« Mid-level Happy Medium | Main | Heat's In-House Approach »

Pat on the ('09) Prowl

You really didn't think Riley was going to stand pat, did you?

The woe-is-me, wait-and-see approach isn't really his thing. It just isn't. He admitted as much during a Ron Artest recent meeting in his office at AmericanAirlines Arena.

No, the Heat isn't in financial position to be big spenders - or middle-class spenders, for that matter - in this summer's free agent market. But Riley's best work is often done on the recruiting trail and making moves where they don't seem to exist.

Amid several calls that have gone out the past two days to free agents have been two placed directly to Ron Artest (pictured right) and Allen Iverson. The Heat hasn't centered its focus on those two players by any stretch. An all talks are in the preliminary, exploratory, meet-and-greet stages. 

But the fact that Riley is swinging for the fences - or even bunting amid a financial squeeze - suggests two things: The Heat is being far more aggressive on the free-agent/trade front this summer than it suggested. And that could also mean another thing: That it wants to be in position to pounce on a blockbuster deal if Dwyane Wade in fact signs that extension this summer when he's eligible on July 12.

But even if Wade doesn't sign, the Heat still needs to make a move or two to upgrade a roster that relied so heavily on youth last season. Even if Michael Beasley, Mario Chalmers and Daequan Cook improve, and Jermaine O'Neal and James Jones are healthy, and Wade picks up where he left off last season, the Heat might still be the No. 5 seed in the East - as is. At best.

Iverson-Action From a check of league sources Thursday, there is certainly mutual interest between the Heat and both Iverson (pictured left) and Artest. The Heat has been after these two before. But this may be the easiest path Riley has ever had to either one of them. Both are on the open market. Iverson can come  with no strings attached - aside from a potential luxury-tax hit - if he's willing to sacrifice a couple million and a year on a contract. Artest will likely require sign-and-trade help, because Houston would be foolish to let him walk away without getting anything back.

Yes, there are still Chris Bosh dreams and Amare Stoudemire potential realities out there for Miami, which is still operating to maintain flexibility for 2010 in the event Wade doesn't extend and opts for free agency. But the Heat is active on the free-agency front, the sign-and-trade front and the improve the roster now front.

That Don't-Spend-Till-2010 mantra now seems to coincide with a Find-Something-In-2009 option.

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


Team Stats

» View more stats



Powered by TypePad