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Heat Awaits D-day for Dampier

If you listen to the latest sales job by Heat president Pat Riley, his pitch is that Miami will be just fine this Act_erick_dampier season at what arguably is the team's weakest position.

Riley sees a potential oasis where most folks see a pivotal position as stable as quicksand.

Sure, the Heat has about 28 feet of bodies committed to the center spot in the likes of 7-3 Zydrunas Ilgauskas, 6-9 Joel Anthony, 6-11 Jamaal Magloire and 6-10 Dexter Pittman. Each has either unique size or gifts. None is close to being the complete package that would make him the clear-cut anchor at the position.

And that's why Monday is the start of an intriguing period for the Heat. With training camp looming in a matter of days, there could soon be one big man on the market who has enough intangibles to garner a high level of Heat interest. Monday essentially opens the official bidding for the services of Erick Dampier.

Today marks the end of the 60-day period from which Dampier was dealt by Dallas to Charlotte, which can now trade the veteran center and his gold-mine of a $13 million, non-guaranteed contract. Dampier is highly likely to be released by any team that trades for him, meaning he'd end up a free-agent available at a drastically reduced price.

Here's where the Heat comes in, depending on how drastic a reduction Dampier is willing to accept.

Despite four bodies at center, the Heat still has questions at the position. Unfortunately, Riley only has the veteran's minimum of $1.3 million to offer - and Dampier already reportedly has turned down more than that in some preliminary discussions on a new deal with Charlotte.

But this is Miami. And there's known to be mutual interest. In fact, Dampier has already told at least one long-time associate in his Jackson, Miss. hometown that Miami would be at the top of his list if he's released. Dampier's camp also indicated that to the Bobcats, who are convinced he's likely headed for Miami if Charlotte can't find a trade partner.

But the Heat is not in position to trade for him, with only Mario Chalmers and rookies available to send.

Even at this advanced stage of his career, Dampier, 34, is still a productive rebounder and shot-blocker. And he's far from a liability on offense. That combination, alone, would - or should - put him ahead in the pecking order the Heat has right now. Otherwise, the Heat would have to explore the alternative options at center. The ones Riley laid out during his recent conference call previewing the Heat's training camp.

"I can't wait for all of this to sort of work out," Riley said, before lauding Anthony's athleticism and shot-blocking, Big Z's shooting and size and Magloire's rugged defense. "But when people look at the center position, they probably look at those three guys and say, 'It's not good enough.' "

Riley believes Chris Bosh, Juwan Howard and Udonis Haslem - all natural power forwards - have shown enough over their careers to step in and fill some voids at center. Especially from an offensive standpoint. None would - or should - be asked to man the center spot for extended stretches.

"So, I think we probably have more versatility at the center position than, I think, anybody in the league, to manage that position with versatility, with savvy, different kind of players," Riley insisted, before mentioning the Lakers, Celtics and Magic as teams that have a clear edge on Miami in the middle. "But we feel we have enough up front to match up with any of these guys."

At the time of those statements, it was difficult to tell whether Riley was working harder to convince himself or his audience of the Heat's optimism at center - as is. Dampier's arrival - via free agency by way of a trade from Charlotte and/or his subsequent release - would render Riley's reasoning a bit more of a reality.

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)



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Getting Dampier or not will not affect the season in any great way. The Heat's strength will be in Run DLC. The middle and point will be 'adequately' manned and Dwyane, LeBron and Chris will overwhelm the competition wherever they are playing on the floor.

Unfortunatelly when i think of Dampier i think of how he got bullied in the 06 finals by the heat...not a good look

^ How could you say that? What do you mean it wont make a difference on the season. Getting Dampier will make us so much better not because he is that talented, but because he has the size, hands and defensive presence that our main competition will try to exploit on us. Of course we wont run plays for him but that's the beautiful thing because we wont need to. Look at how Dwight struggled against Perkins, it won the Boston Celtics the series. In the playoffs everything matter. To get him cutting Magloire or Howard would need to be done. We definitely could use his size for sure.

Craig, it will not affect the regular season much, but it will be VERY important in the post season. All players misses shots. Wade and LeBron are two of the best players in the league but they shoot less than 50%, bosh is like 55%. That means there will be lots of missed shots. If we cannot get any rebounds or put backs against the Lakers or Celtics, then how can we win? Usually the team with the most rebounds and second chances wins the series. With our kind of talent we dont need to win the rebound battle, but we do need to have some rebounds and the some a decent presence in the paint

Didn't the Heat already win it this year?

Why do people keep thinking we are going to cut howard/maglore? That's not happening, if anything big boy Pittman will be sent to the d-league where he belongs...

Time will tell, Pippen and Jordan won with Cartwright/Longley& Wennnington, BJW will spread the floor and can have similar success with any of the available centers...I like the fact that we can have Udonis on the weak side, lb 4 lb/" by "the best rebounder in the league in recent history. The Lakers will be tough inside regardless but we will spread the floor the way the Suns did at one point with KJ/Barkley/Majerle...oops they never won a championship

please don,t mention us meaning the heat with the fat ass name barkley he never won nothing

i doubt we cut a vet cuz riley wouldn't want to screw them over like that. he's a class guy

Funny how during free agent period any team that would have gotten the service of each of the Miami Thrice and that team would have been considered to be a serious contender. ANd now fast forward to September just a few weeks out of the season opener and while the HEAT landed all three big superstars (WADE, Bosh and LB James) now every other NBA team is suddenly worried about the PG and the Center positions of this team. HAHAHAHAHA! Its just like looking at Monalisa and saying that the shading used on the eyes part are a little too light. I cant wait to look at the other NBA teams faces when the P.A. announcers start calling James, Bosh and Wade in succession during a game night, then is when I want to hear them say that this HEAT team needs a better option in guard or center?

Please sign up Dampier and get rid of Magloire,Anthony, Randolph, James jones, and Aroyo who are all less than 3rd class NBA players. Look at Celtics and Lakers; they have some excellent players on their bench: Robinson , Oneals,Etc..A contenter team can not have Anthony as a starter.

Anthony is pretty good and has been steadily improving his arm length is what sets his blocking skills apart from others. He might be one of the best blocking C in the game right now

Signing Joel to anything more that the minimum is a mistake. He stinks. He stinks on ice.

He had a 10.2 PER last year, good for the 46th best center ... 46th!!! He picks up 1 rebound every 5+ minutes. Talk about wasted space. Dampier is far better than Joel. 24th on the PER list for centers who played 20 games or more last year.

Can't believe that Riley would consider a no-talent player, like Dampier. He can't shoot, can't rebound, is not a shot blocker, can't pass and can't guard a soul. Yet, someone had the nerve to pay this guy 13 mil. for a season. Unbelievable. He's wasted space.

For the life of me I don't understand why no one is considering Earl Barron recently of the Knicks, who filled in nicely for the latter quarter of the season and who is a free agent. He is 6'11 or 7'0 "can shoot", a premium in a League rife with centers lacking that ability and can give you boards. He's active around the glass and knows how to pass. Why waste a trade and a camp invite to a useless player like Dampier, including resigning Magliore, who is merely a hatchet man, and consider filling the center slot with a player (Barron), who has abilities that can make the Heat significant in the post, for what it has now is not very good. Ilgaukus is simply a set shot shooter, no defensive presence and Anthony is too small at 6'9. I'd keep Pittman for size and youth. Ilguakus, Pittman and Barron is a nice stable of centers that would make the Heat significant for this championship run. Magliore and Anthony should go or retain Anthony as backup power forward help. Dampier......please.

Joel is way more of an impact player. 6"9 yea but his wingspan is over 7"0 dude is aa block machine. His PER on that list means nothing at all he played 1200 min or something like that as the 5th option. plz stop looking solely at numbers. They don't accurately portray the player at all. Anthony is our best C w Z close behind then Pittman Dampier might fit in after Z

If we can get a lil bit taller and more skilled at the center spot by adding him then go for it. 6 pts and 7 Rbs for the minimum dam show won't hurt a team.



Pretty simple choice for Dampier...go on tour with Bobby Brown or The Beatles.

His PER on that list means nothing at all he played 1200 min or something like that as the 5th option. plz stop looking solely at numbers. They don't accurately portray the player at all. Anthony is our best C w Z close behind then Pittman Dampier might fit in after Z

Posted by: beerphin | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 02:54 AM

- PER is a per minute rating. Your 1200 min comment only reinforces Joel's poor abilities since he rarely plays when he is fatigued, plus he doesn't have to worry about fouling out when going after the blocks.

- I don't look solely at numbers. I watch the game and read stats, and then form an opinion. I generally like to back up my comments qualitatively and quantitatively (except for the occasional rants).

- With respect to your comment of Anthony being our best C, please prove it. I try to be open minded. I'm willing to consider it, as long as you can provide qualitative and quantitative proof.

- If you're just ranting, no problem. I do it once in awhile. But I still thinks Joel stinks on ice.

The Heat are just fine at the center position. We got 4 bodies there which means 24 fouls at the minimum against the Lakers and Majic. Not impressed by Boston's big men cause Shaq is too old and perkins is not that good and now he is coming off an injury. The Heat have big body bangers with Pittman and Magloire....those are some strong boys down there in the paint...if they get beat they should just foul them hard to prevent any easy shots. Big Z is the shooter and the tallest of the bunch. And Joel is the shortest but sets the best screens and is a fierce shot blocker. They have more than enough to compete at center. I think you will see Pittman develop into being a pretty good center too with some time, he has good skills for a big man and the Heat have been known to develop some big men like Ike Austin and Matt Geiger.

Dampier waived.

Hi everybody im new to dis i was on hawksbut now im hear

get damp now! clean some trash and you'll find the money, Z, cat, joe j and chalmers should go

I think Boston's Center off season acquisitions are being overstated. We know Perkins is a solid center who is improving but Shaq is not the dominating shaq that everyone feared, so even off the bench, he won't contribute to maybe more than 10 pts per game and maybe grab 11 rebounds. While J.O had a better than expected regular season, having flashes of the J.O of the past, he did not show up during the playoffs which is supposedly when the game changes. Boston does not have Wallace anymore so there went the 7'0 who shot 3s off the bench.

Personally I also like Arroyo at PG. No he isn't fast and defense is suspect, but he knows how to run the offense. He averaged almost a 4:1 assist to T.O ratio last year and his only reliable target was Wade. How many more assists do u think he'll make per T.O now that he has a lot more targets more capable of scoring points.

The defense will take care of itself because the system works. Miami has always been a statistically Top 10 defensive team during Riley's stay, however, many of those years, they didn't have the offensive talent that they have this year. I think that just as Jordan learned how to play against post season defenses before breaking through and winning championships, it will be same with Lebron. Remember it was only 3 years ago that he was in the finals against the Spurs.

One last thing, remember during the 2006 finals, in game 3, wade had enough and just stepped it up a few notches. Everyone else did too, stepping up, hitting jumpers and making stops. James is just a natural freak of nature talent wise playing the game, but if he sees wade stepping it up come the post season, i'd be willing to bet that James is going to step it up as well. I don't care, James is the supposed biggest star on the team and most people say he is the better player because of his size and strength, but this is still Wade's team because of 2006.

Gee, more handouts....shocker.

Is Obama based out of Miami now or something?

Remember what happen to Celtic the fakers wow the tittle cause Celticn were not right in the final everyone got sick. the Heat need to play this safe. Dont play the stater too much rotate alot.Come playoff time them that when it count. we don't need anyone playing 40 minute a game plase be smart.Riley be smart.go heat 2011

These information helps me consider some useful things, keep up the good work.

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