Tough Decisions: Miami Heat Must Cut Two Players Before Monday Night

The final two cuts the Heat have to make before tomorrow night are going to be the hardest. After signing Jerry Stackhouse as a veteran presence to replace the injured Mike Miller, Miami needs to bring its current roster of 17 players down to the NBA-mandated 15 by Monday’s end.

There’s no doubt about the status of many players, but there are a few who should be sweating bullets about whether they’ll be with the team come the beginning of the season.

The Heat’s starters have nothing to fear if you ask me, with Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Joel Anthony penciled into those slots. I know some may believe Chalmers and Anthony’s place on the team isn’t certain, but I would wholeheartedly disagree.

Likewise, among the backups I don’t believe there’s any doubt Udonis Haslem, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Eddie House, and Jamaal Magloire will be on the opening-day roster. Magloire not so much for his talent but simply because he’s an experienced big body and the Heat need that.

James Jones seems to have solidified his spot as a backup to LeBron James and Jerry Stackhouse, not to mention Miller when he returns in January. Da’Sean Butler, however, looks like he may get the cut.

That’s not because of his play, though, as he’s still nursing and rehabbing his knee, and hasn’t seen any action. However, there just doesn’t seem to be enough room on the squad to accommodate the potential he represents.

And make no mistake about it, Butler represents loads of potential at the small forward position, but if I’m Pat Riley or Erik Spoelstra, a known factor beats something that won’t be known for quite a while every time.

The players I believe who have to be wondering about now are Carlos Arroyo, Patrick Beverley, Juwan Howard, and Dexter Pittman.

Arroyo has to be facing that doubt precisely because of Beverley’s play, and Patrick, conversely, is facing the same anxiety because of Carlos’ experience and history with the team.

Juwan has to be a little anxious knowing the Heat don’t really need him all that much, and probably won’t ever play him that much. However, he might take solace in the fact Riley is reluctant to get rid of veteran big men who have multiple talents, which he does.

Pittman is a quandary for me, as his contract seems to indicate Riley sees all kinds of potential in the kid. However, he’s never really shown it completely all summer or during the preseason; not that he’s had a great deal of opportunity, mind you.

If I had to make a bet, my wager would be on Butler and Beverley getting the boot, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Riley decided to stick with Patrick and let Howard find other employment.

It’ll be interesting to find out exactly which way Riley and Spoelstra are leaning tomorrow, but whatever they decide I’m still firmly of the belief the Heat have enough to beat any team in the NBA, and will prove just that when they dismantle the Boston Celtics Tuesday night.

Game On!

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Tags: Carlos Arroyo Chris Bosh Da'Sean Butler Dexter Pittman Eddie House Erik Spoelstra Jamaal Magloire James Jones Jerry Stackhouse Joel Anthony Juwan Howard Lebron James Mario Chalmers Miami Heat Mike Miller NBA Pat Riley Patrick Beverley Zydrunas Ilgauskas

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