NBA Exec: Heat’s Gabe Vincent, Max Strus Could Get $15M AAV Contracts in Free Agency

NBA Exec: Heat’s Gabe Vincent, Max Strus Could Get $15M AAV Contracts in Free Agency

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTTwitter LogoFeatured Columnist IVJune 7, 2023

Miami Heat guards Max Strus (31) and Gabe Vincent (2) congratulate each other after a play during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Gabe Vincent and Max Strus have been huge contributors for the Miami Heat in their run to the NBA Finals, and all at a bargain price, with each making a $1.8 million salary this season.

But with the pair hitting unrestricted free agency, that number will go up dramatically.

“I could see [Vincent and Strus] signing deals in the $15 million-a-year range,” an NBA front office executive told Darren Rovell of The Action Network.

Vincent, 26, is third on the Heat in scoring (13.6 PPG) this offseason, adding 3.9 assists per game while shooting 41.3 percent from three.

Strus, 27, is putting up 10 points per game while shooting 33.6 percent from beyond the arc. He’s a 37.1 percent shooter from three for his career, however.

The question is whether the pair perfectly fits Miami’s system or will thrive elsewhere in a bigger role.

“I’ve invested in players who had breakouts like these guys did and they turned out to be duds because they were just good in the system they were in,” the front office executive told Rovell. “If it doesn’t work out, you might never really know why. The teams that are going to be paying $12-15 million for Vincent and Strus are low- to mid-tier teams and they are going to be asked to do more on a consistent basis.”

Unless the Heat can find a way to clear some major cap hits off the books, like Kyle Lowry ($29.6 million in the 2023-24 season) or Duncan Robinson ($18.1 million next year), they have basically no avenues to keep Vincent and Strus given their pending pay raises.

Likewise, Vincent and Strus have little incentive to sign minimum deals if offers in the $12 million to $15 million range are sent their way.

Vincent’s burgeoning playmaking, in particular, could make him a valuable option for teams in free agency.

“He took on the toughest, I think, role change for a young player,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters regarding Vincent. “He was a gunslinger 2 guard. We wanted to develop him into a combo-guard, someone who could organize us, be an irritant defensively, tough, but learn how to facilitate and run a team. I think that’s the toughest thing to do in this league, is try to turn a 2 (guard) into a 1. And he openly just embraced that.”

And now it’s going to get him paid, and probably pretty handsomely at that.

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