Heat re-signs Jamaal Magloire
Jamaal Magloire will be returning to South Florida for a third straight campaign with the Miami Heat. Magloire signed off on his third straight one-year minimum-scale salary, this time paying him $1,352,181.
The former all-star is a shell of his old self, but he’s a welcome addition to the Heat frontcourt. Magloire brings to Miami an added dimension not captured by Zydrunas Ilgauskas or Joel Anthony at the center position. Ilgauskas is more of a finesse offensive weapon while Anthony is more of a tenacious shot-blocking defender. Jamaal provides the necessary third dimension; the I’ll-knock-you-back-down-so-don’t-dare-get-back-up toughness. He is a 6’11″ wide-body who uses his brute force to attack the glass and snatch down rebounds. His size also contributes to his role as a defender, especially since he picks up fouls like a magnet picks up scrap iron.
Jamaal is a good friend of Dwyane, and a personal favorite of mine, as a result of his tough and selfless play. Magloire never complains about his role, which figures to be severely limited once again. Instead, he has been a respected member of the organization and a strong locker room presence. In his two seasons with the Heat, Magloire has averaged 2.6 points (on 50% shooting) and 3.8 rebounds per game in just over 11 minutes of play. He’s also been a pure entertainment to watch at the free throw line.
However, Pat Riley’s decision-making at the center position can certainly be questioned. Within the past week, the Heat has signed guaranteed contracts to employ four centers, a uniquely large total which could limit the team’s potential alternatives.
While much hysteria has been made of the first two weeks of free agency, the off-season is a long, drawn out process which lasts until the end of October. There is much still left to be determined at the position around the league, including the ultimate resolution of the Erick Dampier situation, the improvement (or lack thereof) of Dexter Pittman and the potential emergence of new and previously unaccounted for alternatives. The Heat, however, is now committed to its four, no matter how the story plays out (unless, of course, a player is subsequently waived and his contract fully paid out nonetheless).
The situation figures to get no better next season. Anthony was offered a five-year contract, Pittman a three-year contract (likely two plus a team option) and Ilguaskas a two-year contract. That leaves three players fully guaranteed through at least the 2011-12 season. Therefore, unless Riley were to be willing to carry four centers on its roster for two straight seasons (thus enabling the team to replace Magloire after the coming season, who is on a one year contract, should a more viable alternative present itself), the center rotation will consist of some combination of Ilgauskas, Anthony and Pittman for the foreseeable future.
Had Riley perhaps been a bit more patient, he could have still retained full Bird rights to Joel Anthony, retained full draft rights to Dexter Pittman and retained the ability to re-sign Magloire to the very same minimum contract at any time during the off-season.
However, there is something to be said for continuity and strength of conviction, and now each of the four can rest comfortably in the notion that he will be part of the seemingly best roster in the game today.
Assuming Carlos Arroyo and Juwan Howard are soon to follow along the lines of Magloire, the Heat will have filled thirteen total roster spots, and will have just two additional spots remaining. The team currently has just three natural backcourt players (Arroyo, Chalmers and Wade) on the roster. Both remaining spots are likely to be utilized to fill that need.