So what do you do when you’re starving and only have a few bucks to your name? You dig for change, look for bargains and try to make the most of the Value Menu that fits your pathetic budget.
Welcome to the Miami Heat’s midseason roster upgrade!
Now taking that analogy a step further, let’s start with the reality – Miami is already at an All-You-Can-(H)Eat (ha!) buffet that serves filet mignon, lobster and Beluga caviar. The team is already well-stocked, second-best in the Eastern Conference and competing for a third championship.
They’ve made a move already, opening up a roster spot by trading veteran Roger Mason, Jr. The trade deadline has passed so that route won’t lead to further improvement.
But there is a second deadline, March 1, where players can get “bought out” of their existing contracts and join a playoff-caliber team and be eligible for play in the postseason. The Heat has done this in the past, notably acquiring point guard Mike Bibby during the 2011 season.
Not exactly a great precedent but bear with me as there may still be hope.
Veterans can come in and produce given the right situation; Bibby wasn’t stellar but he did start 12 games and shot 45% from 3-point range. In the regular season. To call his anemic 26% 3-point rate in the playoffs disappointing, is like eating a handful of ghost chili peppers and labeling them “tangy.”
So, the buyout option is an extreme case of “buyer beware.” A team can get lucky, acquire a veteran that will fit in, be hungry to compete and won’t disrupt the locker room. Or, worse case scenario, it’ll be a waste of money, time and a roster spot but, on a team like Miami, it likely won’t be much of a disruption.
Still, there are some intriguing options out there so we’ll take a look at the best:
He gets the top spot simply because he’s not an option anymore. Terry’s contract was rumored to be ripe for a buyout, as per my colleague Wes Goldberg. That’s off the table as “The Jet” will be rehabbing his wheels for the rest of the year, as tweeted by the Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck:
Kings announce that Jason Terry will spend rest of season rehabbing his knee. Nice way of saying he didn’t want to play there.
So, he’s done and good riddance. I’d rather remember him like this:
“Big Baby” Davis has been released by the Orlando Magic and is a free agent in need of a home; it likely won’t be Miami. Davis is burly (read “fat”), an adequate rebounder and possesses a deceptively soft touch around the basket. He could help Miami but he would likely take away from Greg Oden’s limited opportunities and that doesn’t seem likely considering the time and effort already invested in Oden’s rehabilitation.
As per Yahoo!Sports, the Los Angeles Clippers are the favorites to land Davis, who would be reunited with his former coach while with the Boston Celtics, Glenn “Doc” Rivers. Former Boston teammates Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are reportedly trying to lure Davis to the Brooklyn Nets, a scenario that should worry the Heat. The Nets have been disappointing but, even without Terry, they are one of the few teams that don’t fear Miami. A playoff series against Brooklyn would be reminiscent of past battles with the Celtics; good for the fans but hopefully avoided for a team bracing to meet the Indiana Pacers.
Speaking of the Pacers…
As Wes pointed out in his piece, Granger was shipped from Indiana to the lowly Philadelphia 76ers. A buyout is rumored but there are some issues. By accepting a buyout, Granger (a free agent this summer) would not eligible to resign with Philadelphia for more money. It’s hard to see what Philly will do in this scenario and if Granger will accept an offer, even if one is eventually made.
The appeal for signing Granger is two-fold. He provides some valuable information about Indiana, and can assist with any strategizing if a playoff battle does take place. Additionally, he’ll likely have a huge ax to grind against the Pacers. Having that anger as a potential weapon is intriguing, to say the least.
The Charlotte Bobcats have long sought to rid themselves of Gordon’s contract. He’s no longer the gifted player he once was and, even at his best, he was never a complete package. He has the distinction of being one of the few players (along with Terry) who seems to excel against Miami. Having said that, his defense hasn’t been seen since the Bush administration and he hasn’t been motivated in years. Would an opportunity to be a high-scoring option off the bench intrigue him? Probably not. And Miami already has a gifted scorer with attitude problems:
There’s no need to add another.
Metta World Peace
World Peace was bought out early Saturday by the New York Knicks. He hasn’t been a good player since he was known as Ron Artest but his skill set would probably be the best fit for Miami. He has championship experience, can play inspired defense at times (although with less frequency) and can hit the outside shot. MWP has been stewing slowly with the Knicks and he could relish the opportunity to make his last NBA run a memorable one.
There are other options out there, aside from these. Several veteran players have been unsigned all season, while others have already been bought out or are playing overseas. Among this group are Corey Maggette, Josh Howard, Stephen Jackson, Ivan Johnson, and Drew Gooden. Antawn Jamison has already been released; both he and Gooden are former teammates of LeBron James so there would at least be some familiarity with Miami’s leader.
The bottom line is that, like year’s past, the trade deadline hasn’t been very rewarding for Heat fans and the buyout veterans aren’t likely to impact the pursuit of a three-peat.
But when you’re looking for change in between the sofa cushions, a value-meal veteran with some gas left in the tank is the best you can probably hope for.
UPDATE: Despite reports to the contrary, Metta World Peace has not been released by the New York Knicks although negotiations are ongoing and an agreement is expected soon. According to numerous sources, Glen “Big Baby” Davis is expected to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers, leaving the Brooklyn Nets to sign center Jason Collins (who has been unsigned all season). Stay connected to AllUCanHeat for regular updates.