Free Agency 2016: Five Early Targets for Miami Heat


Of the potential 2016 free agents there are five in particular that standout to me as potential Heat targets.

May 9, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) brings the ball up court during the first half against the Los Angeles Clippers in game three of the second round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant

2013-2014: 81 games played, 32.0 points per game, 7.4 rebounds per game, and 5.5 assists per gameDurant contract expires in 2016. He will be 27 years old at that time. The max any team other than the Thunder can offer him is four years, $96 million. The Thunder can offer him five years, $120 million.

Durant will be the most sought after free agent in 2016. He will be offered the max from essentially every team that doesn’t have LeBron James. Pat Riley, Micky Arison, and Erik Spoelstra will have to make some type of miraculous pitch to get Durant in Miami.

May 2, 2014; Portland, OR, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) reacts after being fouled against the Portland Trail Blazers during the fourth quarter in game six of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at the Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Dwight Howard

2013-2014: 71 games played, 18.3 points per game, 12.2 rebounds per game, and 1.8 blocks per gameHoward has an $23.3 million player option for the 2016-2017 season. He could decline that option to seek a max four-year, $112 million contract — this again is if the cap is increased to $80 million.

In 2016 Howard will be 30 years of age so he’d still have one more big contract left in him. Howard is arguably the best center in the league and may hold on to that title for a few more years. Bosh is the perfect power forward to play next to Howard, that’s why Houston offered so much money to Bosh, this would form arguably the best front court duo in the league. Miami would need to add more complementary guys around them to compete for championships but it is compelling nonetheless.

Dec 14, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford (15) shoots during the first quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Al Horford2013-2014: 29 games played, 18.6 points per game, 8.4 rebounds per game, and 1.5 blocks per game

Horford’s contract expires in 2016. He will be 30 years old at that time.

Horford is one of the most underrated players in the league. He could bring some star caliber play to a team. The Heat could sign him and much like much like the addition of Howard, form one of the best front court duos in the league. Horford was well on his way to a career year this past season before he suffered a season-ending injury. In the 2012-2013 season, Horford in 74 games averaged 17.4 points and 10.2 rebounds. So yes, he can definitely play. I don’t expect Horford to command a max so this would allow the Heat to sign another free agent, more than likely at the mid-level exception.

May 1, 2014; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) brings the ball up court during the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in game six of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Conley, Jr.

2013-2014: 73 games played, 17.2 points per game, 6.0 assists per game, and 1.5 steals per gameConley’s contract expires in 2016. He will be 28 years old at that time.

I’ve been adamant about the Heat needing a point guard to compete in the eastern conference. Conley is coming off a career-year in Memphis in which he set career highs in points per game and player efficiency rating. He’s shown constant improvement in his career so by age 28 he should be at the peak of his career. If the Heat sign Conley they can likely go sign another good free agent; like a Nicolas Batum, Chandler Parsons, Wilson Chandler, Arron Afflalo, or a Thaddeus Young.

Apr 12, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic (1) during the game against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Suns 101-98. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

 Goran Dragic

2013-2014: 76 games played, 20.3 points per game, 5.9 assists per game, and 1.4 steals per game

Dragic’s contract expires in 2016 and he will be 30 years old at the time.

Signing Dragic would be much like signing Conley. It’s essentially an either-or situation for the Heat. Dragic obviously brings more to the table offensively, but lacks little defensively. In spite of that I still believe Dragic is a little better for the Heat. He would get to go back to playing point guard fulltime. Dragic thrives when he has bigs that can space the floor; the Heat would defintely have two of them on the roster in Bosh and McRoberts. Perfect fit if you ask me.