Heat Rumors: Which Veteran Free Agent Fits Best in South Beach?
Finally, the Miami Heat have won a title, and the proverbial monkey is off of their collective backs.
Sit back LeBron, and enjoy it, because there is a scary proposition staring your team in the face.
If Mike Miller and James Jones retire, and all of their free agents bolt, they will only have about half of an NBA roster signed up for next year. They will have a first-round pick this year to help shore up their roster, but that still leaves quite a few holes.
Well, help may be on the way.
According to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld, the Heat are targeting a veteran.
Steve Nash, Chris Kaman, Grant Hill, Andre Miller, Ray Allen and Jermaine O’Neal are among the players who Miami could target with their mini mid-level exception, according to sources close to the situation.
Kennedy also mentions Brandon Roy as an option for Miami. So which, if any, of the above fit best with Miami?
Steve Nash, PG
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Nash is an unselfish, smart, efficient player who would immediately improve the Heat's offense. Even at nearly 40, he can get to the hoop whenever he wants to, and he has some of the best court vision in the history of the game.
A combination of Nash and LeBron would be too much fun to watch from a passing perspective.
Additionally, he would set up James and Wade with easy scoring situations, and could provide a wicked up-tempo transition game.
Nash is a liability on defense. He never was a good defender, and he is even worse now.
Perhaps James and Wade could protect him. Perhaps not.
This probably won't happen. Nash can command plenty more than Miami can offer him, and he hasn't shown a strong desire to chase a title up until now.
Chris Kaman, C
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Kaman would be an ideal fit with Miami.
He can score with his back to the hoop, he could help protect Bosh in the paint, and he rebounds at a high level.
He also would benefit from James' court vision and ability to drive.
Kaman is aging rapidly, and it shows the most on the defensive side of the ball where injuries have robbed him of the little athleticism he possessed in the first place.
Kaman, like Nash, probably is still out of the Heat's price range. He will likely be trying to get his last decent contract this year, and the Heat can't afford it.
He also can't afford to sign a one-year tender given his injury history.
Grant Hill, SF
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Of everyone on this list, Hill would probably come the cheapest. He loves Florida, and would provide solid veteran leadership.
After a few renaissance years in Phoenix, age may have finally caught up to Hill.
He looked old at times, and he had some of his worst numbers as a pro.
Add to that a dwindling shooting percentage, flagging rebounding and assist numbers and a three-point shot that was never that great to begin with, and you aren't really gaining that much.
I think the Heat can find better options.
Andre Miller, PG
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Miller would be a very nice compliment to Wade and James.
He is a physical, savvy, intelligent point guard that can score in a variety of ways. He would improve the offense with his passing ability, and he could only help the Heat score more in the half court set.
Miller isn't a great defender, nor a good three-point shooter. The Heat ideally could use a point guard that can stretch the floor, and Miller isn't that guy.
Miller, like Nash and Kaman, probably is out of the Heat's price range. He is probably looking for his last big payday, and he might not be ready to start chasing after a title Gary Payton-style.
Ray Allen, SG
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Okay, now we're on to something.
Allen has made a ton of money over his career, and he no doubt would be affordable for Miami. He also is one of the best shooters in NBA history, so he helps replace Mike Miller should he retire.
He also is a high character, smart player that can still score in bunches.
Allen looked brutally old in the playoffs this past year.
Sure, a lot of that had to do with a bum foot. But even his shot looked bad.
If Ray Allen can't shoot anymore, what use is he?
I think Allen is the most likely of those mentioned already.
The Heat will need spot up shooters to take pressure off of the big three, and Allen fits this mold well, provided he recovers from injuries.
Jermaine O'Neal, PF-C
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O'Neal is a savvy, big player. Ideally, he could help take some of the defensive burden off of Bosh's shoulders.
O'Neal seems busted up and beaten down. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of Chris Webber in his last year in Detroit. He got by with some court sense and intelligence, but he was just a shell of his former self.
He certainly would be cheap, but at this point I don't think he would add much to Miami.
Brandon Roy, SG
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Roy, in his prime, was one of the best shooting guards in the game. Blessed with uncanny court-sense and a determination that borders on fanaticism, Roy is the ideal teammate.
He can score in a number of different ways, is a physical defender and he plays unselfishly.
If he is healthy, there aren't any. He would be the perfect signing.
If Roy is healthy, this certainly could happen. It gives Roy a chance to show that he still has it, and gives him a shot at winning a title as well.
He also should come super cheap since he is still getting paid upwards of $30 million from Portland.
Ideal signing, if healthy.