Free agency is winding down and the options on who else to sign are wearing thin.
The Miami Heat have had an excellent offseason thus far. While Ronny Turiaf may have officially departed for the Los Angeles Clippers, the Heat made one of the biggest splashes of the summer, once again, by signing sharpshooters Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. The two joined the Heat following Ray taking a mini mid-level exception worth $9 million over the next three years, while Lewis took the veteran’s minimum after receiving a $14 million buyout from New Orleans.
For the third consecutive offseason, the Heat let it be known who their targets were and accomplished their goal of acquiring said targets. The same goes for 2010 when they re-signed Dwyane Wade and picked up LeBron James and Chris Bosh among others, as well as in 2011 when they were running short on funds and managed to sign Shane Battier to a deal similar to Allen’s. Battier would eventually be a key component in the Heat’s championship run.
There’s no doubt that Allen and Lewis will be in a similar role come playoff time. They were signed for the purpose of stretching the floor in order to allow more drives from James and Wade, adding some much needed consistency from beyond the arc and providing some depth to a team that’s been worn thin at times.
With the acquisitions of Allen and Lewis, the Heat have two spots left on their roster. Current unrestricted free agents include Eddy Curry and Juwan Howard, while Terrel Harris is the only restricted free agent, although he has yet to receive any offer from an outside source. The Heat appear to be on the fence regarding Harris, as they have yet to make any word on whether progress is being made with his contract situation.
If he isn’t signed, then here are three players who are worthy of a look to fill up those last two spots. They’re not exactly the cream of the crop, but they could end up serving some key needs for the Heat in the regular season.
He’s 34-years-old and his best years are far behind him, but Kenyon Martin would still serve a purpose on this Heat roster as one of the lone big men who can hold their own on defensive end.
Martin’s offense is decent; he can’t drive much anymore, but he has a solid mid-range shot and leftover athleticism from 2003. What would entice the Heat into signing him, however, is his defense and toughness on both ends of the floor. Even later in his years, Martin is still an intimidating presence who utilizes aggressive defense to throw off his matchup, especially in the post and from the mid-range where many stretch-four’s and five’s thrive.
Kenyon averaged 5.2 points and 4.3 rebounds in 42 games with the Clippers last season and played a huge role in their short-lived postseason run.
You may remember that name as one of the Heat’s targets midway through last season. Joel Przybilla came down to deciding between the Miami Heat and his former team in the Portland Trail Blazers following a short retirement. In the end, Przybilla went back to the team he spent nearly seven seasons with, started in 19 games and finished the season averaging 2 points and 5.1 rebounds per.
When the Heat are looking at a player like Przybilla, they’re not asking for much. They just want a player who can fill the lane, grab some boards and play defense, and Przybilla is the perfect player for the job.
He’ll be 33-years-old by the start of the season, but has proven that he’s still capable of fighting for rebounds and going after shots taken near the rim. At 7’1″, 255-pounds, Joel is a body the Heat could use at center throughout the regular season. Having him on the court may slow the game down, but it would also help conserve the energy of LeBron James, who wouldn’t be forced to play at the four as much.
Why not just construct an All-Star team made out of great players from 2005? If the Heat end up signing Tracy McGrady, placing him alongside the likes of former elite stars in Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, then McGrady would be in a familiar setting surrounded by players who can understand his situation.
Through all the knee problems and currently being 33-years-old, McGrady is still attempting to push strong as a relevant rotation player. Last year with Atlanta, Tracy played in 52 games and finished the season averaging 5.3 points, 3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per. The Hawks were his fourth team in four years, following stints in Houston, New York and Detroit.
McGrady is looking for a home and after shooting 46 percent from beyond the arc last year, he could call his final home Miami if he’s willing to take the veteran’s minimum.
What should entice the Heat into signing Tracy is how motivated he would be to win. Don’t forget that this is a guy who’s never been past the second-round of the playoffs and has publicly cried because of it. Putting him on a team with the chances of securing a title like the Heat would motivate him into playing as hard as he has in years, even if he is reduced to a role where he’s the ninth or tenth man.
A former project of the Heat’s after going undrafted in 2011, Mickell Gladness recently spent time playing with the team in Summer League.
Last year, Gladness was featured in 26 games, eight coming with the Heat where he barely had stats worth mentioning and was relegated to garbage-time. He would receive more of a chance in 18 games with the Golden State Warriors, seven of which he’d start, and would average 3 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per.
Gladness isn’t worthy of playing anytime soon, but he’s a solid project for the Heat to work on alongside Dexter Pittman. While Mickell doesn’t have much of an offensive repertoire, he has outstanding athleticism for a 6’11″ center and great timing when it comes to blocking shots.
The Heat already have two pure point guards who don’t particularly pass the ball well, so why not add on another?
Well, Derek Fisher isn’t really like Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole. For one, his game is extremely matured and he hardly ever forces up a bad shot. In fact, Fisher is one of those players you can rely on to hit a big shot when your team is going through a tough stretch.
Throughout his time with the Los Angeles Lakers, Fisher was the player who was relied on to hit big shots if Kobe Bryant wasn’t already taking them.
The 37-year-old Fisher most recently spent time with the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he would average 6.3 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists per in 20 postseason games. He also shot 42 percent from the field and 38 percent from deep in that stretch.
Fisher would probably be third in the depth chart, but he’d also play the role of mentor ala Juwan Howard last year. Perhaps he could drop some knowledge on the inconsistent Chalmers and the inexperienced Cole.