Important Dates: July 1st to 10th, Moratorium period. July 11th, Players may begin to sign with Teams.
On this Draft Night, the Miami Heat (According to Pat Riley) had a very specific list of players they were going to consider at the #27 spot and had a deal in place from the start to move their pick if the players they targeted were not there. I got a strong indication that the player that the Heat most coveted was John Jenkins of Vanderbilt. A sweet shooting guard with strength to guard smaller forwards and the size to overpower the average NBA back court player. Once Jenkins went to the Atlanta Hawks at #23, the Heat then turned their focus toward gaining value from the pick at #27. They did that by taking Arnett Moultrie of Miss. State, flipping him to the Philadelphia 76ers for a second round pick and future first rounder that will likely be cashed in next year, at a much higher slot than the one they gave up. This was a very good asset building move.
With the 45th pick they gained from Philly, the Heat took Justin Hamilton from LSU, a 7 footer with a decent mid range game. Hamilton is in need of seasoning, and strength training. His summer league play will dictate whether he has a chance to hold one of the final 2 spots on the roster. In my opinion, what the Heat is going to do is store him overseas, since 7 footers offer more value as an asset. Their scouting indicates he is capable, but is in need of further development which he will get with a European squad.
The Heat has a set roster for all intents and purposes. The only decision they have to make is to pickup an option on Dexter Pittman’s contract, which they will. Ronny Turiaf will likely opt in for another year, and that pretty much rounds out the power rotation (UPDATE: Turiaf has since opted for Free Agency). There will be 2 and at most 3 roster spots available for developmental players and Free Agents. The Heat goes into this Free Agent Period looking for scoring off the bench and hoping that a couple of players can shake loose.
Heat Free Agent Targets:
Ray Allen-Guard (36 years old) 6′-5″, 205 lbs. : Ray Allen is the name that is getting talked about most, and there is also a history between him and the Heat (A theme). The Heat had already recruited him in the Summer of 2010, at the urging of Lebron James. Dwyane Wade has a lot of respect for his game and has made it known to Pat Riley that he is a favorite of his. Ray Allen’s ankle injury was a wear and tear type that comes with use and age. A “clean up” is in order and a return to full health is expected. Allen keeps himself in such good shape that he can be an effective player going forward, and especially in the Heat’s system that will not ask of him what Boston does.
Lamar Odom-Forward (32 years old) 6′-10″, 230 lbs.: At the time of this writing, Odom is rumored to be on his way to the Los Angeles Clippers as part of a three way deal. I had strong indications that the Miami Heat would have put on a full court press to land Lamar Odom had he made it to the Friday buyout deadline. It seems that Dallas will avert this situation by pulling off this deal that finds Mo Williams going to the Utah Jazz and picking up his player option. This is a disappointing development for the Heat’s front office, as Odom is a favorite of theirs.
Jason Terry-Guard (34 years old) 6′-2″, 180 lbs.: Jason Terry is still one of the best second unit players int eh NBA, and still possesses a knack for efficient play in the clutch against the very best opponents. His level of play elevates as the opponents get better, which suggests a veteran, expert in pacing himself during an NBA season. Terry keeps in very good shape and is remarkably durable. If a team is looking for second unit scoring, no free agent fits the bill better than Terry. There has been indications that Terry is not adverse to joining the Heat with his earlier comments this season.
Shannon Brown-Guard (26 years old) 6′-4″, 210 lbs.: Shannon Brown might be the most attractive of the longer term options, as Brown possesses a lot of offensive attributes that the Heat seeks, as well as adding to the Heat’s collection of highlight plays on the break. An underrated defender, with extreme athleticism, Shannon Brown has quietly improved his offensive game each and every year. A Darkhorse for the Mini-Mid Level.
Those are the players the Heat is actively targeting, but there are a few that are intriguing options, that add flexibility to the Heat roster:
PF: Elton Brand (UFA, but has early termination option, In my opinion offers the best value as a PF to play alongside Chris Bosh)
PF/C: Marreese Speights (RFA, worth a look into shaking him loose of the Memphis Grizzlies)
F: Steve Novak (UFA, likely to be retained, One dimensional, but he has an exceptional skill, must be explored)
PG: Andre Miller (Not a likely option, but as a second unit PG, you can’t do much better. I do not expect the Heat to stunt the growth of Norris Cole however, and Dre’ offers little flexibility as a spot up shooter.)
C: Chris Kaman (An enigma, but very skilled. He is a poor fit in the Heat’s help defense, and looks better to the NBA 2k crowd than it does to those in the Heat’s Front Office. Poor fit.)
C: Marcus Camby (Still effective as a rebounder and defender, you can’t do much better as a spot Big to round out your power rotation. Camby can contribute to a contender.)