Despite failing to sign Gordon Hayward and other marquee free agents last off-season, the Miami Heat were able to retain most of its core players from last season’s campaign at the expense of several top dollar commitments. As a result, this team is projected to enter into luxury Tax territory in the 2018-19 NBA season, if Pat Riley doesn’t find a fix to this payroll dilemma.

For Senior NBA writer Zach Lowe of ESPN, this looming tax issue could force the Heat to trade one of its most coveted young players. The 21-year-old Justise Winslow could end up as Miami’s trade bait because of the league’s punitive luxury tax rule.

Winslow trade

In his article “32 crazy predictions: LeBron's future, a bunch of trades and more,” Lowe pointed out the problem created by matching the Nets offer sheet for Tyler Johnson (4-year, $50 million) and signing a new deal (4-year, $42 million) with Josh Richardson. By committing that much money on just a couple of wing players, the Heat are in danger of going over the tax next season. While Miami had paid a significant amount of luxury tax before, shelling out millions of dollars for a non-contending team doesn’t seem practical.

Lowe believes the only way out for Miami right now is to package Winslow with another high-earning player with the hope of getting ‘significant haul’ in return.

“With Josh Richardson's extension, Miami is already over next season's tax. This is their easiest path out of cap prison: use Winslow as a sweetener to get off a bigger salary, and nab something useful in return,’ Lowe writes.

The senior NBA writer admits that this trade scenario, if it ever happens, will irk Heat fans who fell in love with Waiters’ play last year and are still high on Winslow potential.

However, the Heat may have no other choice but to pull off this kind of a trade to avert the incoming tax woes.

More news out of Miami:

The Heat announced on Saturday that they have waived Tony Mitchell, DeAndre Liggins, and Erik McCree. Liggins, two-time G-League Defensive Player of the Year, will likely end up with the Heat’s affiliate Sioux Falls after signing a non-guaranteed deal with the team last Tuesday.

He also had a quite run with the Cleveland Cavaliers before he was eventually traded last season. Sioux Falls veteran Mitchell and McCree are also expected to join the G-League team this coming season.

The latest cutdown trimmed the Heat’s roster to 17 players. According to Hoops Rumors writer Arthur Hill, it is possible rookie guard Matt Williams will be signed on a two-way contract to reach the roster limit.