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10 posts from January 2008

Thursday, January 31, 2008

If no space...

First, it sucks that it's January and all there is to talk about of interest, really, is
the trades or offseason moves the Heat can make.
But that being the case, was thinking what would be available or likely if the Heat doesn't make a significant move and gets under the salary cap for this offseason.
Other than the draft-day addition, what quality players could be added with the salary cap exceptions?
I sifted through a few and figured some of these guys would be reasonable...
-Josh Childress with the mid-level: He's restricted, but the Hawks have enough wings they're financially committed to, so they probably wouldn't match a deal starting at the full mid-level. He's a nice player who falls below the radar, but he's efficient (shooting 56 percent), athletic and tall (6-8) for a perfect small forward build, can hit the three when open (career 35 percent from distance, even with the funky release) and he rebounds (five-plus in 30 min. a game).
-Antoine Wright with part of the mid-level: He's only 23 and could come into his own on a team without Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter. He's 6-7 and maybe a little more athletic than Childress, but not as smart or efficient.
-Chris Duhon at the lower level exception: Solid, heady point guard who can hit open threes.
-Carlos Arroyo with part of the mid-level: He might have to take a pay cut from the $4 mil he's making now, but not sure if anyone will give him a full mid-level. Plus, he played at FIU, so maybe he comes home knowing he'll be a starter.
-Delonte West at the lower level: Not sure if he's a real point guard, but he can knock down open shots and create off the dribble when he has to. Plus, he's lefty, which is always a bonus.
-Ime Udoka with the lower level: Strong, versatile defender and good open three-point shooter.
-Juan Dixon at the minimum: A decent backup who might be lured by consistent minutes again.
-Roger Mason at the minimum: Hey, he can shoot and has three 20-plus point games for the Wizards this year.
I'm sure I'm missing some guys, but just a few that jumped out at me. And just to be clear, obviously I'm not talking about getting ALL these guys, just mentioning some options.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

That's more like it

Seriously, how can you not root against that effort the Heat put out there against the Celtics?
Anybody who appreciates basketball should be offended with what they saw. Seriously -- and I'm being serious here -- you'll see better defense if you come to my Monday night pick-up games than what you saw from the Heat in the first half.
It's amazing how James Posey can get in position to take a charge in a split second's time, leaving his man entirely to commit to taking the hit, while on the other end of the floor Rajon Rondo starts his drive at damn near halfcourt, and he finds absolutely no resistance until he's about three inches from the basket. I mean, that's just EMBARRASSING, and anyone participating in that debacle should be embarrassed.
It was clear Dwyane was fed up with some of the stuff he was witnessing, like Earl Barron trying to take three Celtics off dribble and, predictably, getting stripped rather than giving up the ball to an open teammate. That open teammate happened to be Dwyane Wade, who is a fairly decent option.
While watching that "game" I pretty much decided I'm going to purchase the ESPN Gameplan so I can watch as many Kansas State and Memphis games as I can. You know, try to get the early scouting report on potential Heat rookies.
(On a side note, whatever happened to DJ Irie at games? First we get fill-ins like some guy named M-Dot, and now we get Dale, mayor of Uptown, doing all the talking? What the hell?!?!? I thought he was the No. 1 DJ in the NBA.)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Careful, now

One win doesn't exactly mean the Heat is going to start rolling, but if the team isn't careful, it might ruin a perfectly good thing.
Couldn't help but notice that on the Sportscenter highlights they showed the records of the worst teams in the league, and the Heat is flirting with falling out of the bottom three. A win here or there and all of sudden the Heat will have to get lucky to get a top-two draft pick as opposed to having to be unlucky to fall out of one of those spots. And, to me, the two immediate impact players in the draft are Beasley and Rose, and they'll most likely go 1-2.
Yes, that's what this season has come to. At least at this point it has. And there's nothing wrong with playing exciting, close games with Dwyane going nuts in every fourth quarter -- as long as it comes with a loss. Because it'll mean more wins next year.
8 1/2 games out of the final playoff spot? Yikes the East is bad.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Shut-down time?

So, Shaq is going to have an MRI on Tuesday to check the extent of damage to his body. That sounds like an opportunity to close up shop if I've ever heard one. If for nothing else, he should keep himself out until after the All-Star break to avoid facing the idea of him not making the All-Star game anyway.
And how many more games will Dwyane play like Monday, when he was all the team had for an entire half? I doubt he'll put himself through that for much longer after the All-Star break.
And by then, Riley will probably have made moves that officially make this year an afterthought, so why not start shutting it down.
At least Riley recognizes there's nothing more he can do with this roster as is.
This from the coach after shootaround on Monday:
I've tinkered like Tinkerbell's ever tinkered. I've sprinkled more stardust around this team with players and given them opportunities than I ever have. So there isn't anybody on that team who says they haven't gotten an opportunity to step up and say I can make the difference."

Saturday, January 19, 2008

What if...

Let's hit the what-if machine real quick. I know a lot of people say that Shaq isn't worth $20 million a year, while others claim one championship is priceless so his salary is insignificant.
Well, for those who are wondering how the Heat could have looked if it didn't make the trade for Shaq, here's one scenario that looks pretty good.
First, you assume that Lamar Odom, Dwyane Wade, Caron Butler and Udonis Haslem stay together. Under their current salaries, those guys would total about $40.8 million.
Then you could assume the Heat could have still signed Damon Jones in the 2004 offseason. Now, he wasn't the ideal point guard for that team, but his price was cheap and the Heat still could have taken a chance on him. Assuming he would've re-signed, that's currently a $4.1 million salary.
Assume Michael Doleac would've remained on the roster, then maybe add another serviceable center at the mid-level like, say, Mikki Moore. You keep Dorell Wright, who was drafted in 2004, draft Jordan Farmar with the pick the Heat gave up to the Lakers (or Sergio Rodriguez, who was also available at that No. 26 pick). Don't know where they would've picked in last year's draft, but you can safely assume they would've been able to get Daequan Cook at any spot late in the first round.
That would be a roster that includes: Wade, Odom, Butler, Haslem, Jones, Wright, Farmar, Moore, Cook, Doleac, and that's only about $56 million in salary. With Butler playing at the level he's playing now, and Lamar playing at All-Star level when he was in Miami, that's potentially three All-Stars (with Wade, of course) on one team, and a deep team at that. In the Eastern Conference, that would've been a very good team, at least a top-three team (probably with SVG at the helm). Don't know if that's championship material, but it would've been fun to watch that group give it a shot.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Something to look forward to

At least there's something interesting to come.
Dwyane commerical

Monday, January 14, 2008

Down the stretch already

It's January and it already feels like March because the rest of the season appears to have no meaning. Other than wait for lottery balls, there are a few questions that could be answered down the stretch.
What do you do with Dorell Wright? Do you hang onto him, develop him throughout the season and assume he can fill the small forward spot so you can look at power and point positions in the offseason? Or do you showcase him in hopes he can be an attractive option for a trade partner, then consider Daequan Cook a three-man or look to fill that spot via free agency or draft? Dorell will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season, with his qualifying offer sitting at about $2.4 million.
And what about Cook? If another team wants him badly enough, do you offer him in a trade if it means you get, say, Mark Blount's salary off the books?
I say anything you gotta do to get significantly under the cap, you do it. The trick would be finding a trade partner willing to give you nothing back but expiring deals. But come trade deadline, teams could get desperate enough.
(Also, for the record, I'm not the Heat beat writer anymore, which is why you don't get blog entries after every game. I simply don't see every game anymore. That's just for those who have posted comments about that subject)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Two-way Pat

So, Riley apparently inferred that he would reconsider his three-year commitment to fill both coach and president roles after this season is over.
Whether or not that is what he meant, what about that possibility?
If he heads back to the "just president" role, you would assume he would name Erik Spoelstra the head coach to follow him. The question is, would Micky Arison really want Riley's successor to be a first-time coach, or would he ask Riley to hire someone with experience and stature in the league so he can ensure there won't be a lag when Riley leaves?
Or, would hiring Spoelstra, who is a Dwyane Wade favorite, keep the superstar guard happy, which is probably the most important thing the franchise needs to do in the long term.
Or would it just be best if Riles keeps his coaching job and not bring up this issue?
I'm somewhat torn, but I tend to think Riles will keep his post, so as not to look like a quitter once again. If he does go, I say keep Spoelstra, who can work out just as well as Stan Van Gundy, only a little bit less intense.
Also, what's the deal with J-Will's bald head? Yikes.

Monday, January 07, 2008

My thoughts exactly

Got this in an email, and it's exactly what I've been thinking since about loss No. 21.

...The HEAT are done for this year - they might as well start for next year and the answer could be clear. Looking at Miami's salary situation closer, they actually could be FA players this summer.

34 mil committed between Wade and Shaq. Smush, Wright, Cook, and Johnson puts them at 41. Haslem and Blount bumps them to 54.8. Everyone else is in the last year of their deal.

Salary cap this year is 55.6. If it grows the same rate it has the past 2 years it'll be at 58.

As it is now, barring a desperation move of their last year Ks for help now, Miami has cap space but not even enough for the MLE. Bad for them. Better to be over the cap or largely under.

If Miami dealt Haslem and Blount for say last years and a draft pick - they would be at 41 mil and 17 under the cap going into this summer when Brand (who tried to go to Miami before), Marion, Arenas, Maggette, and Artest likely will hit the market.

do this and they become FA players immediately this summer with no real competition besides Philly.

Better plan than the status quo...

Now, there are other options. The team can trade just one of those guys (you would assume it would be Udonis, because he's the only one who would be coveted), and still have some space -- enough to sign on big-time free agent. With that space, and without trading a pick, you've got Wade, Shaq, top-five rookie and a max or near-max free agent. Add Cook and Wright and that's a good enough team to fill with minimum contracts from there.

Or... rather than wait for free agency and trust that guys would want to come here (it would be a twisted circle if Elton Brand comes and joins Shaq, when he began the whole process that got Shaq here... well, maybe Anthony Carter began it, but Elton kept it going), the Heat could look to make a significant trade now for a guy who they would go after in free agency if he was a free agent. Make sense? It would have to be from a team that has also given up on the season and looking to get rid of someone, but the circumstances would have to be perfect, a la the Jamal Mashburn trade 10 years ago.
Free agency, though, is the more feasible option, and Riles definitely needs to fast track the "building around Wade" process before its 2010 and he decides to bolt.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

All hope lost?

Seriously, is it jump-off-the-ship time already?
This has to be even more disappointing than the Dolphins' 1-15, because the Heat actually had some expectations. No one thought they'd be the Celtics, but any team with Dwyane Wade isn't supposed to be this bad. It's almost beyond figuring out what the problem is and just accepting that this is a bad team for whatever reason bad teams are what they are.
The Hawks have had a talented roster the past couple of years, and yet somehow they were still bad. That seems to be the case with this year's Heat. This is close to disastrous.


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