The Miami Heat put together a strong effort in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, tying up the series at two games a piece.
Interestingly enough, they did so without getting minutes from any player who will be a free agent this offseason.
Yep, that means Chris Andersen got a whopping zero minutes, after averaging about 15 minutes per game throughout the Eastern Conference Finals and the NBA Finals so far.
Does that mean the Heat no longer have use for him and will be parting ways with him this offseason?
With that being said, let's play "keep or cut" with the Heat's free agents.
Chris Andersen, C—$699,992 salary in 2012-13 season
There's no way around the fact that Andersen has had an impressive season thus far.
After missing the first half of the season, simply due to unemployment, he ended the regular season with averages of 4.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and one block in 14.9 minutes per game.
Andersen stepped up his game in the playoffs though, currently averaging 6.9 points on 81.8 percent shooting, with 3.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game.
Even when Andersen isn't shooting near 100 percent and blocking shots like it's his job, his presence alone is worth the cash tied up in his contract.
To keep Andersen, the Heat will most likely have to offer him the mid-level exception which would give him about $3 million next year. That sounds like a lot of cash, and it is, but the Heat need interior depth and they aren't going to find it this offseason outside of bring the Birdman back.
Without any draft picks and very limited cap space, the Heat need to be smart with their funds this offseason, and the best way to do that is to bring back a player who helped them tremendously this season.
Andersen brings energy, passion and intensity every second he's on the floor, and that's a valuable asset that the Heat need to hold onto.
Juwan Howard, C—$373.838 salary in 2012-13 season
Let's just get the obvious out of the way.
The Heat didn't sign Howard this past season for his on-the-court production. They signed him to be a veteran presence in the locker room, and a coaching presence on the bench.
Even if Howard doesn't play a single minute next season, his presence alone is worth re-signing.
Having a veteran player who knows how to motivate and lead teammates is something that most teams don't have, and it's one thing the Heat shouldn't let go.
That doesn't mean they need to offer Howard a roster spot. Instead, they should bring him on staff as an assistant coach, because that's really all he is right now.
Final Decision—"Keep" by making him an assistant coach
Aside from Andersen and Howard, the Heat don't have any free agents they need to worry about—even with James Jones, Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis entering "player option" years in their contracts.
Miami's offseason decisions should be simple because all they need to do is keep their 10-man rotation in place.