Miami Heat's Offseason Just Gets More and More Interesting

Well, we’ve had an interesting few weeks. The offseason seems to have more and more intrigue for Heat fans, and it only promises to get more and more fascinating before the season gets under way.

Udonis Haslem’s little legal problem has disappeared completely, as the prosecutors dropped all charges in his marijuana possession case stemming from a traffic stop that had everyone in a tizzy just a few weeks ago.

According to Assistant State Attorney Errol Portman, “The State Attorney’s Office will not be able to file charges.”

This is because their case was full of more holes than a packet of Swiss cheese you buy at the local supermarket.

I purposely avoided commenting on the issue at the time, knowing that as more and more information became available it was likely we’d learn this was a mountain being built out of a molehill.

I was apparently proven correct as we’ve subsequently found out it wasn’t Haslem who possessed the marijuana at all, but a passenger in his car, Antwan Fleming, who had immediately claimed ownership of the marijuana when questioned by the Florida Highway Patrol at the scene of the stop.

The stop, and subsequent search itself was a little ridiculous, if you ask me, as he had been stopped after being clocked driving 78 mph in a 60 mph zone on the Gratigny Parkway in Miami-Dade County.

To me, there was little or no reason for them to search his 2008 Mercedes. A ticket? Yes. A search of the automobile for going 18 miles over the limit? Hardly.

Anyway, it’s behind UD now, and it’s likely there’ll be no action from the NBA about the issue, so Haslem isn’t likely to miss any game time with the Heat.

As Udonis himself put it, “I am really looking forward to getting back to basketball and focusing on the upcoming season.”

You and everyone else, UD, and what an exciting season it promises to be.

One of the things making it so, is the likelihood of Erick Dampier being signed by the Heat.

According to numerous reports, all signs point to Dampier joining the South Beach Superteam in Miami and adding another experienced big body to the frontcourt rotation. According to those same reports, Miami is likely to announce the signing of the former Dallas Maverick center who faced the Heat in the 2006 NBA Finals no later than today.

Dampier was in Miami yesterday and worked out with the Heat. Apparently the workout went extremely well, and after meeting with team management it seems all sides are in agreement that Erick can add something to the team.

He supposedly was also being offered a contract by the Houston Rockets, who could sign him to far more money than Miami (the contract offer was purportedly $4 million over 2 years, compared to the $2.8 million over two years the Heat can offer).

So, one of the so-called “weaknesses” of the Heat seems to have been addressed even more. If Dampier is signed, that would make the fifth big man under contract for Miami going into training camp. Erick would join Joel Anthony, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Jamaal Magloire, and rookie Dexter Pittman as bigs vying for a spot in the frontcourt rotation.

Instead of a dearth of centers capable of playing with some of the elite frontcourts in the NBA, it appears the Heat will actually have a plethora of talent at the position fighting to be included on the roster when the season starts.

I’m guessing that’s going to make Orlando Magic president of basketball operations, Otis Smith, even more fatigued at talking about the Miami Heat.

Smith, formerly the general manager, according to reports is highly annoyed by all the discussion that’s gone on about the “Three Kings” and the “South Beach Superteam”.

According to Smith, Miami’s offseason acquisitions mean little to him or where he thinks his team is at. As he puts it, “I don’t know if that changes where we are. I think we’re still one of the top two teams in the East.”

Well, Otis, if you’re placing Miami in that group of two, then I’d be willing to concede you may be correct. If you’re implying the Magic is a better team than the Heat, or that the Heat is no better than the third-best team in the Eastern Conference, then I’d say you might want to go get some therapy, because you’re mental.

Orlando is bound to be a good team this year, as they’re still anchored by All-Star center Dwight Howard, and have a plethora of talented players alongside him. Jameer Nelson is a rising star in the league, and Vince Carter, no matter his age and inability to play well in the playoffs so far in his career, is a force to be reckoned with at times.

That being said, I don’t think the Magic have nearly enough weapons to deal with the Miami Heat. Of course, I don’t believe any team in the NBA does; including the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.

Despite Dwight Howard’s statement that he would “choose Kevin Durant over LeBron James”, the fact remains that the two-time MVP LeBron James is the best player in the NBA right now, hands down. When you team him up with arguably the second-best player in the association, Dwyane Wade, and one of the top-five frontcourt players on the planet, and then add all the other talent Miami’s attracted to South Beach over the offseason, it’s hard to understand how anyone would believe otherwise.

As Jeff Van Gundy put it (and I paraphrase here), Miami is going to set records.

All the naysayers can trash the Heat all they want. Training camp begins shortly, and then we’re on to the regular season inside a month or so. Once the season begins, they’ll be whining about how unfair it is Miami was able to build such a dynasty.

Wait, they’ve already begun whining. Scratch that prediction. Let’s just say they’ll continue to whine.

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Tags: Erick Dampier Miami Heat NBA Otis Smith Udonis Haslem

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