The Miami Heat exercised their fourth-year team option on Justise Winslow on Tuesday.
Had Miami not exercised this option, Winslow was set to hit the free-agent market following this coming season. The forward is considered a large part of the franchise's future and would have likely drawn a lot of interest in free agency.
While the Heat did not release Winslow's salary for the 2018-19 season, the option year will be worth a reported $3.44 million. The Heat will be able to address Winslow's fifth year at a future date as well via a qualifying offer. Winslow is a candidate to land a long-term deal in the future with the Heat.
Miami will give Winslow a chance to win a starting job, but it is not guaranteed to him. The Heat have multiple options including the recently extended Josh Richardson. Even if Winslow opens the year as a reserve, he should see a sizable allotment of minutes each night.
In the 2016-17 season, Winslow averaged 34.7 minutes per game in a limited amount of games. Winslow's season was cut short by a shoulder injury and ended up playing no games in the 2017 portion of the season. The forward took part in 18 games overall and started 15 of those. Winslow averaged 10.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists in his second NBA season.
Winslow is only 21 years old and has plenty of time and room to grow as a player. Winslow's field goal percentage took a dip in 2016-17, but he also became a larger part of the team's offense. If Winslow can improve his outside shooting, it will open up the paint more for players such as Hassan Whiteside. That combination could lead to another competitive season for the Heat.
Miami's preseason will begin on October 1st against the Atlanta Hawks.