With NBA free agency officially underway, offers are already being made to players across the country. Teams are looking to build or re-build into championship contenders, while some are hoping to steal a star player or two and beat out a conference rival.
For the Miami Heat, this season is all about defending their championship. They have a stellar core of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh; backed up by great role players in Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem, Norris Cole and Mike Miller.
Despite this, team management is looking to improve an already superior roster. The Heat do not have a whole lot of cap room to work with, so their moves will have to be precise and accurate.
While it is difficult to say Miami’s roster is flawed, it is the case in reality. The team possesses neither an experienced center nor another player to lead the second unit. The Heat proved they can win without both of these, but adding them will only make the team stronger.
Marcus Camby could be someone to fill one of those roles.
Camby, who recently turned 38 in March, has demonstrated he can still play despite his age. Last season, he averaged 4.9 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in just 23.3 minutes per game—including nine games where he pulled down 15-plus rebounds, the highest being 22 boards in 32 minutes against Memphis.
Considering Camby almost averaged double-digit rebounds in roughly one half of a game, he would be fantastic for the Heat. He provides the defensive, rebounding mold of center the team needs. His offensive game has never been dominant, but he possesses a decent mid-range shot as well as the ability to finish inside.
Due to the Heat’s cap situation, he would need to sign for the veteran’s minimum. Camby has never won a championship, but would have a very high chance of doing so with the Heat. He would have a large role in the rotation—an aspect of the Heat that can bother free agents.
Miami already has a decent group of players coming off the bench. Cole, Miller, Haslem and Battier showed their worth in the playoffs, quieting many naysayers who said the second unit was weak. However, they lack a true veteran leader. Battier and Haslem are battle-worn warriors, who do all the dirty work. Miller is currently recovering from a number of injuries and Cole is in just his second year in the NBA.
Adding Jason Terry to this mix would no doubt make the Heat almost unstoppable. He is a fantastic scorer—despite his 6’2” frame—and is one of the greatest three-point shooters the league has ever seen. He currently ranks fourth all-time in three-point field goals made; trailing Jason Kidd, Reggie Miller and Ray Allen.
Terry won the Sixth Man of the Year award in 2009, and is perfectly suited for Miami’s offensive game. While possessing the ability to create his own shot, he can do so for others as well. Terry is truly a combo-guard, and receiving passes on the perimeter from James and Wade will be a luxury management will no doubt mention as an incentive to sign with Miami.
He averaged 15.1 points and 3.6 assists per game last season while coming off the bench for Dallas in 31.7 minutes per game. Not only will he provide expert scoring and shooting, but he is a renowned clutch shooter.
Adding another weapon to the Heat’s arsenal will only make them a more potent team to deal with down the stretch. Terry has said himself he would like to join the Miami Heat, obviously a good sign for the team. He should receive the full mini mid-level exception to join an already compelling roster.
After acquiring both of these veterans, the Heat need to fill out the remainder of the roster. The team selected center Justin Hamilton out of LSU in the NBA draft. He stands 7’0” and 260 lbs, but possesses a nice post-up game, as well as a surprising shooting touch. His work ethic and hustle style of play will undoubtedly suit the Heat’s system, and will most likely back up Camby (provided, of course, that Camby signs with the Heat).
After Camby, Terry and Hamilton are added, the Heat have just one roster spot left. While they could certainly add another free agent, it is more likely that the spot will be filled by a player selected from Miami’s summer league.
Jarvis Varnado, selected in the second round by the Heat in 2010, has been named as a possible addition, opting to return to the Heat’s workouts in Las Vegas. He is a defensive specialist, standing 6’9” and weighing in at 220 lbs. Varnado has a 7’4” wingspan that helped him into a number of prestigious statistical clubs in college.
He was selected as the SEC Defensive Player of the Year three consecutive times—the only player to do so. He currently leads the NCAA in career blocks, topping the likes of Tim Duncan, Alonzo Mourning, Shaquille O’Neal, Theo Ratliff and Adonal Foyle.
He has great timing on defense and would fit in perfectly. He has a likeness to DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers, which could just be the right amount of athleticism and defense Miami needs in the paint.
Varnado would play at both power forward and center.
Acquiring players will not be difficult for the Heat. Being named NBA champions gives every free agent incentive to consider an offer from Miami. However, it is team management’s job to ensure they do so to the right personnel.
Camby and Terry would provide veteran leadership and fill the needs the Heat require. Adding Hamilton and Varnado would be the right balance of inexperienced and knowledgeable players. Their hustle will be an injection to the Miami rotation that will create mismatches for opposing defenses.
The entirety of the team would be perfectly composed, with the right personnel on both ends of the floor.
Only time will tell if the Heat can pull it off.