To some extent, the Miami Heat’s back-to-back NBA championships validate the organization’s “position-less basketball” approach. Success is sports’ ultimate argument-ender. It sets everything right.
But Pat Riley knows what everybody else does. If the Heat want to win a third straight NBA title, it might be important to get some size.
His primary target is Greg Oden, because he knows a true center – particularly a dominant inside presence – still has a place, even here. He witnessed what Indiana and then San Antonio did to the Heat in the playoffs, to push Miami to seven games last season largely because of low-post presence and bigger frontcourts. He knows what Chicago could do.
Despite the clear need for depth at the center position, it has been a quiet offseason for Miami. It has felt at times that the Heat have thus far moved at a glacial pace to start the summer. Fans have been waiting for some action, something to celebrate.
In recent summers, Miami has been able to attract notable free agents such as Shane Battier and Ray Allen despite their limited cap space, but they have yet to ink even a single outside free agent yet this summer. Thus far, the team’s biggest addition has been second-round pick James Ennis, who was acquired in a trade on draft night.
The tension in South Florida surrounding Oden’s fate is palpable. The idea of Oden signing with the Heat has been a dream for some for many months, if not years.
Acquiring Oden would be a major development. But it won’t be easy.
Other teams in the mix include Atlanta, Dallas, New Orleans, Sacramento and San Antonio. Boston, Charlotte, Cleveland, Indiana and Memphis have since fallen away as contenders. That more than one-third of the league has shown interest in Oden speaks volumes not only as to the level of talent he once had, but also to the contributions those in a position to know still believe he may be able to provide. Read more…