Following Game 2 of the NBA Finals, Jimmy Butler was spotted wearing a t-shirt donning the slogan "three more," alluding to the number of games he and the Miami Heat needed to win to capture the ever-elusive Larry O’Brien trophy after stealing homecourt advantage away from the Denver Nuggets with a victory earlier that evening.
Unfortunately for Butler and the Heat, they’ve run out of chance to get those three Ws they needed so badly.
Many pundits, fans, and analysts have surmised that this was Butler’s best shot at winning a title as the number one option, perhaps ever closer than they were in 2020, when they took the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers to six games in the NBA bubble Finals.
Butler has heard it all before, though, and while his confidence has been deemed as performative by his scrutinizers after his latest shortcoming against the Nuggets, he’s proven time and time again to be able to back up his loud talk with even more voluminous actions on the court.
|Monday, June 12||L 94 – 89|
|Friday, June 09||L 108 – 95|
|Wednesday, June 07||L 109 – 94|
|Sunday, June 04||W 111 – 108|
|Thursday, June 01||L 104 – 93|
As a franchise, the Heat will have their work cut out for them if they want to improve upon a roster that just came three wins away from the title. Even just bringing back the entirety of the old team seems like a tall task, as Kevin Love, Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, Cody Zeller, and Omer Yurtseven are all slated for free agency this summer.
With the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and its second tax apron in play, it’s unlikely that Miami will be able to retain all of its talent, especially considering the price tag Strus and Vincent have just set for themselves this offseason with their play in the Heat’s postseason run.
They do, however, own their own 18th-overall pick in this upcoming draft. With a deep class riddled with NBA-ready athletes, Miami could either use that selection to bolster their roster with a viable rotation player on a rookie-scale deal or trade it in order to bring in a veteran presence to contribute immediately.
They also have a handful of very tradeable contracts such as Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson. Alongside Kyle Lowry’s salary, the Heat could potentially put together a package for a disgruntled All-Star, such as Bradley Beal.
The most important aspect of their future title chances lay on their current star players shoulders, though. Only internal improvement from Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo can significantly raise the ceiling of this team and put the Miami Heat back in position to contend.
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) June 18, 2023
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| Title: Where do the Miami Heat go from here?
| Author: Andy Quach
| Date: June 16, 2023