Unexpected Moves Miami Heat Could Make in Free Agency
The 2014 offseason promises to be awfully eventful for the Miami Heat.
Not only is this the Summer of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, but Norris Cole currently has the lone guaranteed contract on the Heat's books for the 2014-15 season, meaning there are any number of possibilities for what this Miami team will look like next season.
With that, brings the potential for the Heat to get creative this summer.
We're going to take a look at some of the more unexpected potential moves Miami could make this offseason, examining their probability and impact on the team's future.
Sign Carmelo Anthony
While the idea of Carmelo Anthony coming to South Beach has picked up steam recently, it's highly doubtful that the move will come to fruition.
To make it happen, Miami would need to sign Anthony and re-sign LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh for contracts well below each player's market value.
As Sam Amick of USA Today points out, Carmelo might have to turn down a five-year, $129 million contract with the New York Knicks and sign for four years and $50 million with Miami if he wants to create a Big Four. It's one thing to ask these stars to take a pay cut. It's another thing to ask them to take a pay cut like that.
There's a reason Pat Riley called adding Anthony a "pipe dream" (via Joseph Goodman of The Miami Herald). But The Godfather also noted the same things were said when he convinced LeBron and Bosh to join Wade in Miami four years ago.
Although there's a strong case to be made that Miami would be better off signing a few solid role players instead of jeopardizing its financial flexibility by signing another star, signing Carmelo would presumably guarantee LeBron's return to Miami.
From that standpoint, the move is a no-brainer for the Heat.
Whether they can actually pull off the stunning signing promises to be one of the more interesting subplots of the offseason.
Sign Eric Bledsoe
Eric Bledsoe is a very good point guard, a friend of LeBron James and a free agent (restricted), so naturally there is a little chatter about the possibility of him coming to the Heat.
Even though Miami would love to bring Bledsoe in, don't expect this move to happen. Not only is the 24-year-old Bledsoe likely to command max money or near it, but his restricted status means the Suns have the ability to match any offer given to him.
If the Heat were somehow able to clear enough money to sign Bledsoe or land him in a sign-and-trade with the Phoenix Suns, Miami would obviously be getting younger and making an enormous upgrade at the point guard position, as Bledsoe averaged 17.7 points and 5.5 assists last year.
Plus, as with adding Anthony, bringing aboard a talent like Bledsoe could be the necessary enticement to lure James back to Miami.
Given Bledsoe's age and restricted status, this might qualify as even more of a pipe dream than signing Anthony. But this is a summer in which the Heat must explore any and all options.
Re-Sign Mario Chalmers
It's pretty remarkable that we've reached a point in which Miami re-signing the starting point guard that helped it win two of the last three NBA titles would be unexpected.
But this is what Mario Chalmers' disastrous performance in the 2014 NBA Playoffs, and specifically the league finals, has done. Rio averaged 4.4 points on 33.3 percent shooting from the floor vs. the San Antonio Spurs, leading many to believe the Heat won't want him back next season.
Still, there is another side to this. Chalmers' poor play at the end of the season almost certainly is going to result in the decline of his free-agent market value. If that's true to such a degree that Chalmers could be signed for just a few million dollars annually, the Heat would have to give a long look at bringing him back.
As terrible as Chalmers was vs. the Spurs, he still had a solid regular season, averaging 9.8 points (on 38.5 percent three-point shooting) and 4.9 assists.
Although it's not a move that would excite the Heat fanbase, bringing Rio back could make a lot of sense if it comes at the correct price.
Not Make a Splash
Considering LeBron, Wade and Bosh have taken paycuts before, the expectation is that if they return to the Heat, they will do so after opting out and re-signing at a discounted rate, freeing up cap space for Miami to target mid-to-top-tier free agents.
However, there remains the possibility the Heat get their three stars back but are left without much financial flexibility.
If the Big Three simply decide to run it back and opt-in to their current contract with Miami, the Heat can still improve, but it won't be be signing someone like Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry.
B/R's Ethan J. Skolnick recently broke down what Miami would have to work with in this scenario: "One of the mid-level exceptions, two trade exceptions, two draft choices or by signing players who may take less to come to Miami."
It's not the most exciting scenario, but Pat Riley and Co. lack the power to prevent it. LeBron, Wade and Bosh hold all the cards here.
Trade Up in the Draft
The Heat have never been known to place a big emphasis on building its roster through the draft. Furthermore, they are clearly in a win-now mode, so trading up come June 26 is improbable.
But Riley has stated the team needs to get younger, and it's difficult to disagree with him, given how old Miami looked vs. the Spurs.
Perhaps there's a scenario in which the Heat have fallen in love with an impact prospect and feel they need to make a move to land him while showing LeBron that they're willing to put the right young pieces around him.
However, with this being a deep draft and Miami—even picking at No. 26 overall—in a position to grab an immediate contributor (such as Connecticut's Shabazz Napier), don't count on seeing the front office pulling off any draft-day magic.