NBA Free Agents 2012: 5 Shooters the Miami Heat Should Pursue
The Miami Heat, even as a perennial championship contender, need to be looking at ways to improve their team in the offseason.
Right now they are relying on unbelievable play from LeBron James and, to an extent, Dwayne Wade. In addition, they are fortunate enough to have played a weak New York Knicks team, a good Indiana Pacers team that lacks a closer and a banged up Boston Celtics squad (and not the Chicago Bulls).
Despite the relative success that they are now enjoying, and looking like the clear favorite to win the Eastern Conference for the second consecutive year, it is very easy to spot some glaring weaknesses which could derail their championship hopes yet again.
Having LeBron and Wade, in addition to a healthy Chris Bosh, helps to mask a lot of those shortcomings, but Miami's lack of depth is frightening. Sometimes, their lack of offensive creativity is as well.
Further, when you consider how many wide open three-pointers are missed by the supporting cast over the course of a season, it would make most sense for Miami, over everything else, to go for a shooter (or two) that will take advantage of all the open looks. Sure, Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller do get hot sometimes, but not enough given the quality of shots that they get so often.
Here are five shooters that Miami could potentially pursue via offseason deals or free agency.
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Jason Kidd isn't the best pure shooter on this list, and has definitely lost a few steps in recent years.
The reason I put him on here is because he gives the Heat exactly what they need: a veteran point guard who is capable of running a fast break for James and Wade, who won't make mistakes, and who can knock down open threes.
Yes, he's ancient for an NBA player, and could start to slide quickly. But he wouldn't have to do it all. The Heat already have a competent NBA point guard in Mario Chalmers, and Kidd could even come off the bench and then be on the court in crunch time.
At the right price, the Heat would be lucky to get Kidd, and he could go a long way towards filling some of their biggest needs.
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I know, I know. This one's a longshot, and then some. It's almost impossible to imagine Ray Allen, after so many hard fought regular season and playoff battles, leaving the C's to join forces with LeBron and Wade in South Beach.
However, there are no guarantees that the Celtics will want to bring Allen back next season. Of the original Big Three, Allen is the one who is struggling the most with health issues at this point, and if the Celtics flame out in four or five games against the Heat, it seems increasingly likely that there might be big changes in store before the beginning of next season.
Boston GM Danny Ainge has shown he isn't afraid to shake things up when the time is right, and if he wants to keep the Celtics relevant, the time might be now.
Another factor which makes this intriguing signing unlikely is that Allen's asking price might be higher than what the strapped-for-cash Heat are able to match.
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Why would the post-hype Jimmer Fredette be a good fit in Miami?
Somewhat forgotten, amidst all his rookie season struggles, is the fact that the guy really can shoot. He's not necessarily a great spot-up shooter, which is more what the Heat need right now, but could definitely develop into one, given the talent that he has.
Fredette shot a passable 36 percent from downtown last year, which is understandable given the rocky situation he was thrown into with the Sacramento Kings. Things aren't likely to improve there anytime soon, which means his best chance at fitting in with the team might have come and gone.
On Miami, he wouldn't be asked to do too much. Being on a team with LeBron, Wade and other quality defenders who could help to mask his weaknesses, he could concentrate on giving the team 10-15 points a night off the bench.
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Maybe Nate would be a bit of a gamble at this point in his career, but it's more of a low-risk move for a veteran team like the Heat, where he could function as a quick guard off the bench with the ability to create his own shot.
Nate Robinson hasn't been relevant in the NBA for a while now, so it's easy to forget just how good of a scorer he was in his heyday with the New York Knicks. Maybe he won't ever get back to that, but what Miami needs is someone who can help take the burden off of LeBron and Wade to create every possession.
No one is saying that by acquiring him, Miami would suddenly have nothing to fear. But for the potential of what he could bring to this team, it might be worth the risk to give him a one year deal and see what happens.
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If you're like me, most of your familiarity with Daniel Gibson came when he was playing big minutes with LeBron James in Cleveland. As those minutes dwindled, and then when LeBron went to Miami, I essentially forgot about him.
The thing is, the guy can still play. As luck would have it, the one thing he can do really well is shoot the three. Gibson is a career 41.6 percent three-point shooter, and could bring a skill that the Heat are sorely lacking in.
Sure, there might still be some lingering bad blood between him and LeBron due to The Decision and its aftermath, but I'm sure Gibson would let bygones be bygones if the opportunity to play for a contender suddenly arose. He's still under contract in Cleveland, meaning this might be a difficult one to pull off, but his familiarity with LeBron's game and ability to hit big threes might make it worth the effort.