Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Miami Heat Eye 2009 Off Season

After watching the Miami Heat reach their limit in their 7-game first round departure, we've began to hear the talks of "what's next" for the team. On that topic, we have a few opinions of our own and some suggestions as to what we believe the Heat could do this off season.

The biggest issue here is, will Miami go another season with the same roster? I find that hard to believe when you have two things in mind. One, Pat Riley is always looking to improve his team and does not take any seasons off. Two, Dwyane Wade can only take so much weight on his shoulders and a repeat 08-09 season might begin to wear him down.

Before the season even started, we had written about Miami's options in the free agent market once the year was over. Looking back at that and building on the knowledge we have after the regular season, we have compiled a list of players that would be of value to the Heat.

After reviewing the season as whole, we have decided that if the Miami Heat are going to shop for new acquisitions they should focus on these three player types: 1) a consistent scoring option, 2) a veteran point guard, and 3) another big body (i.e power forward or center).

Although Michael Beasley, Daequan Cook and James Jones can score, they have not been consistent enough to properly facilitate Dwyane Wade's scoring burden. Maybe some of this had to do with Beasley's low playing minutes and James Jones' early season injury. Whatever it was it is still nice to have a shooter that you can count on just about every night.

A veteran PG would have helped develop Mario Chalmers this season even further. Whether we sign a starting or bench PG, that does not matter too much - as long as Chalmers learns from veteran experience and knowledge. The truth is that a Mike Bibby or Andre Miller might not be in our best interest with 2010 right around the corner. Does Miami really want to clog up the salary cap amidst the "Off Season of all Off Seasons?"

Another big body is necessary just to assist our height problems. Whenever Jermaine O'Neal is injured or in foul trouble we need a go-to big man that can body up the Yao Mings and Dwight Howards of the league. Mark Blount just can't cut it anymore and Jamaal Magloire has his height limitations on certain match ups.

In essence, our list addresses each of these needs and gives fans an idea of who is available for Miami. Here are the players we chose according to ESPN's 2009-10 free agent list:

Also, check out our Miami Heat trade scenario analysis by viewing our article called,"Talking Miami Heat Trade Scenarios - 2009 Off Season."

Key: (U) = Unrestricted, (R)= Restricted, (P) = Player Option, (T) = Team Option

Scoring Option
Player: Marvin Williams (R)
Position: Small Forward
Stats: 13.9 PTS, 6.3 REB, 1.3 AST

As we briefly saw in the Heat-Hawks series, Marvin Williams is a great 2nd or 3rd scorer. He brings size, athleticism, and a shooter's mentality. I doubt Atlanta will allow him to slip their hands without a contract offer, but you never know what can happen with all these teams looking to clear up space for 2010. A Wade, Beasley and Williams lineup sounds like a good offensive combo to me.

Player: Ben Gordon (U)
Position: Shooting Guard
Stats: 20.7 PTS, 3.4 AST, 41% 3-PT%

Ben Gordon was signed by the Detroit Pistons.

Player: Steve Novak (T)
Position: Small Forward
Stats: 6.9 PTS, 1.8 RPG, 41% 3-PT%

This guy does not get much attention or playing time in "the other Los Angeles team," but is a worthy shooter and a nice off-the-bench piece. He was known for his perimeter shooting ability coming out of college, but nobody really gave him a shot. He could develop into a Kyle Korver of Jason Kapono type player. If the Clippers do not use their team option, this could be a cheap pickup that can improve Miami's offensive depth.

Player: Trevor Ariza (U)
Position: Small Forward
Stats: 8.9 PTS, 4.3 RPG, 1.8 AST

Update: Trevor Ariza is officially a Houston Rocket.

Player: Matt Barnes (U)
Position: Small Forward
Stats: 10.2 PTS, 5.5 RPG, 2.8 AST

In Phoenix and Golden State, Matt Barnes has been a part of run-and-gun style teams that have facilitated his offensive capabilities. Barnes is a dynamic forward with the ability to shoot threes, put the ball on the floor and dish the rock. His athleticism will fit well in Miami and can help open up the offense via fast breaks and spreading the court. Currently he gets paid under $800,000 and can be a cheap option for Miami.

Veteran PG
Player: Lindsey Hunter (U)
Position: Point/Shooting Guard
Experience: 8 Seasons

Update: The Chicago Bulls have re-signed Lindsey Hunter

Player: Damon Jones (U)
Position: Point Guard
Experience: 10 Seasons

If you were following the Heat during the Shaq-era you must remember "DJ." He was a savvy shooter who thought he belonged on the cover of GQ every other month. He's a lovable character around the locker room and although his potential peaked a while back, he is still a valuable asset in terms of veteran poise and mentorship. This would only work if he is willing to take a pay cut from his current $4.46 million contract. It's an unlikely acquisition, but a possibility nonetheless.

Player: Tyronn Lue (U)
Position: Point Guard
Experience: 10 Seasons

Here's a traveling man whose been around the league and experienced many different teams and their accompanying systems. With his NBA experience alone, Lue can offer some words of advice and teach the Miami youth about the NBA game. He used to be a surprisingly solid PG in his hay-days in Atlanta, but time has caught up with him (as it does with any NBA veteran). I think his biggest contribution can be in teaching Mario Chalmers some PG decision-making skills.

Player: Brevin Knight (U)
Position: Point Guard
Experience: 11 Seasons

Here's one of the most underrated point guards in the past decade. Knight isn't a legit scorer but he can rack up assists with the best of them. During the Steve Nash MVP seasons he averaged close to 10 assists per game. Knight can be another option to teach Chalmers about being successful as an NBA PG. He's earned his job for over a decade and knows the game well. Two million dollars is a bit much to add him to the roster, but Riley may open up some cap space with by dropping expiring contracts.

Big Body
Player: Mikki Moore (U)
Position: Power Forward
Height: 7'0

Mikki may not look like a "big body," but his height and athleticism are what make him valuable. He had more playing time in Sacramento than he has had in Boston, so his stats have definitely taken a hit. With that said, he still can give you more than five rebounds a night and few occasional put back lay ups. His energy and activeness make him elusive to some of the bigger, bulkier guys in the league. The biggest problem here is his contract numbers; $5 million is definitely a stretch and I doubt we would take so much cap on a reserve player.

Player: Anderson Varejao (P)
Position: Center/Power Forward
Height: 6'11

Another energy guy with tendencies to slash and cut through the lane. He has the height and strength to go toe-to-toe with the taller centers and power forwards in the league. I think he would make a great fit in Miami and would temporarily patch up our height issues which is only being addressed by Jermaine O'Neal. He can clean up the glass and help fix Miami's rebounding woes. Varejao gets paid $5.7 million in Cleveland, but may be worth the price if enough room is cleared.

Player: Chris Andersen (U)
Position: Power Forward/Center
Height: 6'10

Update: Chis "Birdman" Andersen has signed a 5-year deal with the Denver Nuggets.

Player: Chris Mihm (U)
Position: Center
Height: 7'0

Some may laugh, but I still see the double-double Chris Mihm from a few seasons ago. His height, strength and rebounding ability are what matter here. Remember that the additions made this off season are likely temporary and minor improvements that will get Miami over the hump and set them up for 2010. Mihm is an option that meets the criteria and would be a nice big man off the bench. His salary stands at $2.5 million, which leaves him on the fence as an iffy option.

Player: Marcin Gortat (R)
Position: Center
Height: 6'11

Update: Gortat was offered a contract by the Dallas Mavericks and the Orlando Magic matched the offer sheet.

Final Analysis
There are other valuable players out there which could definitely help out the Miami Heat instantly, such as the aforementioned Mike Bibby and Andre Miller. The only reason why we did not include them is due to the nature of their heavy contracts and the low probability that they would sign onto a one-year contract.

Not to mention, these pick ups do not thoroughly consider the possibility of trading for another player, such as the Chris Bosh rumors that have been made. These are only based on the idea that no blockbuster moves will be made this off season, just minor and temporary ones. We'll see which direction Pat Riley decides to go in once it's all said and done.

Disclaimer: All player images are courtesy of NBA.com. All rights are reserved by NBA.com.


threio said...

trememdous post, I wish it was about the Sixers! :) great detain here man

Miami Hurricanes Blog TIMES said...

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