Here is a look at this summer’s unrestricted free agents that the Miami Heat could potentially add to the Big Three, broken down by position and ranked in order (1-5, based on quality and fit with Heat) along with analysis of how each would fit.
The players are listed by the position they would most likely play in Miami. For example, many teams might use Anthony Tolliver at small forward, but the Heat would use him as a stretch-4. The list does not include Miami’s own free agents.
1. Kyle Lowry, Toronto, 6’0”, 17.9 ppg, 7.4 apg
Lowry would clearly be the top point guard on this list, and maybe even atop Miami’s list overall. He would turn Miami’s weakness into a position of strength, and give LeBron James some rest from running the offense.
2. Kirk Hinrich, Chicago, 9.1 ppg, 3.9 apg
I used to call Hinrich the Dwyane Wade stopper. ‘Goggle Hinrich’ gives great effort on defense, is a good outside shooter and a tremendous competitor (evidences by his questionable decision to tackle LeBron). Hinrich may be exactly what Miami is looking for: A veteran hungry to take the next step with a competitor.
3. Shaun Livingston, Brooklyn, 6’7”, 8.3 ppg, 3.2 apg
The Heat gave Livingston his first comeback shot in the NBA and now the boy is all grown up. Still, Livingston is more effective in the post than he is spacing the floor, so it’s unclear if he would fit in to Miami’s pace and space system.
4. Ramon Sessions, Milwaukee, 12.3 ppg, 4.1 apg
Other than half a season with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2011-12, Sessions has never played for a playoff team. He’s bounced around the likes of Milwaukee, Cleveland and Charlotte. Beware the player that has never played with talent or taken advantage of great coaching. Sessions, who averages nearly 12 points and five assists for his career, is good at getting to the rim. Still, he doesn’t offer much in the form of three-point shooting, which seems to be a prerequisite for the Heat.
5. Patty Mills, San Antonio, 10.2 ppg, 1.8 apg
Wouldn’t this be interesting? The guy that knocked down Danny-Green amount of three’s in the NBA Finals is a free agent this summer. However, his play down the stretch likely prices him out of Miami’s budget.
1. Vince Carter, Dallas, 11.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg
Carter just doesn’t seem to age sometimes. The 37-year-old can still score and defend relatively well. If Miami is looking to add a veteran presence who can lift a bench, Carter could be the guy. But Pat Riley would likely have to convince him to take the minimum.
2. Jodie Meeks, Los Angeles, 15.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg
Meeks enjoyed a good scoring season with the Lakers. But Meeks has stated he would like to return to L.A., and they can offer him more money to keep him.
3. Rodney Stuckey, Detroit, 13.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg
Stuckey could be a welcome addition to a team needing a hard-nosed scorer. However, how would he fit in with the Heat? He doesn’t shoot the three-ball particularly well.
4. Alan Anderson (player option), Brooklyn, 7.2 ppg, 2.2 apg
I include Anderson because I would guess he opts out of his deal worth just over a million bucks next season. The Nets don’t have much cap room, and could opt to re-sign Livingston over Anderson. Miami could then use it’s mid-level exception to sign Anderson, a vicious defender and solid three-point shooter.
5. Anthony Morrow, New Orleans, 8.4 ppg, 1.8 apg
If all Miami wants is a three-point shooter to come off the bench, Morrow is among the best. And he comes for cheap, to boot. But how much of an upgrade is he over James Jones?
1. Carmelo Anthony, New York, 27.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg
Melo is good, but how many more shots can you really take away from Wade and Bosh?
2. Trevor Ariza, Washington, 14.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg
If the Heat are going to use the mid-level exception, Ariza could be the guy if the Wizards give him a chance to test the open market. He hits open three’s, defends the perimeter and was key to Washington’s success this season.
3. Luol Deng, Cleveland, 16.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg
Deng is arguably a better overall player than Ariza, but Ariza better fits what Miami is looking for. Deng isn’t the shooter that Ariza is, but can defend more positions and can still hit the corner three. Is he willing to sacrifice money to join the Heat?
4. Shawn Marion, Dallas, 10.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg
Marion can hit open looks and defend both forward positions. A valuable contributor off the bench.
5. Marvin Williams, Utah, 9.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg
Williams hasn’t lived up to his high draft expectations but quietly enjoyed a good season in Utah. He’s become a more consistent shooter in his eight seasons. The Heat saw the best of him in March, when he went off for 23 points and hit five of eight three-pointers. At 6’9”, 237 pounds, he’s a possible stretch-4 in Miami’s small ball approach.
1. Pau Gasol, Los Angeles, 17.4 ppg, 9.7 rpg
He’s a more realistic option if Bosh leaves, but Pau is still an offensive threat in the right system.
2. Josh McRoberts, Charlotte, 8.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg
McRoberts had his best season last year with the Bobcats-turned-Hornets, which led him to opt out of his contract is search of a pay day. Charlotte will likely be able to pay him, and I doubt he wants to play for his sixth team in seven years. Especially since they found a way to use him best.
3. Kris Humphries, Boston, 8.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg
If the Heat are looking to get stronger on the glass, Humphries strikes me as a guy who wants to play for a winner. Especially if that winner plays in Miami.
4. Anthony Tolliver, Charlotte, 6.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg
Tolliver is a good three-point shooter who translates to a stretch-4 in Miami. He gives good effort on defense and could be an easy plug-and-play guy off the bench.
5. DeJuan Blair, Dallas, 6.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg
Heat fans wanted him last year, but does Miami have room for another undersized hustler with Udonis Haslem on the roster?
1. Marcin Gortat, Washington, 13.2 ppg, 9.5 rpg
Gortat would solve all of Miami’s problems in the paint with a single thrust of his Polish Hammer. A solid scorer, brutal rebounder and defender, Gortat would be a great complement to Bosh in the front court. If Miami has the chance, they scoop him up. But does Washington let him get away?
2. Chris Kamen, Los Angeles, 10.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg
A decent mid-range shooter and athletic enough, but didn’t play great defense with the Lakers. Would he buy in to Spo’s system? If he does, he could be a steal.
3. Jason Smith, New Orleans, 9.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg
Smith is a 7-footer with a nice mid-range game. Can he be good enough on defense to stay on the court?
4. Emeka Okafor, Phoenix, 9.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg
Okafor is nearly a 12 and 10 guy for his career, and that could be all Miami needs from the center spot. But he was injured all last season and, even though it wasn’t as severe as Greg Oden’s injuries, Miami just experimented with a recovering big.
5. Greg Stiemsma, New Orleans, 2.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg
Okay, I put Stiemsma in here over guys like Spencer Hawes (redundant of Bosh), Channing Fry (more redundent of Bosh) and Jermaine O’Neal (been there, done that). Stiemsma was [sort of] part of some epic battles between the Heat and Boston Celtics a few years ago. You know Doc Rivers coached him up, and he has the length and decent athleticism to fit in in Miami. More importantly, he could be a cheap find in the bargain bins for a potential starting center.