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Getting To The Point

Covering the Eastern Conference finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Orlando Magic, and it suddenly hit me. And then it hit me again. And again.

What does the Cavs-Magic series have to do with the Heat? Plenty. Rafer

Especially when you get to the point. Point guard, that is. The veteran variety.

It could be argued that one of the Heat's biggest weaknesses this season was the absence of a proven, veteran, play-making point guard it could bring off the bench or use to challenge rookie Mario Chalmers.

Well, these conference finals, particularly in the East, are essentially a Point-Guards-R-Us outlet center.

And it makes you wonder. Why does every other team in the league seem to have a spare Flip Murray on the roster, yet the Heat goes two seasons without one? Shaun Livingston didn't have the legs. Marcus Banks lacked the skills. And Penny Hardaway - dare we say - didn't have anything left other than pleasant memories of when he used to be somebody in this league.

This Magic-Cavs series is stocked with serviceable, stop-gap type veteran parts at the point that Miami either tried to get and couldn't, parted with too soon or probably should have pursued harder when it had the chance.

Orlando has three of them: Rafer Alston, Anthony Johnson and Tyronn Lue.

Cleveland has one: Mo Williams, who understandably went for the money grab in Milwaukee and turned down Miami as a free agent. He was then dealt to Cleveland.

Anthony carter Denver has one: Anthony Carter.

Even the Lakers can haunt the Heat here: The final piece of the Shaq trade was the pick the Lakers ultimately used to draft Jordan Farmar.

And what do Farmar, Carter, Williams (Heat get a pass here), Alston, Johnson and Lue all have in common? Each would just be the type of backup the Heat so desperately needed this season. Many - if not all of them - would have started for Miami. These cats aren't saviors by any stretch. But they can be short-term, serviceable solutions that Dwyane Wade can trust and respect in the backcourt.

They can also groom Chalmers.

I know. I know. The last time the Heat went for its own Flip, it ended up getting Smush-ed. And burned.

But that was two seasons ago. The scorn should have worn off by now. Smush

It's well past time to address this need. It won't cost much. It won't break the salary cap. It won't send Miami too deep into the luxury tax. It might have, however, sent the Heat a round deeper in the playoffs. So it's worth the investment, isn't it?

After all, the Heat never did have an answer off the bench against the Hawks for Murray, who played a key role in flipping the Heat out of the postseason.

Pat Riley, one of the NBA's ultimate deal-makers, was able to get a second-round draft pick out of the Magic two years ago for releasing Stan Van Gundy from his coaching-turned-consulting contract with the Heat.

In hindsight, Riley probably should have held out for the option to take one of the Magic's 26 veteran backup point guards instead. Filling this void would be one small but significant step toward roster improvement for the 2009-10 season.

Get my point?

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/wallacesports)

Comments

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That is very true. The Heat dont have an explosive point-guard except for Wade at times,and having Chalmers a second round draft pick start every game this year;is saying something. I like Chalmers a lot, and he is a very nice player, who should have a nice proffesional career.On any other team at the beginning of this season he would definitelly not start.Doesnt mean he's not good, but he just wouldn't have gotten the chance. Hopefully he can learn a lot about footwork and on-ball defense than just rely on steals and risks.He needs to improve on his shot a lot as well. Me personally I would want the Heat to get serious, and sign Flip Murray,which Michael Wallace refers to this article. The team is gonna need an offensive threat if we are gonna start Beasley at the 3 0r 4 next season.

Other than Rafer and Moe everyone else mentioned! BLOWS! We need someone who lights up the 3 with wade. Rafer and Damon Jones made big bucks from that.

Luther Head should've been that guy but he got injured. It's unfortunate because he could've defended Flip and hit 3pt shots. Maybe he can come back next year or we could find another veteran point guard to replace him. That's our biggest need for next year.

Rafer isn't going anywhere next year. He indicated he is ok with backing up Jameer Nelson.

Damon Jones is great at the 3 but blows on defense and blows in setting a team up on offense. There is a reason he isn't playing.

Farmar is an option. He is better than Mario Chalmers. Farmar and Phil Jackson have issues so he might be available. The Lakers have Shannon Brown as backup so they might be willing to let Farmar go for cheap.

Farmar's contract is $ 1.9 M for 2010 and a $ 2.8 M qualifying offer for 2011. If he doesn't work out, we don't have to extend the qualifying offer so 2010 flexibility is not affected.

All these players mentioned would have blowed on the Heat. The Heat coaches have a way of turning talent into hot garbage.

Does anyone else remember how excited we were when Anthony Carter's agent forgot to sign the the contract extension? Your saying you want that guy back? HE BLOWS! Give Chalmers time, he'll be one of the best point guards in the league. We just need someone decent to back him up and we'll be fine.

i agree that we need a veteran point guard to tutor mario and help run the offense. i think the heat would be lucky to pick up a cheap veteran point guard this off-season.

but this team is not giving out any multi-year contracts until they re-sign wade. and the best we are gonna get with a one-year contract is a mediocre has-been like bobby jackson or jamaal tinsley. sadly, i think this is our best option right now.

or we can wait until 2010, when every team and their mothers will have cap space to compete for a veteran p.g. i personally think waiting for 2010 is fool's gold. but because of the jermaine contract, the heat will be handcuffed this offseason.

probably we end up with a fred jones type combo-guard that gets everyone excited in the offseason, but then we are calling for a trade by midseason.

really what we need is a floor general who can distribute the ball well. that will keep wade and j.o. from taking bad shots, get beazy involved in the offense more, and create shots for guys like j.jones and daequan.

maybe jason kidd?

We need an experienced veteran to show Chalmers the ropes. He also needs to get much quicker this off season so he can keep up on defense.

And please work on Beasely's "Above the Rim" game too, I'm tired of those finger rolls, dunk the damn ball when you are that close!

Chalmers will be just fine. He will be given the chance to shoot more this next year. He plays with intensity and doesn't hog the ball. What I've seen of Head, I've liked also, let's give him a chance. But I'm always amazed at how hypocritical some fans are. Bring in an older PG (Kidd), play the inexperienced young guys(Chalmers)...Spo will figure it out, and so will Chalmers. But I darn sure don't believe our biggest problem is at the PG position. I'ld start with our interior/post defense. Once you get past Haslem, Big Cat, and Joel Anthony it is very thin defensively down low.

The Heat should resign Luther Head...I think he is the veteran point guard that can groom Rio.....I really would like for us to bring the same group back for one more year...I think that if we were to have JMoon, J.O., and LHead we win the series against Atlanta and take the Cavs to atleast 6 games.........we should not even think about trading Beas because he is going to be a monster.....Lenny

Only Alston and Williams out of that group are any good. Lue? Farmer? They are garbage. Heat need to go after Kidd.

isn't Jamaal Crawford available via trade from warriors? Seen him drop 50 on the heat a few times...he could be Dwade's Mo W..

Should the goal be to make it past the first round of the playoffs and swept in the second? Is that really what we're about?

Neither Chalmers nor any of the PG mentioned are long-term solutions for a legitimate championship run. What the Heat should be doing is going after the blockbuster trade (to create the team's core for the future). If Riley can't get anything done, his focus should then turn to positioning the team for 2010 free agency.

Michael Wallace, you should have mentioned in your article that the heat picked Dorel Wright over Jameer Nelson in the NBA draft. I went nuts at the time when Riley did that. What a bonehead move that was. I think Nelson was college player of the year or something like that, and the heat chose a high school player over a very proven, gutsy college player. This blunder has had huge implications for the heat. I like Dorel and I hope he finally becomes a man
on the court.

The King of what?
By Zak Kertesz,
The Sports Complainer
Written on 5/21/09

---In the dictionary, a King is defined as a male monarch whose hereditary position prompts chief authority over a country and people. In sports, a King is defined as an athlete who is unarguably the best. Well, I’m here to argue that LeBron James is neither. Unless my research has failed me, Bron-bron is not related to King David, his bloodline does not stem to Tutankhamen, and sorry, no, he is not the long lost heir of King James I. So shall we explore another option? Indeed.

Let’s stick with the sole sport of basketball, rather than range the rest of the sporting world which would only further support my dispute. In a sport that only fields five players at a time (per team), a single player has the ability to dictate the ultimate goal in sports, a championship. It is the only team sport in our country (and perhaps Hockey) where one individual can take their team to the promise land. No, not the land of Canaan my fellow Lamechs, I’m talking about winning the NBA finals. Thus, winning a ring surely declares who really is the best, or shall I say, thee King. Give me a second while I google how many NBA Championships the “King” has won…okay, here it is. Are you ready? It’s zero. Zilch. Zip. Nil. Nada. Null. How ever you’d like to say it, he doesn’t have any. So why do we prompt him as the King?

Bill Russell has 11. Eleven! He doesn’t even have enough fingers for all those rings. Shaqopotamus (brought to you by Tony Kornheiser) and Timmy-D each have four. Some dude named Michael Jeffrey Jordan has six (should have been eight...brief retirement). And the “King,” hold on let me check another source just to ensure, yea, he has zero. But all those players are either long gone or past their prime right? And the only guy left to claim the crown is Mr. James right? Wrong! We have two lovely candidates who could surely bid for the title of this era’s divine athlete. Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade, the other elitists (now that’s unarguable) of today’s NBA game.

They have rings. Yes, they both had the Shaqtus (Shaquille came up with that one all by his lonesome), but Dwyane had a HalfaShaq (that one’s all me), and Kobe, no matter the argument, still has three more than LeBron’s, um, zero. But wait, we are in the midst of an incredible playoff stretch for Mr. James, where it seems as if he drops 40 points every time those boot-looking weights that Nike calls sneakers hits the hardwood. And would it surprise me if he did indeed take his team to the holiest of hollies? Actually it would. But would it surprise every other American out there? Absolutely not. So then would he become, shall I dare say it, King? (Ha-ha) Excuse me, that was rude. I meant to say, no. Why, you ask? Kobe, three. And Dwayne Wade still has that one. That one where he averaged 35 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and a block; and yes, that all occurred in the land of Canaan.

Suppose Mr. James does win the title this year, could his performance surpass Wade’s? Doubtful. Could it surpass Kobe’s? Impossible: No, I am not a math major, but I’m pretty sure three is more than one…or should I say zero. Yes, Bron-bron is young and he has time. He is six years younger than Kobe and three years younger than Wade. Wait one moment, allow me to get my calculator: Yes, it’s a fact, LeBron has more time than the both of them to pile up those rings. Certainly, it appears as if he may be the heir to the throne, but the King he is not. The Prince?

too much time on your hands.... LOSER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lmao

i agree, Lebron is the king of nothing except maybe of hype

as for the PG solution, i think Head would fit the bill if he's healthy and given a full year with the Heat. the last thing the Heat needs is a vet with an ego who'll cry for playing behind a sophomore (Chalmers) and ruin a team's chemistry

if the relationship is not broken, maybe the Heat should hire back Gary Payton as an assistant coach to mentor Chalmers. both of them are great steals guys who can shoot from anywhere on the floor. of course Chalmers doesn't have Payton's strength but i think GP can teach him enough tricks to be a future all-star

Hell, Rafer Alston and Keyon Dooling would have been just fine. We could have kept either or both behind Jason Williams in the past seasons. Both would still be servicable today. Plus we would not have needed to entertain Smush Parker and Chris Quinn or Marcus Banks. Financial oversight on our part.

Going over the luxury tax threshold for a backup point-guard is NEVER going to happen.

By going over the tax threshold, not only do you have to pay a penalty, you also forfeit the multi-million luxury bonus received from other tax paying teams (New York, Dallas, Cleveland, etc).

(The Heat actually paid Charlotte to take Shaun Livingston in a trade so that they would make it in under the luxury tax).

To sign a Rafer-Alston-type sounds like it wouldn't be too expensive, but it turns out to be a multi-million dollar decision. Arison has said he will eat the tax for a superstar, but not just to fill out the roster.

We DO need a veteran point-guard, but we WON'T go into the tax penalty to get one.

i like the idea of bringing back luther head. he looked good in his few games with the heat. he seems like a cheap pickup that wouldn't mind playing backup.

i'm on the luther head bandwagon!

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