The trade deadline has now passed. The waiver deadline for playoff eligibility has now passed.
The Miami Heat created a roster spot by trading away Dexter Pittman, at a cost of a second round draft pick and some cash, and nobody worthy of the spot has shaken free.
What should the Heat do?
Keep it. For now, anyway. Save some money. It is, after all, a nice insurance policy.
Then deploy it at the end of the regular season. Here’s why.
Both the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers have reportedly had a strong interest in signing former Portland Trail Blazer center Greg Oden to a multi-year contract this season. The reason is clear. When healthy, Oden is a game-changing talent who, in his limited minutes thus far as an NBA pro, has made a serious impact down low. And while he’s never intended to play this season, a multi-year contract would have ensured either team his playing services for next season on a low-money contract.
The Heat’s only available multi-year offer would be a two-year minimum salary contract (i.e., the remainder of this season and next). The Cavaliers are still in position to use cap space to offer an up to four year contract staring at roughly $4 million.
Some in South Florida have been skeptical. Some believe the cost and the risk, when combined, are so great as to not justify the potential reward. But here’s the thing: there is no risk. None at all. Read more…
We’re NBA champions.
And we’ve gotten better. It’s a beautiful thing. This Miami Heat team is nearly perfect.
For the third straight season the Heat finds itself in need of a center — one who is both reasonably sized and knows how to rebound a basketball.
While we applaud head coach Erik Spoelstra’s decision to embrace a ‘position-less’ half court offensive philosophy that has Chris Bosh in that role, it is perhaps a less than ideal strategy over the course of a largely meaningless but still very grueling 82-game regular season.
And it’s a strategy not without its risks. Though the strategy (which essentially entails surrounding the Big Three with two wing players rather than a true center) has produced phenomenal results over the past two regular and post seasons, it has been tested over a grand total of just 568 minutes, the equivalent of fewer than 12 games. The Heat has gone all-in on an approach that is still very much unproven.
While ‘position-less’ might be a nice term to throw around, what it really boils down to is an accommodation for the team’s lack of size, and a lack of skill, at the five spot. The approach could prove costly against more physically imposing front lines.
Pat Riley has, at least for now, put his faith in seldom-used third year center Dexter Pittman to fill the void. Riley cemented his belief by choosing to guarantee Pittman’s contract for the upcoming season.
But Pittman isn’t the answer. Neither is Joel Anthony.
So we are left sifting through a slew of uninspiring alternatives.
Darko Milicic. Eddy Curry. Hamed Haddadi. Joel Przybilla. Joey Dorsey. Nazr Mohammed. Ronnie Turiaf. Tony Battie. Etc.
Not one is a difference maker. Read more…
Take a look at that left knee cap
Blazers fans have gotten used to this. Since Kevin Pritchard took over the reigns as general manager six years ago, he has seen his team through some sort of draft-related trade every season. Usually it’s more than one. In 2006, it was six.
Pritchard has a history of aggressively trading up in the draft in an effort to build a deep, talented roster. He has engineered brilliant draft-day deals that have landed players such as Victor Claver and Jeff Pendergraph in 2009, Nicolas Batum and Jerryd Bayless in 2008, Rudy Fernandez in 2007 and Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge and Sergio Rodriguez in 2006.
If all the buzz is true, this year will be no different. Pritchard, who will reportedly be fired immediately after the draft, seems to want to go out with a bang. The Blazers hold the No. 22 and No. 44 picks in the upcoming draft, but are weighing their options in an attempt to move up. The team has reportedly been hunting for a pick in the mid first round — somewhere between No.16 and 19. They appear to be trying to move ahead of the San Antonio Spurs, who hold pick No. 20.
Portland recently signed 36-year old Marcus Camby to a contract extension worth up to $26 million over the next two seasons. The Blazers also stand to get back Joel Przybilla at some point, after he injured his knee in December and missed the rest of the season, then re-injured the same knee in March when he slipped in the shower, which required a second surgery. The oft-injured Greg Oden rounds out the trio of 7-footer centers now has in Portland.
But rumor has it that the Blazers are looking to draft yet another big.
Could this be the end of the Greg Oden era in Portland?
With Marcus Camby’s extension confirmed, have Joel Przybilla and Greg Oden become trade options for the Heat at center?
Perhaps you saw that Marcus Camby signed a two-year, $21-million extension with the Blazers a couple of weeks ago.
This was an important move for Portland that solidifies their post situation for next year and beyond. Even at 36 years old, Camby remains an excellent rebounder (11.8 per game this season, good for second in the league) and shot-blocker (2.0 per game, good for fifth in the league).
But in clarifying their starting center position, some feel it also casts Greg Oden’s future with the team into serious doubt. Three years ago, Portland GM Kevin Pritchard selected him first-overall with any eye towards multiple championships. Now, it looks like he’ll enter next season – a contract year before restricted free agency – on the bench.
So what does this mean for Oden? Camby can’t play a ton of minutes in Portland at his advanced age, but he would likely remain the team’s primary center in all situations. Oden, then, would be forced to compete with Joel Przybilla for any backup minutes he can get. Some teams will likely see fit to treat him like a starter-level talent – when healthy, he still looks pretty impressive.
Moving to a new city might actually be in Oden’s best interests. While he’s struggled with injuries, his career is by no means already defined – the raw talent remains whenever he’s able to get on the floor. In Portland, though, he’ll always remind people that he once held promise as the defining big man of a generation, and that the team could have drafted Kevin Durant. With another franchise, he’d have the opportunity for a new start with more realistic expectations.