Marcus Camby Should Be Top Free-Agent Target for Miami Heat
Despite some of the more alluring names that will be linked to the defending champion Miami Heat this summer, including Steve Nash, Ray Allen and Lamar Odom, one would expect the team to place its utmost priority on its void in the middle.
Furthermore, while critics may cite the breakthrough success the team found by going with a small lineup in the NBA Finals, the Heat cannot overlook the importance of size in a conference that features Dwight Howard, Roy Hibbert, Joakim Noah and Tyson Chandler—players they can expect to see during the playoffs.
That being said, Houston Rocket unrestricted free agent Marcus Camby, 38, looks to be the logical addition for a team desperate for size and a defensive presence in the middle.
Although he boasts a paltry free-throw shooting percentage of .42, which will likely entice teams to employ a Hack-A-Camby approach, he averaged nine rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 23 minutes of work last season.
Currently, the starting center for the Houston Rockets is Samuel Dalembert, who was signed by the team in December to a two-year deal worth 13.7 million. However, the Rockets do hold a team option to buy out the second year of Dalembert's contract at $1.5 million and may do so if they choose to make a higher bid to retain Camby.
Nevertheless, the most likely scenario is that Camby will not command more than the mid-level exception in the open market given his age and amidst a free-agent center class that will be headlined by Roy Hibbert, Brook Lopez and JaVale McGee.
Should the Heat spend it's mid-level exception on Marcus Camby?
As a result, it's expected that the ring-less center will shorten his list of options to title-contending teams, of which the Heat should hold a competitive advantage based on their recent championship and the starting spot they have to offer in their lineup.
Should the Heat fail to net Camby, other unrestricted free-agent centers that look to be in their price range include Spencer Hawes, Nazr Mohammed, Jason Collins, Hasheem Thabeet, Joel Przybilla and DeSagana Diop.
Moreover, unrestricted free-agent centers that look to be outside Miami's price range include Chris Kaman, Mehmet Okur and Kwame Brown.
At this time, the Heat only have at its disposal a mid-level exception of $3 million and the veteran minimum.
Finally, of all the non-centers that will hold Miami's eye for the mid-level exception, the only sensible case could be made for Steve Nash, who could not only share floor minutes with Mario Chalmers but also mentor the erratic Norris Cole. Guys like Lamar Odom and Ray Allen, meanwhile, would be a foolish investment for anything more than the veteran minimum given their baggage either off the court or due to lingering injuries.
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