The clock is ticking. Within a week, the first decisions for next season need to be made.
By June 29, there will have to be resolution with the four players on the roster with options for the 2013-14 season.
Of those decisions, only one is at the Heat’s discretion, the third and final year on Mario Chalmers’ contract. It is a $4 million team option. It almost assuredly will be picked up, a bargain price for an NBA starting point guard.
Three other options are out of the Heat’s control – player options held by guard Ray Allen and forwards James Jones and Rashard Lewis.
Allen has been silent on the issue of his $3.2 million option. But having hit the most iconic shot of the 2013 playoffs – and perhaps the single biggest field goal in Miami Heat history – resulting in his second NBA title, he is surely rejuvenated and excited to return. Lewis and Jones have each already expressed their excitement in returning with varying levels of certainty.
This is a happy team. It is a back-to-back NBA champion. It is the prohibitive favorite to get a third consecutive. Why would anyone choose to leave?
All four are likely to return.
But, for Lewis and Jones – who are playing at or near the minimum salary – there is a deeper story here. With the Heat in a financial crunch and attempting to keep its core together, the Heat and salary cap guru Andy Elisburg need to get creative. They have a golden opportunity to save as much as $3.1 million next season, and they should pounce. Read more…
Since the start of the Big Three era, Pat Riley has scrounged the bottom of the free agent barrel and picked up a slew of uninspiring big men in an attempt to fill a perceived hole in his team’s rotation.
The sad list includes Eddy Curry, Erick Dampier, Jamaal Magloire, Joel Anthony, Mickell Gladness, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Even Udonis Haslem and Juwan Howard have been miscast in the role.
Not one has worked out nearly as well at center as Chris Bosh.
During its championship run, the Heat finally found a definitive solution to its problem at center: don’t play one at all. With Bosh starting at the 5, the Heat plowed through the Thunder en route to its first title of the Big Three era, as the unconventional lineups created mismatches on both ends of the floor.
Head coach Erik Spoelstra calls the approach ‘position-less’ basketball. The idea is to have as many versatile players on the court as possible, each capable of contributing to the offense and defending multiple positions. It’s a system predicated on floor spacing and ball movement. In many ways, the Heat is uniquely positioned to exploit such a strategy – few other teams can get away with playing multiple players out of position because they would get crushed on the boards. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are probably the best rebounders at their positions in the league; this keeps the Heat in the battle.
The Heat believe they have found a permanent formula in their ‘position-less’ basketball scheme. And so today, on the first day free agents are allowed to sign, the Heat avoided the temptation to sign yet another uninspiring center. Instead, the team made official the signings of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis! Read more…