Miami Heat’s future plans could revolve around Kawhi Leonard’s free agency

LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)
LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Miami Heat’s future plans could center around Kawhi Leonard’s upcoming free agency. 

Ever since LeBron James elected to leave the Miami Heat during the summer of 2014, it’s always been about the “next” for this franchise. Whether that was pursuing Kawhi Leonard, Gordon Hayward, Kevin Durant, James Harden, or even Jimmy Butler (whom the team was successful in acquiring during their second chance).

After Giannis Antetokounmpo elected not to participate in being “Miami’s next,” the onus will now fall on another player during the free agency of 2021. The Heat will have plenty of money to spend during the offseason and there appears to be one player that this franchise may be locked in on: Kawhi Leonard.

Interestingly enough, the Heat tried to get in on the Kawhi sweepstakes when he was being shopped by the San Antonio Spurs a few years ago (before he was ultimately dealt to the Toronto Raptors).

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Question is, will he be successful this time around?

For even that opportunity to be possible, Kawhi will have to enter free agency with an open mind to possibly leave the LA Clippers. While that’s not a foregone conclusion at this point, it could be if the Clippers once again falter early in the playoffs.

One interesting aspect of this all to keep in mind – Kawhi chose not to sign an extension with the team during the offseason when Paul George did. Kawhi could’ve if he wanted to, but decided not to for whatever reason.

If nothing else, it adds intrigue to the thought. Especially with Kawhi, it could mean nothing or it could mean something. We likely aren’t going to get the answer to that until the offseason.

However, as is often the case ahead of any free agency, we’re already beginning to see rumblings that perhaps Kawhi would be open to possibly joining a team such as the Heat. After all, it should be noted that Kawaii Initially wanted to team up with Jimmy Butler in Los Angeles, before he pivoted to Paul George (after Jimmy expressed his desire to sign with the Heat).

There’s certainly plenty that has to be sorted out and played out until the 2021 free agency period. For one, there’s an entire final portion of the regular season and postseason that needs to be played out.

Maybe the Clippers win a championship and this all becomes moot. In fact, you can make the case that they’re going to be the favorites in the Western Conference after the Los Angeles Lakers (assuming they’re healthy).

As for Miami, they also have plenty of other things to think about as well. They have their own playoff run to prepare for and an Eastern Conference title to defend while beginning to make a decision on upcoming free agent Victor Oladipo, whom the team acquired at the NBA Trade Deadline.

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Either way, it seems as if both Kawhi Leonard and Miami Heat have made it a priority to keep their options open heading into the 2021 offseason. It remains to be seen whether they did that on purpose and whether or not their not-so-distant futures could end up intersecting with one another.