During the Big Three era, Pat Riley and the Miami Heat took advantage of teams paying players not to play with them. The Heat signed Chris Andersen to a minimum contract after he was amnestied by the Denver Nuggets. He quickly became a fan favorite and helped the LeBron James win his first title.
The draw for potential free agents had been the prospect of playing with James, but the Heat are a top-notch organization and still located in Miami. It’s a destination franchise, as I have already argued. Players want to play here, and Riles can still take advantage of other teams’ trash.
The Memphis Grizzlies recently waived second-year guard Jamaal Franklin and will use the stretch provision to stretch the remaining $816,482 of his contract over the next three seasons.
The stretch provision is rarely used by NBA teams, but will probably start to be used more as teams figure out the best ways to use it. It’s weird that the Grizzlies used the stretch here, but it will turn Franklin’s already minimal cap hit into virtually nothing. Rather than pay him the remaining amount of his guaranteed deal, they will pay him $272,160 for each of the next three seasons (the stretch provision requires teams to pay the remaining guaranteed amount over the course of twice the remaining years on the contract plus one).
Franklin is on waivers for two days following his release. So if no team claims him by 5 p.m. Tuesday, he will clear waivers and be available to any team.
If that happens, the Heat are certainly a prospect to sign Franklin.
He played in just 21 games last season with Memphis, averaging just 1.9 points, 1.1 rebounds and 0.3 assists in 7.7 minutes per game. He didn’t get many chances to show off his shooting, but was 5-of-11 (45.5%) from three-point range. He mostly played in the D-League, where his numbers were slightly better.
At San Diego State, Franklin wasn’t an efficient shooter but had a good motor as a swingman. He backed up Kawhi Leonard his sophomore season then took the lead his junior year.
This is what DraftExpress.com’s Walker Beeken had to say about the 6’5” guard:
Overall, Franklin’s lack of improvement as a perimeter shooter may hurt his draft stock a bit, but his improvement as a passer and defender were both encouraging. If he can convince NBA teams that he can become a better outside shooter and is willing to buy into being a true team player, he’ll have a good chance to hear his name called in the first round of the NBA draft in June, as he brings an intriguing package of physical tools, motor, and overall skill level to the table, that could help him find a role on the wing.
So what would Franklin provide the Heat?
- Youth on the wing
- Depth on the wing
- A potential asset
Let’s go through those point by point. Fresh legs were a major issue for the Heat last season. So far, the team has signed perimeter veterans such as Danny Granger, Reggie Williams and Shawne Williams. Their best days are behind them, but Franklin figures to be on the bottom of his career arch. He would further provide competition at the swing spot during training camp.
If the Heat were to sign him and he were to make the team, Miami would have him and Shabazz Napier as young players who could not only become future impact role players, but also potential trade assets.
Franklin’s best case scenario would be a hard-working 3-and-D guy. Those players are extremely valuable in today’s NBA. The worst case scenario? The Heat give Franklin a non-guaranteed contract to compete in training camp and he doesn’t make the team, or they pay him the minimum $915,243 due to second-year players and he doesn’t pan out (or is sent to the D-League).
Teams can carry up to 20 players during training camp. If the Heat can nab Franklin, they should see what he’s got.