Report Card Grades for Miami Heat 2013 Offseason Moves
The Miami Heat have made four moves since the 2013 season's end, and we're going to grade each of them.
Due to already being way over the cap, the Heat have been unable to make any free-agent splashes. In fact, Miami's only signing this summer has been Chris "Birdman" Andersen for the veteran's minimum.
This isn't to say the Heat haven't had a successful offseason. Actually, given their financial circumstances, we think they've done a great job.
1. Exercising Mario Chalmers' Team Option
Considering Chalmers' option was worth just $4 million. This was a no-brainer for the Heat.
'Rio has been a frustrating player at times through his first five years in the league, but the good has outweighed the bad, especially as of late. He has become a real asset for the Heat on both sides of the ball.
In the 2012-13 season, his outside shot improved once again and he knocked down a career high 40.9 percent on three-point shots.
His decision-making also got better; he improved his assist to turnover ratio from 1.56 in the 2011-12 season to 2.29 this past year.
And while Chalmers' backup Norris Cole often outshines him defensively, 'Rio was a plus defensively for the Heat in 2012-13. Miami allowed 102.9 points per 100 possessions when he was on the court and 107.6 points per 100 possessions when he was off the court, according to 82games.
Plus at age 27, Mario should be entering his prime.
But what this grade ultimately boils down to: could the Heat have signed a better point guard than Chalmers had they declined to exercise the option? Factoring in Miami's financial limitations, the answer is no.
2. Trading For The Rights To James Ennis On Draft Night
The Heat gave up a future second-round pick for Ennis, who was the No. 50 selection by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2013 draft. Based on what Ennis did in summer league play, it sure looks like a great move.
Ennis started out slow in the Orlando Summer League; however, he picked up his play as the week went along, and then carried that momentum into the Las Vegas Summer League.
Just as he did in his final season at Long Beach State (35.7 3PT%), Ennis shot well from outside during the summer sessions. He's long and athletic, which made him perhaps the Heat's top defensive player this summer other than Jarvis Varnado. He was able to get the basket with ease, as well.
Miami really couldn't have asked for much more out of him in Orlando and Las Vegas.
Ennis would seem to have a shot to make the 2013-14 roster after his play this summer, which says a lot about his ability, given how stacked this Miami team is.
3. Re-Signing Chris "Birdman" Andersen
The Heat made bringing back "Birdman" their top priority heading into the offseason, and they succeeded. But not only did they re-sign Andersen, they did so for a discounted rate.
Birdman completely bought in to the Heat's culture of sacrifice and re-signed for $1.7 million when he could have fetched a much bigger payday from another team.
The 35-year-old Andersen was a revelation for the Heat in the 2012-13 season. As a mid-season pickup in January, he came in and immediately provided rebounding and shot-blocking help. On top of that, he proved to be more than a competent offensive player, which was something the Heat lacked in centers, over the Big Three era, excluding Chris Bosh.
But the 2013 playoffs were where Andersen really proved his worth to this team. He was the Heat's top per-minute rebounder, shot-blocker and led the Heat with an absurd 80.7 field goal percentage. Andersen's ability to follow-up rebounds with buckets and to convert shots on cuts to the basket was crucial for the Heat's success.
Factor in the contagious energy he plays with, and the Heat got an absolute steal for the vet's minimum.
4. Amnestying Mike Miller
While I agree with Miami's decision to amnesty Miller, this move figures to be the only one out of the four made by the Heat this offseason that could backfire.
Miller came through significantly for the Heat in their past two championship runs. His seven threes in Game 5 of the 2012 NBA Finals and his shoeless three-pointer during the Heat's fourth-quarter comeback in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals will never be forgotten.
The Heat have plenty of shooters, but Miller proved to be the best when it mattered most.
He had also carved out a role as insurance when Dwyane Wade was hit with the injury bug. Losing that safety blanket going forward hurts for Miami.
It's not out of the realm of possibility that the Heat could meet up with Miller's new team, the Memphis Grizzles, in the NBA Finals next season. If Miller plays any role in preventing Miami win a title next year, the decision to amnesty him will be one that forever haunts the Heat.
Considering all of that, this was still the right move for Miami to make. To keep Miller would have cost the Heat around $40 million in luxury tax implications over the next two seasons.
We can't let Miller's stellar post-season play let us lose sight of the fact that Miller was an end-of-the-rotation player. He averaged just 15.3 minutes in the 59 games he appeared in last season. It's asking a lot of owner Micky Arison's wallet to let go of $40 million for a guy who's playing that little.
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