Miami Heat: 5 Biggest Concerns Heading into Next Season
Fresh off their 2012 NBA Finals triumph, the Miami Heat must immediately work on a plan to defend their title.
Even though they came together in the end and found a way to reach the top, there are several concerns facing the franchise heading into next year.
How will the Heat face the pressures of being defending champs? Who is going to be the starting center? Will Dwyane Wade's knee keep him from dominating?
These are some of the issues facing Erik Spoelstra's squad. Here's a breakdown of the five biggest concerns surrounding the Miami Heat moving forward.
5. Do They Have the Drive to Repeat?
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This isn't a major concern for the Heat, but motivation and focus is something they must keep in mind throughout the offseason and into the fall.
They're coming off a compact regular season followed by a grueling postseason that spanned two months. Also, LeBron James will be recovering from a long summer at the Olympics.
Since 1998, only the Los Angeles Lakers franchise has been able to repeat as champions. In this day and age, defending a title is a difficult task. The Heat are going to get every opponent's best shot.
Everyone on the squad must be on the same page and be just as committed as they were this past season.
4. The Mike Miller Situation
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Mike Miller saw specialist Dr. Barth Green earlier this week because of his recurring back issues.
There were rumors of him possibly retiring this offseason, but he dismissed those rumors and it looks like he's going to continue his career.
The NBA Finals Game 5 hero might need surgery and could be out for the entirety of next season, which would give the Heat a $2.9 million salary slot to work with.
If Miller does play in 2012-13, it will be a constant uphill battle to keep him healthy and effective. Adding depth would help offset the Miller concerns.
3. Signing a Scorer
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With the little cap room they have, the Heat would be wise to add a proven scorer, someone who can take the pressure off King James and Dwyane Wade sometimes.
There is reportedly mutual interest between Miami and Ray Allen to potentially add the veteran sharpshooter. He would be a little bit pricey, but well worth the expense when you think about the spot-up shooting opportunities in the Heat offense.
Steve Nash has also said that he is open to the Heat as an option. Adding Nash would change the complexion of the team, giving it an elite floor general who can also score from anywhere on the floor.
Jason Terry might end up being the best option, as he's shown interest in joining Miami and would be an affordable scorer off the bench.
2. Finding a Fit at Center
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None of Miami's 2011-12 centers (Joel Anthony, Ronny Turiaf, Dexter Pittman) are a preferred option for next year.
Otherwise, they might use Chris Bosh at center and go with a smaller lineup that spreads the floor. James would play power forward and direct a three-guard backcourt.
1. Dwyane Wade's Health
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Dwyane Wade's knee gave him trouble and hindered his effectiveness throughout the playoffs, and now he'll have surgery on it and miss the Olympics.
Even though Wade has a history of overcoming injuries with his exceptional fitness and work ethic, this latest injury gives Heat fans reason to be nervous about the future.
The nine-year veteran won't be in his prime for much longer, especially with setbacks like this.
Pat Riley and company would love to see Wade emerge from this injury, back to his normal self and ready for another title run. Until then, they'll cross their fingers.