While the trade deadline came and went last week, a new deadline is on the minds of a handful of contenders hoping to land the coveted bought-out free agents. Who are the two most notable names atop the list? Point guard Mike Bibby and forward/center Troy Murphy.
After a stunning lost to the newly revived New York Knicks at home and a close road loss to the Chicago Bulls in recent days, the team is desperately seeking offensive reinforcements.
Consider this, in the Heat's last six losses, to New York (twice), Chicago (twice), Atlanta and Boston, all coming against teams likely to be within the top six seeds, the team is averaging 88.3 points per game while allowing an exceptional 92.3 points per game.
The defense is functioning well, but the contenders have found a way to exploit the Heat offensively, which has kept the team from scoring its usual 100 points and being able to close out the opposition.
The Miami Herald had this piece in the Sunday paper:
The Heat would like to sign Mike Bibby if the Wizards give him a buyout; Washington called it unlikely but hasn’t ruled it out. The Heat will explore Troy Murphy if he gets a buyout from Golden State (one report has Boston as the front-runner) and perhaps Indiana’s T.J. Ford, but he’s a poor three-point shooter.
The bottom line is Miami needs to sign at least one or both players or risk another team, an Eastern Conference rival, acquiring him and leaving the Heat more vulnerable than ever.
In Murphy, the 6-foot-11 forward and center would provide perimeter scoring (128 3-pointers in 2009-10 with IND), rebounding (10.2 RPG in 2009-10 with IND) and depth with Udonis Haslem slated to return from his injury around the playoffs.
In Bibby, the Heat would have a much better 3-point shooter (44.1 percent) than Chalmers (35.3 percent), while sacrificing a bit of defense as Chalmers is better in the steals department (1.1 versus 0.7) and, overall, a better-quality one-on-one defender.
In order for it to happen, the Miami Heat would likely have to cut reserve center Jamal Magloire and likely injured center Dexter Pittman (who hasn't seen any playing time between his time in the D-League and is a sideline spectator), seeing as though it is unlikely Miami releases a leader in Carlos Arroyo and a seasoned veteran in Juwan Howard.
If there is any advantage Miami has, it would be the chance to play with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on South Beach, and the sure opportunity to be able to do something on this team that they may not have the chance to do elsewhere: start.
The addition of Mike Bibby and Troy Murphy would not only add on to Pat Riley’s impressive forthcoming Executive of the Year Award credentials, but also give the Heat the lineup that will finally be feared among the NBA’s elite.