.2 points, 7.3 assists, and 5.3 rebounds per game for the Raptors.
He made nearly 40 percent of his threes, which will be a major part of his game as a pick-and-roll partner for Adebayo in Miami.
Lowry stands as a significant defensive upgrade over Dragić and is a slightly more consistent shooter.
Lowry’s arrival affords Heat head coach Erik Spolestra with another organizing ball-handler on offense and someone who can relieve Butler of his playmaking responsibilities.
And in adding another high-end perimeter defender, the team can now lean more on Adebayo and Butler to shoulder more of the scoring load.
1. Retaining Duncan Robinson
One of the first moves Miami made this offseason was to re-sign Robinson.
💸 Largest deal ever for an undrafted player 💸
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) August 2, 2021
The deal itself checks in at $90 million over five years, which ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski noted is the largest ever for an undrafted player.
Robinson remained a key cog in the Heat’s offense and the team’s most important impending free agent.
He averaged 13.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game, shooting 40.8 percent from three last season.
The 40.8 percent figure actually stands as a decline from the previous season’s 44.6 percentage.
Robinson grew from an undrafted, two-way contract bit player, into an integral piece of what the Heat do.
His gravity on the offensive end tilts the floor in Miami’s favor.
Robinson on the perimeter provides the Heat with arguably the league’s best floor spacer.
His constant movement on offense must be accounted for by opposing defenses, thus creating lanes for Adebayo, Butler, and Miami’s other offensive weapons to attack.
Since becoming a regular in the team’s rotation two seasons ago, Robinson has elevated into one of the NBA’s top shooters.
Both years, Robinson finished top-five in both three-pointers made and attempted, and finished top-five in three-point percentage during Miami’s Finals run in 2019-2020.
But entering just his fourth season, Robinson still has room to grow.