• Loading stock data...
Monday, February 26, 2024
Rates for the 2024 Best Venues Award increase this Sunday at 11:59 p.m. ET

Heat Clinch Eastern Conference With Smart Spending On Defense

  • Executive Pat Riley’s decision to spend the money constructing a defensive powerhouse has paid off perfectly. 
  • Their $140.8 million payroll is just the eighth-highest in the NBA, yet they top several defensive categories.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Two years removed from a Finals appearance, the Heat quietly clinched the first seed in the East for the first time since 2012-13 — when they last won a title.

But unlike that “Heatles” superteam — boasting the offensive prowess of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade — this is a more well-rounded edition predicated on defense

Tyler Herro’s 20.8 PPG lead the Heat in scoring — but rank only 25th in the NBA. Meanwhile, Miami leads the league in OPP FGM (37.4), OPP 3PT FG (33.9%), and OPP RPG (41.6) while allowing the second-fewest PPG (105.3). 

Miami’s $140.8 million payroll is just the eighth-highest in the NBA — and executive Pat Riley’s decision to spend the money constructing a defensive powerhouse has paid off perfectly. 

  • Bam Adebayo signed for five years, $163M— Miami’s biggest contract ever by total value. Opponents are shooting 32.7% against him.
  • Gritty on-ball defender P.J. Tucker joined from the champion Bucks on a two-year, $15M deal. 
  • Five-time All-Defensive star Jimmy Butler signed a four-year, $184M extension.

This rock-solid foundation is overseen by Erik Spoelstra, who is the winningest coach in franchise history (659) and has the second-best odds to win his first Coach of the Year award (+700). 

Miami is still a long shot to win it all (+1200) — but this season, in a league obsessed with threes and analytics, the Heat are out to prove that defense still wins championships.

Linkedin
Whatsapp
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Despite Nike’s Efforts, MLB Uniform Controversy Isn’t Looking Good

Manufacturer touts product benefits but ignores complaints of see-through fabric.

Pundits Bashed a 397-Point NBA All-Star Game—But Fans Still Watched

Silver struggles to conceal his frustration with the game’s lack of competitiveness.

Sabrina-Steph Wasn’t the ‘Battle of the Sexes’—But It Was Part of the Bigger War

The competition could play a factor in increasing the WNBA’s media value.
NBA A.I. All Star Game Lakers Celtics

A Lakers-Celtics Battle Can Turn Into a ‘Hoosiers’ Film

The NBA unveils new A.I. that brings movie themes into games.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

The Shady Business of Fake Sports News

0:00
0:00

Featured Today

Sham Gods: The Rapidly Growing World of Sports Impersonators on X

Fake Schefters and Wojs, fabricated trade demands, and borrowed profile pictures.
Sep 24, 2023; Oakland, California, USA; A general view of the Oakland Athletics dugout after the game against the Detroit Tigers at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
February 24, 2024

Murky Future: Everything You Need to Know About the A’s Move to Las Vegas

Breaking down one of the most drawn-out, multifaceted sagas in sports.
NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace (23), in a Star Wars rebel alliance X-wing fighter pilot-inspired race suit, motions to the crowd to get louder during the driver introductions for the Cup Series Championship race at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale on Nov. 5, 2023.
February 17, 2024

Celebrity Owners, International Ambitions, and $7B Media Deals: Welcome to the New NASCAR

NASCAR boldly keeps pace with the increasingly competitive sports and entertainment world.
February 16, 2024

Wilson Introduced an Airless Basketball for $2,500. We Had Questions

The black, 3D-printed ball appeared in last year’s Slam Dunk Contest.

Careers

Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Finance Manager
FanDuel
New York, NY
Senior Technical Artist - Sports Technology
EA Sports
Orlando, FL
Assistant Manager, Affiliate Operations
Adidas
Portland, OR
Phoenix Suns
February 15, 2024

Suns Last NBA Team To Add a G League Squad

Mat Ishbia made his latest move a year into owning the Suns.
February 20, 2024

An About-Face in D.C. As Lerners Pull Nationals From the Market

MLB club no longer for sale as ownership family changes course.
Sponsored

Live Sports Are Now High-Tech Experiences

Oracle is leading the technology revolution happening in stadiums across the world.
February 13, 2024

Royals Trust Owner’s ‘Gut,’ Commit to Downtown K.C. Site for New Stadium

MLB club targets late-emerging location near downtown for ballpark development.
Chiefs andy reid
February 12, 2024

The Chiefs’ Biggest Offseason Deal Stands on the Sideline

Reid’s $12 million yearly salary is increasingly out of step with current NFL trends.
February 8, 2024

The Chiefs: Big in Germany. (But Does It Matter?)

Chiefs’ president on K.C.’s international ambitions.
Rob Manfred
February 8, 2024

Manfred’s Patience Wearing Thin? Commish Makes Stance on A’s Clear

Commissioner says he would be ‘disappointed’ if club misses 2028 target for Las Vegas ballpark.