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Joel to Decline His Player Option

June 24th, 2010 4 comments

Anthony was due to earn $885,120 with the Heat next season if he had exercised his option

As expected, center Joel Anthony has elected to forgo the 2010/11 player option he held with the Heat. Anthony faces a midnight Thursday deadline on his decision, with his inaction making him a free agent. The announcement cannot be made official until that time.

The decision frees up an additional $885,120 in spending money for Pat Riley’s ball club. The Heat now has just two players with guaranteed contracts, Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers, and a total guaranteed payroll (which assumes James Jones will be bought out by June 30) of $7,672,629. With the cap projected at $56.1 million, Miami figures to have some $48,427,371 of available room.

The decision to opt out makes Anthony slightly less expensive to the Heat if the team hopes to retain him. With Anthony having played just three NBA seasons, the Heat can choose to make him a restricted free agent, which would afford the right to match any outside offers. To do so, Miami would be required to extend a qualifying offer of $1,060,120, which would reduce the team’s available room. However, the qualifying offer can be rescinded at any time prior to July 23, at the team’s sole discretion. If no qualifying offer is extended, or if it rescinded prior to July 23, Anthony would count $854,389 against the 2010/11 salary cap.

Independent of whether or not a qualifying offer is extended, the Heat would continue to retain Joel’s Bird rights until he is officially renounced.

Despite the decision by Joel to test the free agent waters, the Heat still has the clear inside track to retain him. In fact, the decision may have been mutual between player and team, and could pave the wave for Anthony to receive a substantial raise at little cost to the Heat.

For a list of all the Heat’s available options with Joel, click here.

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Rumor: Celtics shopping pick 19 for cap space

June 24th, 2010 4 comments

Per Andy Katz and Peter May:

The Boston Celtics have put their first-round pick in Thursday’s draft — No. 19 overall — on the market… with an eye toward making one more run at a championship next season.

The reasoning behind trading the pick, according to a source, would be to take the money that would be guaranteed to a first-rounder and spend it elsewhere.

Boston GM Danny Ainge figures to be looking for additional bodies to help fill out the roster for next season. If the Celtics are to make a run at one last title before breaking apart, they need help now. With Rasheed reportedly about to retire, the team will have just five players under contract for next season. The Celtics also hold the 52nd pick.

Ainge has been very adept at finding quality talent in the second round of past drafts (Glen Davis, Leon Powe, Ryan Gomes). Perhaps Ainge is considering dealing down for value, to pile up cheaper help which he believes to be just as useful as any prospect waiting at pick 19.

Miami has plenty of second round picks to offer, holding picks 32, 41, 42 and 48.

Should Pat consider trading picks 32 and 48 to Boston in exchange for 19?

Such a scenario would effectively mean the Heat will have discarded Daequan Cook’s contract for pick 48 and a swap of picks 18 and 19. For those of us that held the Heat’s first round pick in high regard, this certainly makes Riley’s initial trade much easier to stomach.

Your thoughts?

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Taking Stock of the Events of the Past 24 Hours

June 24th, 2010 No comments

Draft night appears to be nothing more than a precursor to July 1 for Pat Riley and the Miami Heat this year.

Already poised to be a major player in the free agent sweepstakes that begin next week, Miami has just freed up an additional $3.4 million in extra spending money.

On Wednesday, the Heat traded guard Daequan Cook and the No. 18 pick in the upcoming draft to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for the No. 32 pick. The trade clears not only Cook’s $2.2 million salary for next season, but it also removes the $1.2 million the Heat had to budget for its first round pick.

More activity is likely, with the Heat still looking to clear additional space. The team’s first priority will be to move the burdensome contract of James Jones, but that appears nearly impossible to do. Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers could also be dealt. In the case of Chalmers, Miami need not worry about structuring a trade. A receiving team could utilize the minimum salary exception to acquire the second year guard.

Unless Miami makes a trade to move back up into the first round, it seems clear that the Heat prefers to rebuild in free agency, without the troubles of another potentially misguided first round selection.

The team still has four second round picks with which to work – Nos. 32, 41, 42 and 48. Look for Miami to construct a trade – possibly up, but more likely out – with some of them. For the rest, upon each player’s selection, he would become the property of the Heat for up to a year. The Heat is not required to offer a guaranteed contract to any of them in return. Unlike first round picks, second rounders do not reduce a team’s cap space immediately upon selection.

The draft is scheduled to start tomorrow at 7:00 pm, and should run through midnight. By the time it is over, the Heat will have gained additional clarity on its roster for next season. Center Joel Anthony is required to inform the team, by no later than tomorrow night, if he has chosen to exercise his player option in the amount of $885,120. If he does not do so, his contract will – by default – be terminated. It seems likely that Joel will opt out.

The team will decide whether or not to keep James Jones by June 30.

The Heat figures to enter the off-season with two players under contract, Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers, and a total guaranteed payroll of $7,672,629. With the cap projected at $56.1 million, Miami figures to have some $48,427,371 of available room. Read more…

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Heat Trades Daequan Cook and Pick No. 18 to OKC for Pick No. 32

June 23rd, 2010 41 comments

Done in Miami after three disappointing seasons

The Miami Heat has traded out of the first round of tomorrow’s draft, sending its No. 18 pick and guard Daequan Cook to the Oklahoma City Thunder for the No. 32 overall pick in the second round.

Pat Riley has publicly acknowledged his preference to build through free agency and on the eve of the draft he has held true to his word, opting instead for the added cap space this trade creates.

The move corrects an error made by Riley back in October, when he violated his self-imposed plan to maximize the team’s cap space for the coming off-season and instead chose to pick up Cook’s team option for next season – to the surprise of many, including Daequan. Cook has since regressed, in his fourth and final season under his rookie scale contract.

For Oklahoma City, this deal makes a great deal of sense. The Thunder receives a quality shooter and a top 20 pick for the 32nd pick. And something tells me general manager Sam Presti isn’t done swapping. Now OKC owns three first rounders – Nos. 18, 21 and 26 – and could use them as a springboard to move up a little more.

For Miami, this is a straight salary dump. The Heat not only jettisons the $2,169,857 on Cook’s contract for next season, but also the $1,237,500 salary it would have been obligated to pay the No. 18 selection in Thursday’s draft. In total, the Heat saves $3,407,357. Read more…

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Bill Walker a welcome addition in South Florida?

June 23rd, 2010 7 comments

Bill Walker Photo

I know that it’s draft time and that I should be focusing my every word on it. But you can get that kind of information from just about anywhere. So in my eternal quest to be both creative and thorough, I thought I might focus on the bench for a moment.

Heat fans are starting to get their first few doses of bad news, not the least of which is Raja Bell’s pursuit of bigger than minimum free agent dollars.

The Heat will need a handful of quality low-cost players to fit under the cap if the master plan works out. Losing Bell would be a small, but impactful, blow to the team’s depth. So I started scouring the landscape of free agent alternatives. My search has taken me to the far reaches of my own sanity, whereupon I’ve stumbled upon an intriguing possibility.

Let me ask you this: How many players in the NBA this past season shot at least 50% from the floor, at least 40% from beyond the arc, and at least 78% from the free throw line?


Steve Nash. Mike Miller. Nicolas Batum. Rodrigue Beaubois. And Bill Walker.

That’s four guys making big dollars, and one making the league minimum.

Bill Walker presents an intriguing possibility. He’s young. He’s cheap. He’s tall. He’s chiseled. He’s athletic. He’s explosive. He can defend. And he can shoot.  Read more…

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Debunking the Rumors

June 22nd, 2010 6 comments

According to “league sources,” the Heat is willing to sell the 18th pick in Thursday’s draft in order to clear the cap space.

I have for some time been a proponent of a strategy which calls for the Heat to rid itself of its draft pick in favor of the cap space. In fact, I wrote a concise post describing this very scenario more than a month ago.

But this is the wrong way to approach it. Pat Riley is undoubtedly aware of all the options available to him. I therefore refuse to believe that the suggestion provided above is anything more than a baseless rumor.

Let me explain. Read more…

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Last Thoughts Before The Draft

June 22nd, 2010 2 comments

Navigating the uncertain waters of the NBA Draft has been a special kind of hell for Pat Riley over his years with the Heat organization. Outside of Detroit’s gift to Miami that was Dwyane Wade in 2003, Riley’s draft record reads more like a comedy of errors. The upcoming draft figures to be equally challenging.

In sports, people generally prefer the predictability of the black and white. The obvious. Thursday’s draft figures to be anything but. One expert’s eighth pick is another’s twentieth. And if your team is picking somewhere in the middle of the first round — as the Heat are, at No. 18 — well, it is very difficult to zero in on someone.

What is damaging everyone’s quest to narrow down their searches is the lack of separation beyond the select few at the top. Kentucky’s John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, Ohio State’s Evan Turner, Georgia Tech’s Derrick Favors, and Syracuse’s Wes Johnson figure to go first.

After that, everything is tenuous. And even they don’t seem all that elite.

While there don’t appear to be any surefire superstars in this draft, this appears to be a relatively deep draft class with intriguing prospects expected to be on the board all the way through the first round and perhaps beyond.

So the rumors are starting to soar, with every team outside of the Top 2 (Wizards and Sixers) potentially interested and open to trading up, down or both (with the Pacers and Bulls open to trading out of the draft completely), which means picks 3 through 30 are potentially up for grabs if the team that’s trying to trade up has enough assets (cap space, players, picks, etc.) to get a deal done. Read more…

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Mike Miller the answer at small forward?

June 21st, 2010 14 comments

How many players in the NBA shot better than 50% from the field, 40% from beyond the arc and 80% from the line while averaging at least 30 minutes of playing time this past season?


Steve Nash. And Mike Miller.

Miller has quietly developed into one of the most versatile and efficient offensive players in the game today. He is a multi-faceted offense threat: he can shoot, he can drive, he can pass and he can rebound. He often plays more than one position during the course of a game, including a point-forward type role in some stretches. Miller is best suited to be a team’s third option, where his overall floor game can benefit his team greatest.

Sound good for a Heat team poised to add Bosh or Stoudemire alongside Dwyane Wade?

Miller figures to be one of the more quizzical cases in free agency this summer. The former Rookie of the Year in 2001 and Sixth Man of the Year in 2006 has faded into relative obscurity over these past two seasons. That’s what a year in Minnesota and another in Washington will do. But don’t let that allow you to diminish the impact of his talent – talent that made him the No. 5 overall pick back in the 2000 NBA Draft.

Over the course of his career, Miller has averaged 13.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. Those numbers are nothing to scoff at, particularly considering he’s a career 40.5% shooter from downtown. Better still, Miller’s accuracy from the field has only been on the rise. He’s averaged 50.2%, 48.2%, and 50.1% shooting in the past three years, respectively, despite being the victim of having to play for some awful ball clubs.

Miller is perhaps the game’s ultimate floor-spacing wing player, with an ability to knock down shots from just about anywhere on the court. And although his shooting is his most celebrated asset, it’s certainly not his only one. At 6’8″, his tenacity on the defensive boards and his willingness to distribute the ball should not be overlooked.

He certainly hasn’t been overlooked by Pat Riley. In fact, Riley has looked squarely in Miller’s direction for the past several seasons – thinking highly of not only his ability but his first-class character and high basketball IQ. At the trade deadline in February, Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld spurned strong interest from the Heat. Of course he did. What did Miami have to offer? But now, with Miller an unrestricted free agent and the Heat with plenty of cap space, the game has changed. Read more…

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Breaking down the trade bonus

June 20th, 2010 3 comments

Well, I didn’t get many readers yesterday. So today I will offer this somewhat less stimulating post on the impact of trade bonuses for the technically savvy few who happen to care. After all, in my heart I enjoy helping to explain the intricacies of the salary cap most.

There seems to be a common perception floating around that Turkoglu, after a forgetful season in Toronto, is washed up. The perception is that he is an aging malcontent, whose inflated salary will be a boon the Raptors for the next four seasons. For a man over thirty years of age with just one solid regular season under his belt, it’s reasonable to understand why. But perhaps it’s just a little harsh for man who produced such a wonderful 2009 NBA Finals.

When Turkoglu arrived in Toronto, having turned away the Trail Blazers in his wake, he received a hero’s welcome. And for good reason. He had just completed an NBA Finals run during which he averaged 15.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists, not to mention his crunch-time leadership, game-winning shot-making and one impressive block from behind on Kobe Bryant. He even the Heat’s own Dwyane Wade pushing to grab him for mid-level money.

Things soured quickly. Turkoglu showed up to training camp overweight and out of shape, and never seemed eager to do much of anything. By the end of the season, he finished with just 11.3 points per game, far and away his fewest over the past six seasons, on just 41% shooting. Turkoglu was unhappy, the fans were booing him, and management was left with the shame at having grossly overvalued him on the free agent market.

The end result wasn’t necessarily an indication of what Turkoglu may be able provide a team next season, if he were to be put in the right situation. But for any of us holding out any lingering hope of acquiring the 6’10” point-forward, I would have you consider his contract. Read more…

Al Jefferson, Anyone?

June 19th, 2010 4 comments

What if the Heat doesn’t land Chris Bosh? What if it doesn’t land Amare Stoudemire?

There are any number of reasons why Pat Riley could ultimately prove unsuccessful in his quest for each of the two superstars, the most intriguing of which is LeBron James agreeing to call South Florida home for the next five years.

Would you trade for Al Jefferson?

For Wolves fans, the one consolation prize in sending Kevin Garnett off to Boston back in July of 2007 was the acquisition of one the game’s best young post players, Al Jefferson.

Big Al had emerged as the low-block counterpoint to Paul Pierce on Boston’s sub-par 2006/07 team. When the opportunity surfaced for Danny Ainge to acquire Garnett, Jefferson was the Celtics’ only real long-term asset, and so away he went.

In Minnesota, even without a premium point guard, Jefferson has established himself as a dominating low post presence. A legit 6’10” with a well filled 265-pound frame and a massive 7’2.5″ wingspan, he’s an aggressive big man who barrels his way to the left side of the rim on nearly every possession. When he collects the entry pass on the block, he calls upon a variety of post moves to put the ball in the basket with alarming efficiency – often a deceptive up-fake to buy himself space for his little, baby hook shot that he half shoots and half throws, but on which he displays a great deal of touch out to around 10 feet.

Jefferson is an incredibly talented big man with a phenomenal feel for scoring in the post. He also rebounds at a high rate on both ends, thanks to his terrific hands and anticipation skills. And, despite constant double teams, he hardly ever turns the ball over.

The now-25-year-old was following up a breakout 2007/08 campaign with an even more impressive 2008/09, striking fear into opposing defenses to the tune of 23.1 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks over the season’s first 50 games. Until it all came crashing down. Literally. Read more…

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