The Miami Heat had an overall successful offseason, but it could have been better.
The big winner, of course, was snatching Ray Allen away from the Boston Celtics for half of what they were offering.
Rashard Lewis was another piece the Heat added that could provide some valuable minutes off the bench.
There were other signings like Garrett Temple and Justin Harrellson, but they won’t see very much playing time, if any at all.
While solid, the offseason could have been much stronger. Here are five scenarios that would have made it so.
It’s also safe to assume Miami won’t sign any awful contracts from now until the beginnings of the 2015-2016 (when the amnesty must be used by), because each of the Big Three are signed through then.
With the trio eating up almost the entire salary cap by itself, the only way Miami can sign anyone is through bargains and salary cap exceptions.
So, why not free up some space now?
Mike Miller is making the most money of anyone outside the Big Three, and he’s not nearly the best.
Allen, Udonis Haslem, Shane Battier and even Mario Chalmers are all more important to the Heat.
Worst of all, Miller just can’t stay healthy and he’s only getting older.
By clearing him off the books, Miami would have opened itself up to more options and flexibility not just for this offseason, but future ones to come.
Marcus Camby joined the New York Knicks this offseason as part of a sign-and-trade deal that sent Tony Douglas, Josh Harrellson, Jerome Jordan and two future 2nd-round draft picks to the Houston Rockets.
Camby is set to make $4,590,338 this year. That seems a bit hefty for a 38-year-old center, but his salary depreciates every year. Miami could have dumped a couple players to Houston to clear room for his signing—say, Joel Anthony, James Jones and Terrel Harris, who combined will make just over $6 million this year.
The Heat have been seriously lacking at center for the past couple years, and Camby would be a solid piece to fill that role.
This is still actually possible, because Greg Oden is a free agent.
Yes, he has extreme health problems. But he’s got all the natural talent in the world.
The last time he played, in 2010, Oden averaged 16.7 points, 12.8 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per 36 minutes of play on 60.5 percent shooting.
Obviously, anyone who signs Oden will only have to pay a minimum salary to do so.
Why not take a chance? He will only cost $915,852. If it doesn’t work out, the Heat can just wave him.
But if Oden somehow pulls a Bill Walton type of revival circa 1986 for just one season, Miami’s problems at center are solved, even if it might be short lived.
The reward far outweighs the risk. I say go for it.
This is another possibility still alive, as Kenyon Martin still roams the world of free agency.
The Heat made a living off of small ball last year, using its speed and athleticism to overrun opponents.
But they could still use toughness and strength down low. You never know when a slug-it-out duel will present itself.
Martin would be the perfect piece for such an occasion. He plays defense, he’s tough, he’s strong and he’s willing to commit hard fouls to send a message.
That type of player may end up being unnecessary, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Steve Nash would be the perfect point guard to play alongside James, Wade and Bosh.
First of all, he’s extremely unselfish and would perfectly distribute touches between the three. He could run pick-and-rolls with Bosh and James all day to perfection.
He’s also an incredible three-point and free-throw shooter with career success rates of 42.8 percent and 90.4 percent, respectively.
And just imagine him in the open court lobbing alley-oops to James and Wade.
To get him to come to Miami, the Heat would have to offer him a little more than the $9 million per year the Los Angeles Lakers did.
Here’s how it could have happened.
First, don’t sign Ray Allen. You don’t need his shooting if you have Nash’s.
Then, in the sign-and-trade, give the Phoenix Suns Mario Chalmers and a bunch of draft picks in return.
If you combine the lost salaries of Allen and Chalmers and amnesty Miller, that leaves $12,890,000 this year to pay Nash, and more in years to come.
Everybody wins. Except for Chalmers and Miller.