Still Available Players Miami Heat Must Target
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The free-agency crop is drying up, but that's not such a big deal to the Miami Heat.
With Chris Andersen re-signing with the Heat this past week, the back-to-back NBA champions have just two available rosters spots at the moment.
One of those rosters spots could go to Jarvis Varnado, who is currently under contract with the Heat on a non-guaranteed deal. Varnado has impressed in summer league action with his shot-blocking ability and his developing mid-range jumper.
A roster spot could go to the No. 50 pick in the 2013 NBA draft, James Ennis, whom the Heat traded for on draft night.
This isn't to say there aren't still options on the free-agent market for the Heat. There are. Here are the two players on the open market Miami should most covet.
We know that the Heat have legitimate interest in former Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden, and landing him would be a great move for the franchise.
Riley expresses a continuing interest in Greg Oden. Says he texted with Oden's agent a couple of weeks ago.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) July 12, 2013
It's your classic low-risk, high-reward signing.
Yes, Oden's chronic knee issues have kept him out of an NBA game since December 2009. So, there is risk in the sense that Oden might not pan out for Miami.
But in free-agent signings, risk is relative to what a team pays. At most, the Heat can offer Oden a taxpayer exception of $3.2 million. With such few dollars on the line, it wouldn't be a big deal if the signing didn't work out. That's where the lack of risk comes about.
On the flip side, Oden has potential. Even though he's known for looking like a grown man, he's still just 25 years old. And the last time we saw Oden on the court back in 2009, he was playing very solid basketball.
In the 21 games Oden appeared in during the 2009-10 season, he averaged 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 23.9 minutes of action. That type of efficiency would have made Oden the 2012-13 Heat's best per-minute rebounder and shot-blocker by a wide margin.
Now, we don't know if the 2013 edition of Oden can play at the level, but it's a possibility.
Plus, the Heat are such a great situation for Oden. He would be viewed as an end-of-the-bench rotation player in Miami, not as a franchise savior, as he was in Portland.
When Oden got injured in Portland, there was pressure on him to return to the court quickly. That wouldn't be the case in Miami. He'd be in a no-pressure situation.
The Heat don't need Oden. He's a luxury. That's what makes this the perfect signing for both sides.
Blair is another intriguing option for Miami. He doesn't have the size of Oden, which isn't ideal. Blair is listed at just 6'7".
Still, despite being relegated to Gregg Popovich's doghouse last season as a member of the San Antonio Spurs, Blair can play a bit.
We talked about what Oden can do on the glass, but Blair, who's about half a foot shorter than Oden, is a prolific rebounder as well. For his career, Blair hauls down 11.1 rebounds per 36 minutes.
Blair is a very tough player; he'd have to be, given the size disadvantage he has almost every time he takes the court.
An issue with Blair on the Heat, though, is that he wouldn't be an asset to Miami's floor spacing, which, you know, is a big deal given how important spacing is in the Heat's offensive system.
That's why Blair would be a low-minute player who's only utilized when the Heat desperately need some rebounds. There were multiple games during the 2012-13 season in which Miami was out-rebounded by more than 20. Blair can be helpful in those types of games.
Would Blair want to go to a team where he would have such a small role? That's certainly something to wonder. He's still just 24 years old, which doesn't fit the profile of the typical player who takes less money and a small role to compete for a championship.
But there seemingly hasn't been a ton of rumors and interest in Blair's services, so maybe the market will force him to take a discount.
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