The Miami Heat is looking for a three-peat and, needless to say, it’s not going to come easy. After being seconds away from losing the NBA Finals last year, the Heat reached out to several free agents in the offseason, part of an effort to prevent what had happened against the Spurs again.
The Heat signed Greg Oden, former number one overall pick in 2007, who has had knee problems ever since his first season in the NBA.
Oden was sought out because of his size, standing at 7’0″ and weighing over 273 lbs. The Heat have struggled with rebounding ever since the start of the “Big Three” era, and Oden was signed primarily, in many fans eyes, to guard Roy Hibbert.
Oden wasn’t as ready as we thought, plagued with knee issues and inconsistency, the Heat are back to playing small-ball. While small-ball has certainly worked in past years, having a big man that is tall and can rebound is one of the more coveted prototypes in the league.
Next up, Michael Beasley.
I saw it as a low-risk/high-reward signing, but it has turned out to be more of a low-risk/flop signing.
Beasley has not been a solid contributor this year, nor a guy Spoelstra can trust subbing in. Beasley was brought in to be LeBron’s primary backup, a guy that could bring in energy and scoring. However, Beasley has been watching from the bench for most of the season, only seeing action when regular rotational players are injured.
We’ve seen flashes of potential, scoring 24 points on 9-13 shooting in a loss to the Houston Rockets on March 4th. The big thing here is that Beasley just can’t stay consistent enough, often shooting illivised shots or getting beat on defense.
When the 2013-14 season comes to a close, whether the Heat are champions or not, they must add players via free agency if they want to contend for a championship again.
Here is my list of free agents that Heat should pursue this off-season.
Chris Kaman, C, 7’0″ 265 lbs., Los Angeles Lakers
Not sure why the Lakers signed Kaman, as they sat him in favor of Robert Sacre and Jordan Hill most of the season, but he was basically useless on a team that was terrible. In this stage of his career, Kaman would likely be brought in for a role that requires him to rebound and do some dirty work.
The Heat don’t have a lot of depth in their front court, and Kaman has proved that he can start if he is needed. He has struggled with staying healthy for most of his career, but bringing him in for cheap would prove to be a bargain in the end. A vet that can rebound and doesn’t need to score is music to the Heat’s ears.
- Projected Contract: 1 year deal for the veteran’s minimum
Caron Butler, SF/SG, 6’7″ 228 lbs., Oklahoma City Thunder
I thought Caron Butler signing with the Miami Heat was a done deal after he was bought-out by the Milwaukee Bucks, apparently, it wasn’t. Butler signed with a Oklahoma City Thunder team that needed instant scoring and defense off of the bench. Butler brings both of those qualities, proving to be a better fit with the Thunder than I first thought. Butler is shooting a career best 44 percent from deep as a member of the Thunder, although he’s only played 22 games with them. He thrives offensively when he has capable scorers around him that can get him open.
Butler only signed a one year deal, which means he’ll be off the books heading into the 2014 NBA off season. With Dwyane Wade’s health up in the air, Butler would be able to fill in for him; not to mention the mutual respect Butler has for the Heat franchise that drafted him back in 2002.
- Projected Contract: 2 year deal worth close to $6 million (maybe even less if Pat Riley can convince him)
Josh McRoberts, PF, 6’10″ 240 lbs., Charlotte Bobcats
McRoberts has shown in past years that if he can get substantial minutes, he can thrive. McRoberts is averaging 30.3 minutes per game this season and poured in 15 points, seven rebounds, and four assists in a Game 1 loss to the Miami Heat on April 20th. He has proven that he can shoot effectively behind the arc, while also doing the dirty work underneath the basket.
Chris Bosh has never really had a healthy player backing him up, and McRoberts could finally be that guy. At 27 years old, McRoberts still has time to expand and improve his play. With Beasley likely out of South Beach at the end of the season, McRoberts would be a great pickup for the Heat.
- Projected Contract: 3 year deal worth over $8 million
Paul Pierce, SF, 6’7″ 235 lbs., Brooklyn Nets
Before any of you readers call me crazy, let me explain myself. Paul Pierce has a pure hatred for the Heat, but does that come at the expense of a chance at winning another championship? Heck, Ray Allen left the Boston Celtics for a team he once hated as well, and look how that turned out. Anything can happen, especially when Pat Riley is your general manager.
Pierce is in the last year of his contract that will pay him over $15 million, so we know he definitely won’t be pushing for a lot of money. His level of play has dropped off and he’ll be 37 years old by the start of the 2014-15 NBA season.
At this stage of his career, Pierce should be looking to add more to his legacy, although he will probably be a future Hall-of-Famer. Pierce has a great IQ, much like LeBron, and both are rather accepting of new players to their teams. I’m sure Nets fans never envisioned Pierce and K.G. on their team, so all is not lost for a potential Pierce to Miami deal.
- Projected Contract: 1 year deal worth over $4 million
Pau Gasol, PF/C, 7’0″ 250 lbs., Los Angeles Lakers
Pau Gasol has had a rough time with the Lakers for the past two seasons. In the 2012-13 season, his role diminished in favor of Dwight Howard, fans labeled him as “soft”, and he was involved in trade talks. 2013 didn’t get much better for Gasol as he suffered from vertigo (back) issues, and his best friend, Kobe Bryant, missed majority of the season.
Gasol was forced to play with a bunch of role players and still averaged 17.4 point, 9.7 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game. Kobe wants the Lakers to resign Gasol, but it looks as if Mitch Kupchak and the Buss Family are not interested. I honestly feel really bad for Gasol, as he has been blamed for most of the Lakers problems the past couple of years.
The Heat are in need of a traditional center that can run up and down the floor, and Gasol could be their guy. While no one really knows how much money Gasol will demand, another championship on his resume could further enhance his Hall-Of-Fame chances.
- Projected Contract: 1 year deal worth more than $9 million