Miami Heat: Latest Trade Rumors, Free Agent News, Draft Buzz

Peter Emerick@@peteremerickSenior Writer IIMay 30, 2012

Miami Heat: Latest Trade Rumors, Free Agent News, Draft Buzz

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    The Heat are still well on their way to achieving their preseason goal of hoisting the 2012 Larry O'Brien Championship trophy at the end of the season.

    That doesn't mean it's too early to start focusing on what the Heat's 2012 offseason will look like.

    With the Heat heading into the 2012 offseason nearly $8 million over the salary cap, it will be interesting to see which free agents they pursue and which player, if any, they decide to cut via the amnesty clause included in the 2011 CBA.

    Ahead you'll find all the news, rumors and draft buzz you'll need as the Heat transition from their playoff push to the 2012 offseason.  

Is Jason Terry Planning on Moving to Miami This Offseason?

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    One of the Heat's biggest weaknesses over the past few seasons is the lack of production they've gotten from their second unit. Without a legitimate sixth man on their roster, the Heat will continue to struggle against teams with serious depth on their roster.

    The Heat can finally find that player this offseason by signing veteran shooting guard Jason Terry. 

    The good news for the Heat is that ESPN reported Terry's interest in playing for the Heat next season.  The bad news, though, is that Terry might want more cash than the Heat can offer, seeing that he earned $11.4 million this past season.

    While Terry certainly won't demand that kind of money, he still could be in the $5-7 million range.

    Seeing that the Heat will be nearly $8 million above the cap-limit heading into the 2012-13 season, it will take the use of their amnesty clause to bring Terry to South Beach.  

Will Steve Nash Transform the Big Three into the Big Four?

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    According to ESPN's Tom Haberstroh, Steve Nash is open to becoming a member of the Miami Heat this offseason, and while that's an enticing possibility, it's certainly not a realistic one.

    The Heat won't have any cap-space heading into the summer of free agency and that means that Nash would have to leave a lot of money behind in Phoenix, or other cities for that matter, for the chance to play with the Heat.

    To sign with the Heat, Nash would have to sign a mid-level exception that would give him $5 million in 2013 as compared to the $11.7 million he earned this past season. That drop in salary could very well be worth it to Nash for a chance at finally reeling in the NBA title that's eluded him for the entirety of his career.

    If the Heat don't win the 2012 NBA championship, there's a high likelihood that the Heat could be looking for that one piece that will get them over the hump.  That piece could be Nash, especially if he's willing to take less money for a chance at a ring. 

Who Will Be the Victim of the Heat's Amnesty Option?

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    The Heat are one of the teams in the NBA that still have yet to use the amnesty clause on one of their players.

    The problem for a few players on the Heat's 11-man roster heading into the offseason is that it seems like the time is coming when the Heat will finally amnesty one of their players. The Heat just can't afford to keep all of their contracts heading into the 2012-13 season, as they're currently $8 million over the cap-limit.

    The player who is currently at the top of the Heat's list of potential amnesty victims is Mike Miller, and it's mainly because he happens to be the most expendable player on their roster when it comes to both talent and contract value.

    Letting go of the $18.6 million tied up in the next three years of Miller's contract would be a financially responsible move to make and it would also mean that the Heat could pursue free agents this summer with a bit more flexibility.

    The amnesty talk will certainly come out in full force once the 2011-12 season is finally over, and when it does, expect Miller's name to be in the mix.  

Is Breaking Up the Big Three a Realistic Possibility?

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    This topic is purely speculation for the time being.

    LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and company have proven this season that they can get the job done without the tallest member of the big three—Chris Bosh.

    After losing Bosh in the second quarter of Game 1 against the Indiana Pacers, the Heat have gone on to win four out of six games, with LeBron and Wade averaging 60-plus points per game combined.

    The Heat have a long way to go until they're even close to being crowned the 2012 NBA champions, but they are certainly beginning to realize just how good they are with LeBron and Wade running the show.

    While nothing has been said openly about the Heat looking to deal Bosh after the end of the season, there's no doubt that freeing themselves up from the $36.6 million they have tied up in him over the next two seasons would be freeing to say the least.

    The Heat could more legitimately pursue a number of high-profile free agents, like Steve Nash, Jason Terry and Ray Allen, if they're able to move Bosh and his massive contract. If LeBron and Wade can carry the Heat to the 2012 NBA title without Bosh in the starting lineup, the talk about his value on the team will certainly begin.  

Heat's Hot Seat: Is Erik Spoelstra's Job in Miami Safe?

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    As the Heat's 2011-12 campaign goes, so does the future of Erik Spoelstra.

    While no one's calling into question Spoelstra's future at the moment, with the Heat up one game to none on the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals, there's no doubt that his coaching abilities are average at best.

    From starting Dexter Pittman in a playoff game this postseason to getting into an argument with Dwyane Wade, Spoelstra, at times, doesn't appear to have control of his team. That's dangerous for the Heat moving forward, because they need a coach who can hold the egos of their superstars in check.

    Spoelstra is no stranger to his qualifications and abilities being called into question. There's even a website dedicated to getting Pat Riley to get rid of Spoelstra.

    This offseason storyline will take some time to develop, but if the Heat don't hoist the 2012 Larry O'Brien Championship trophy at the end of the season, there's no doubt that the fire Spoelstra hype-train will gain some serious momentum. 

Draft Watch: Is Fab Melo's Stock Rising Too High for Heat?

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    One of the holes the Heat will be trying to fill in this year's draft is their lack of production at the center position.

    Ronny Turiaf and Joel Anthony, with combined season averages of 6.4 points and eight rebounds per game, just aren't getting the job done in the painted area.

    Fab Melo, the seven-foot center out of Syracuse, is one of those players that the Heat would be wise to go after on draft day if he's still available.

    Unfortunately for the Heat, it looks like Melo's draft stock is on the rise. ESPN's Chad Ford is reporting that Melo is developing a solid touch around the basket and a somewhat-consistent mid-range jumper.

    Ford has Melo being projected to go in the 15 to 25 range on draft day, and that's a little too high for the Heat, who will most likely be at or around the 27th overall spot, come draft day. 

Is a No. 20 Ray Allen Jersey in the Heat's Future?

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    UPDATE (7/6/12): Ray Allen, Marcus Camby could both be acquired by Heat. Allen expected to be offered $3.0 million.

    Ray Allen is going to be a free agent at the end of the 2011-12 season, and it's safe to say that Danny Ainge is willing to move on without Allen on the Celtics' roster.

    If the Celtics don't seriously pursue bringing Allen back, the Heat need to throw their hat into the mix.

    Allen could be the spark off the bench the Heat have lacked the past few seasons. The best part of pursuing Allen in free agency is that his asking-price will certainly go down after less-than-stellar playoff production and the bone spurs in his right ankle.

    While Allen teaming up with LeBron and company in Miami might seem a bit far-fetched, don't forget that it almost happened back in the summer of 2010—when LeBron was piecing together his "dream team."

    Yahoo's Marc Spears is reporting, from a league source, that the Heat are planning on making a strong push toward signing Allen this offseason. We'll have to wait and see if that is indeed true, but it's certainly something to keep your eyes on.   

Is Greg Oden the Future of the Heat's Frontcourt?

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    Greg Oden hasn't played in the NBA since the 2009-10 season, but that doesn't mean he's ready to hang up the laces just yet.

    With Yahoo Sport's Eric Freeman reporting that Oden's agent believes Oden wants to play for the Heat during the latter parts of the 2012-13 season, it's clear that Oden doesn't think his years in the NBA are over.

    The only reason why the Heat should take a chance on Oden and all his health risks is because they'll be able to get him for a ridiculously low amount of cash.

    Whether Oden plays in 2013 or not depends on how effective his rehab goes and how quickly he can return to NBA shape. Even if there's a 50 percent chance that Oden will be able to step foot on an NBA court next season, the Heat should go after him.

    He's the low-risk/high-reward kind of player who could help bolster their frontcourt. 

Rashard Lewis Heading to Miami?

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    According to Ethan J. Skolnick of the Palm Beach Post, Rashard Lewis will meet with the Miami Heat on Sunday. It appears that Lewis may favor teams besides the defending champions, however, for financial reasons.


    Rashard Lewis' meeting w/the Heat is Sunday, not Saturday. Hasn't ruled out anything, but would naturally prefer mid-level. Other suitors.

    — Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) July 6, 2012


    Considering Lewis is one of the better affordable options, the Heat should view this as a potential blow. Ray Allen may be their greatest target, but there is no way around their need for size. Rashard Lewis becomes an obvious choice for that reason.

Miami Heat Draft Buzz

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    The Heat's sole draft pick in the 2012 NBA draft is going to land right around the No. 27 spot, and that means they'll have to really make that selection count.

    ESPN Insider Joe Kaiser is reporting that one player the Heat are currently interested in working out is Drew Gordon—the 6'8'' and 235-pound power forward out of New Mexico State.

    Drafting a player like Gordon would certainly be an interesting move for the Heat, as they don't have a big need for a power forward. That is unless the Heat's front office is preparing to move on without Chris Bosh next year. Sure, that sounds absurd and it's highly unlikely, but you never know.

    The Heat's true draft needs exists at the center position and the 2-guard spot. Two players who could fit those needs are Syracuse center Fab Melo and Kentucky combo-guard Marquis Teague.

    With the Heat being $8 million over the salary cap heading into the 2012-13 season. there will undoubtedly be a lot of focus on which player they decide to take with their first-round draft pick.