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Posts Tagged ‘Joel Anthony’

The Anatomy of a Spectacular Miami Heat Failure

June 15th, 2014 4 comments

The Miami Heat’s bid for basketball immortality – four straight NBA Finals appearances and three straight NBA titles, a feat which has only been accomplished once in league history – has fallen spectacularly short. In the wake of this colossal failure, we’re all left wondering how it all went so wrong so quickly – how our team ended up looking so old, so slow, so flawed, so unable to adapt, so unable to defend.

Is it an organizational philosophy that failed us?

“I don’t think you win championships with young, athletic players that don’t have experience. I think we’ve learned over the years that building with young players is very frustrating.”

That was Pat Riley in June 2011, describing his aversion to developing youthful talent.

It is a philosophy that he has expressed many different times in many different ways over the years. It is a philosophy that has permeated his every decision in preparation for and during the Big Three era. It is a philosophy upon which the Stepien-like decisions to surrender a whopping six future first round draft picks in a period of less than five months from February to July 2010 were predicated. It is a philosophy upon which the decision to constantly fill the roster with post-dated bench-warming veterans was predicated.

It was a philosophy which, initially, didn’t bother us. We were all so captivated by the moment. Riley had a plan. He executed upon it with deadly precision. He got the big things so right that it didn’t matter how he handled the little things. In Riley we trusted.

The winning that followed only validated that ideology.

But, quietly, things weren’t as wonderful as they appeared. In the wake of the signings of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh in the summer of the 2010, the front office lost sight of its need to build for the future. Everything was always only about the moment.

Some of us couldn’t help but wonder. If your mission is to win as many titles as possible while the Big Three are still in their primes, then wouldn’t you like to have some upside around? Some players who will be getting better with time? Some players who can keep the energy level high when the stars need to rest?

Riley has always had a clear affinity for the seasoned veteran versus the inexperienced rookie. He’d rather have the sure thing than the potential next big thing. But as much as these veterans are low risks to make stupid, rookie-type decisions, none will break free off the dribble in crunch time or make that key defensive stop and then sprint up the floor for a breakaway jam – they’re zero risks to become more athletic, to develop new parts of their games, or to be usable as trade bait should the need arise.  Read more…

Miami Heat Trade Joel Anthony in Three-Team Deal

January 15th, 2014 No comments

The Miami Heat have traded center Joel Anthony to the Boston Celtics, as part of a three-team deal, in exchange for guard Toney Douglas from the Golden State Warriors.

The Heat also sent the Celtics $1 million in cash and a pair of draft picks to complete the deal: A 2016 second-round pick and a lottery protected first-round pick originally acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers that will become a pair of second-rounders in 2015 and 2016 if the Sixers fail to make the playoffs this season and next.

The trade isn’t about Joel Anthony and isn’t about Toney Douglas.

It’s also not about Greg Oden, who appears to be on the verge of moving into the Heat’s rotation, or about Andrew Bynum, and how money freed up from today’s trade might make such a signing more financially palatable.

The trade is, more than anything else, a continuing recognition that the harshest elements of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will take its toll on how the Heat do business.

This past summer, it was the amnesty release of Mike Miller. Then it was declining to utilize the mid-level exception. Now it’s moving Anthony’s untenable contract off the books, a move, when accounting for his 2014-15 salary will save the Heat at least $20 million.  Read more…

Miami Heat Are Talking Trade, But With Limited Assets to Offer

December 7th, 2013 4 comments

Dwyane Wade has already missed five of the Miami Heat’s first twenty games this season.

The Heat have a lot of legitimate concerns over the health of Wade – he hasn’t been healthy, really, in any of the last three postseasons; he is still recovering from offseason OssaTron treatments to deal with tendinitis in both of his knees, long after the typical recovery timeframe for such procedures; he is in the early stages of a season-long maintenance program designed to treat and preserve his troublesome knees; and they have no good indication of how his thirty-something body will hold up over the rigors of an eight-month NBA season.

They also understand that flipping one of the team’s centerpiece performers in and out of what has become a flotsam of rotations is sending the Heat into a rhythmic chaos.

The Heat over the last two seasons reinvented themselves as a small-ball scoring machine built upon killer shooting, intricate motion offense, and a furious trapping defense. Battier spotted up for 3s and guarded power forwards so LeBron wouldn’t have to, Bosh stretched his range, the read-and-react playbook expanded, and Miami became unguardable.

Now they’re scrambling to maintain any semblance of consistency. They have just a single reserve shooting guard, Ray Allen, on the whole of the roster. Coach Erik Spoelstra has compensated for uncertainty on the perimeter by playing Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers together more, an ultra-small look that could prove untenable as time marches on. LeBron James has played about as many minutes without Wade this season as with him.

The Heat, simply, has no continuity. And so, with no clear alternative, the Heat have initiated trade talks seeking backcourt help.  Read more…

Joel Anthony Trade Would Make Financial Sense

July 29th, 2013 2 comments

The speculation surrounding the fate of Greg Oden is intensifying.

One microfracture surgery is usually enough to scare most teams off, let alone three in less than five years. But the former No. 1 pick is not short of suitors as he attempts his latest comeback.

The 25-year-old worked out for Miami, San Antonio, New Orleans, Atlanta, and Sacramento in Indianapolis last week. He reportedly looked “lean” and moved “quite well.”

Teams will be asked to make formal offers early this week.

Oden is thought to be favoring Miami and New Orleans. New Orleans can offer as much as the $2.474 million remaining of its Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level exception. The Heat can offer up to the $3.183 million Taxpayer Mid-Level exception.

Miami would love to get him for the minimum, but they may be required to match a potential Pelicans bid. In Miami’s case, the actual cost would be much more than for the Pelicans. A $2.474 million offer would cost the Heat $8.659 million when considering the tax.

New Orleans could further attempt to out-muscle Miami by offering a guaranteed two-year contract. It would be a calculated gamble for the Pelicans, at a total cost of $5 million. For the Heat, the addition of a second year at those levels would cost, at the very least, another $10 million under the current construct. That’s two years and roughly $19 million.

That’s a lot for Miami to spend on a man who has thus far only ever proven that he is very tall, that he is very talented, and that his body has been unable to withstand the rigors of NBA play. There’s simply no way the Heat is going to offer it up without some key protections — among them that their obligations be reduced in the event of re-injury and that Oden be unable to opt out after just one season. But even if they do get those protections, even if they do offer up the contract, even if Oden does accept, and even if he does prove healthy, it’s still monumentally expensive for an owner trying desperately to keep his team together.

The more likely scenario for the Heat is a one year minimum salary offer. But, even still, the Heat’s team salary would reach an all-time record $107 million.

There is one clear way in which to lower the team’s total cost no matter what type of contract the Heat offer – trade Joel Anthony.  Read more…

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Miami Heat Should Pursue Chris Kaman

July 7th, 2013 No comments

Update (07/08/13): Chris Kaman has agreed to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. This could wind up being a huge blown opportunity. The Heat keep frustrating me because they keep having chances to end their big man problem (Andray Blatche, Nikola Vucevic) but refuse to do so. 

Chris Kaman is apparently available for the mini mid-level exception. Interested?

Several NBA teams have expressed interest in the true seven-foot center, some with significant cap room, but Kaman and the Los Angeles Lakers are said to have a “growing mutual interest.”

The Lakers will have a team salary well in excess of the luxury tax threshold next season and, according to salary cap rules, can therefore only offer the smaller mid-level exception – the same one available to the Miami Heat.

For the Heat, and owner Micky Arison, this could be a true test. Mike Miller is all but gone via the amnesty waiver provision, an unfortunate victim of the realities of a new collective bargaining agreement seemingly designed to break this team apart. The question now becomes: Will the Heat redeploy (at least a portion of) the savings to fill an unquestioned need, or will they pocket it?

The Heat is coming off its most dominant regular season ever, racking up its highest win total ever in the process (66), but its lack of size became a huge issue in the playoffs, against the frontcourts of the Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs. The Heat has a tendency to make average centers look like All-Stars, and All-Stars look like much younger versions of their Hall-of-Fame selves.

While the team has openly embraced the small-ball philosophy that has garnered it two straight NBA titles, don’t let that confuse you. It is a philosophy born out of necessity; the Heat’s roster has essentially dictated the approach. For as much as Pat Riley has extolled the virtues of a position-less basketball system, he would surely (and has “feverishly” tried to) end its existence, if only he could find someone to adequately fill the role.

It seems ironic, then, that the man who could potentially do so, if only the Heat were to register an interest, nearly became the face of the franchise a decade ago. Riley nearly drafted Kaman with the fifth overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, before being forcibly restrained by his scouting staff from screaming his name into the microphone on draft day. The Heat wound up selecting Marquette guard Dwyane Wade, while Kaman was selected by the Los Angeles Clippers with the No. 6 pick.

After eight years with the Clippers, highlighted by an All-Star 2009-10 campaign, Kaman has sort of flittered around the league for the last couple of seasons – spending one forgettable year in New Orleans after serving as a cog in the Chris Paul trade, followed by another forgettable year in Dallas dealing with a lack of playing time. But don’t let that fool you into diminishing the weight of his talent. His value belies his perception.  Read more…

For the Heat, Amnesty is a Big-Money Decision

July 6th, 2013 No comments

This post is an elaboration of a June 23 post regarding the fate of Mike Miller. It details the calculations supporting the conclusions that were drawn — that, despite public comments by Pat Riley to the contrary, Mike Miller will be amnestied — so that readers can appreciate the complexity of the situation and decide for themselves the appropriate course of action. 

Wednesday is a key day in the NBA.

It’s the league’s equivalent of National Signing Day – the day in which new contracts can be signed and trades can be executed. After more than a week of furtive negotiating, non-binding agreement, and heart-palpitating waiting, everything becomes official.

It’s also the start of the amnesty waiver window, a seven-day period that this year runs from July 10 to July 16, when eligible teams may designate eligible players for amnesty release.

Amnesty was added to the Collective Bargaining Agreement that ended the 2011 lockout. Because of the new, far more onerous luxury tax consequences that will be fazed in starting next season, teams have been allowed to designate one player for waiver in a manner such that his remaining salary would not count against the salary cap and luxury tax. While amnesty eases salary-cap and luxury-tax concerns, teams still have to pay out the player’s remaining salary, including any remaining option years.

Teams are only allowed to make such designations each offseason during a one-week window starting the day after the moratorium ends. When that happens, all other teams are immediately notified by the league. They are then allowed place a claim in order to acquire the amnestied player, but only if they have the necessary cap space to do so. Teams can make either a full or partial waiver claim.

When a team makes a full waiver claim it acquires the player, assumes his full contract, and pays all remaining salary obligations; the waiving team has no further salary obligation to the player. A partial waiver claim is a bid for a single dollar amount. If no team makes a full waiver claim, the player is awarded to the team submitting the highest bid in a partial waiver claim; the amount of the partial waiver claim is then subtracted from the waiving team’s continuing obligations to their amnestied player. The minimum possible bid a team can make is the minimum salary applicable to the player for all remaining guaranteed seasons of his contract.

Fifteen of the league’s 30 teams have already utilized their amnesty provision in previous seasons. An additional one has no remaining players who qualify for amnesty.

Which brings us to the Heat, one of the remaining 14 teams yet to act.  Read more…

Everything is Done: How Did It All Happen?

July 17th, 2010 5 comments

The Miami Heat finished last season with 16 players under contract and a team salary far in excess of the salary cap. They then created enough salary cap room to sign everyone who is on the roster today. Now they are far in excess of the salary cap once again.

So how did it all happen? How did they manage to get so far below the salary cap and then above it again all in the same season? With creative financing!

Everything has now been finalized. It’s done. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown.

(Note: The actions below, in some cases, may be out of order. They have been structured so as to make evident the Heat’s thought process along the way, as well as to promote ease of reader comprehension. Full comprehension also requires an understanding of cap holds and roster charges, which are described in detail here.)

This is a snapshot of the Heat’s salary cap situation at the end of last season:

Read more…

Heat signs Joel Anthony and Dexter Pittman

July 16th, 2010 9 comments

One hour ago, the Miami Heat did not have a single center on its roster. Now it has two.

Joel Anthony and Dexter Pittman have each signed contracts.

Joel Anthony

Anthony, soon to be 28 years old, has accepted a five-year, $18.25 million deal.

He will add value to the organization as a defensive and shot-blocking specialist. But the deal is too rich, and far too long.

Anthony is a 6-foot, 9-inch power forward playing out of position at center against a league of giants due to extreme offensive deficiencies. He is perhaps the single worst offensive player in game today. His inability to catch the basketball invites double teams toward his more talented teammates. When he does catch it, he’s often utterly confused as to what to do with it. When he’s on the floor, the Heat effectively plays offense four-against-five.

Even more troubling is how shockingly poor he is at rebounding. He seems to lack both the instincts for finding the ball and the coordination to grab it when comes his way. Oftentimes, any value he creates on the defensive end is entirely offset by his inability to capitalize on it by grabbing a rebound.

If you’re a wildly undersized center who can’t play offense and can’t rebound the basketball, it’s difficult to justify a contract greater than the minimum salary.

Read more…

Heat Extends Qualifying Offer to Joel Anthony

June 29th, 2010 6 comments

As expected, the Miami Heat has extended a qualifying offer to backup center Joel Anthony.

The move allows the Heat to match any outside offer for the restricted free agent, but also ties up an additional $1,060,120 against the Heat’s salary cap. The Heat will enter the off-season with salary obligations to four players (Beasley, Chalmers, Jones’ buyout and Anthony), in the amount of $8,376,749.

A qualifying offer is essentially a contract offer, which prevents the Heat from not offering Joel a contract and waiting to swoop in when he tries to sign elsewhere. It counts against the Heat’s salary cap as soon as it is offered. The Heat could withdraw its outstanding qualifying offer at any time, in which case Anthony would become an unrestricted free agent. The qualifying offer cannot be withdrawn after July 23 without the player’s consent.

Should the qualifying offer be withdrawn on or before July 23, the Heat would continue to hold Bird rights on the third year player, and he would continue to be charged against the cap at a reduced $854,389. Because Miami would retain his Bird rights, it would be able to utilize all of its cap room on other players and then come back to Joel. At that point, Miami would be able exceed the cap to offer Joel whatever salary he wants – all the way up to a maximum contract for a player with less than seven years of experience. If the Heat preferred to utilize the cap space elsewhere, Anthony would need to be renounced and his Bird rights lost.

If the qualifying offer were to be withdrawn after July 23, which would require mutual consent, Joel would be automatically renounced and the Heat would lose its Bird rights on the player.

While the qualifying offer remains outstanding, Joel has the right to accept it at any time in lieu of continuing to test the free agent market. Read more…

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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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