Monday, June 13, 2011

Spinning the runner-up Heat Forward

Next on my offseason preview is NBA finals runner-up Miami Heat. The most hated team in the NBA will have all sorts of rumors surrounding it, including trading member(s) of the big three (James, Wade, and Bosh). What happens to the Heat hinges on the new collective bargaining agreement. If there is a hard salary cap that is lower than last year's salary cap, the Heat are in a lot of trouble and will need to trade away key pieces just to stay under the salary cap. Assuming that the salary cap stays close to what it is now, this is what the Heat are looking at.

Miami Heat Free-Agents:

Restricted:
Mario Chalmers

Unrestricted:
Mike Bibby
Erick Dampier
Eddie House (player option)
Juwan Howard
Zydrunas Ilgauskas (player option)
James Jones (player option)
Jamaal Magloire

It is a safe assumption that anyone with a player option for next year on the Heat will exercise it because A) they did nothing to enhance their value and B) they won't have a better chance to win anywhere else so House, Ilgauskas, and Jones will return or, in Ilgauskas' case, will retire.

Mario Chalmers is the most interesting free-agent on Miami's roster because he has talent, but is he willing to sacrifice the salary potential on the free-agent market to play with three of the best players in the NBA? Chalmers had a few bright spots in this year's NBA playoffs and could make easily make more of an impact and salary elsewhere. Miami has the luxury of seeing what other teams are offering Chalmers and choosing whether it wants to match another team's offer.
Potential Destinations: Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers
Potential Replacements: J.J. Barea, Aaron Brooks

Mike Bibby played for three teams last year (Hawks, Wizards, and Heat) and was ineffective for all three. It is pretty impressive that his talent has completely disappeared. There is some minor talk that Bibby will retire, but it will be very difficult for him to find a team next year where he will have any impact. Bibby is more of a name than anything else and I anticipate him playing in another country next year or taking a minor bench role.

Erick Dampier, Jamaal Magloire, and Juwan Howard tried to compile a championship by taking up a lot of space on the bench. They will also have a difficult time finding a team next year and may end up retiring.

Miami Heat Free-Agent Targets: J.J. Barea, Greg Oden, Aaron Brooks, Yao Ming.

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