NBA Free Agency 2011: Key Targets the Miami Heat Should Aim for This Summer
Although the playoffs are in full swing and the Miami Heat has appeared to hit its stride, it's always fun to take a look into the future and take a few guesses as to who could land where next season.
Let's take a look at who the Heat should have its eye on this summer.
I'm sure there will be many who scoff at this suggestion, but let's be honest here, it's no secret that Miami's most glaring need heading into next season lies in the center position. Brown could be a cheap option who possibly could thrive (somewhat) playing alongside Wade and James.
Let's be clear, though; by no means am I saying the Heat should definitely pursue Brown. Keep an eye on the possibility? Sure, but make him their first priority? Of course not.
Since giving up millions of dollars and coming to South Beach to compete for a title alongside James, Wade and Bosh, Bibby has grown comfortable with the Heat organization and earned himself a solid starting role.
Although he has had some shaky moments in his short time in a Heat uniform this year, there's no reason to think it wouldn't be good to have a veteran like Bibby on board in Miami next year.
There were talks of the Heat pursuing Allen last season, so why not now? I know it's not likely, but Allen is approaching the end of his career and there's no denying that the Celtics' window is closing quickly. If he wants to immediately compete for more championships, Miami is probably one of the best, if not his best bet.
Why not come down to South Beach and join the younger Big Three?
Heading into the season, Tyson Chandler may have been one of the more realistic options for Miami to pursue this summer. However, things have changed.
Chandler has had an exceptional year and appears to have essentially played his way out of Miami's price range. Unless he takes a pay cut to take his talents to South Beach, I don't think this is very likely.
When it comes to Mario Chalmers' popularity amongst Heat fans, there is no grey area. Either you love him or you hate him.
If Chalmers is on your bad side, this is certainly understandable, as he has his fair share of moments that make you say, "What was he thinking?". However, he also has plenty of moments that contain glimpses of brilliance, making him all the more frustrating for the Heat fan.
Chalmers has progressively gotten better over his team here in Miami, and I think it would suit the Heat well to continue developing the young point guard. I honestly believe Chalmers has very bright days ahead of him.
Another veteran point guard who could provide an immediate and noticeable impact for Miami would be T.J. Ford. Along with his experience of playing in the league, Ford's quickness and ability to create plays would certainly compliment Wade's and James' games very nicely.
Al Thornton, who will be in his fourth year in the league out of Florida State, is a youngster who is very talented and can bring a lot to a team's bench. Along with its weakness at center, it's no secret that the Heat also has had bench issues as far as consistency goes.
Thornton could boost Miami's bench and be a very productive player.
James Jones, the former Hurricane, has quickly grown into a fan favorite during his time as a member of the Heat. He's also come through for Miami on a consistent basis this year, as he's one of the league leaders in the three-point category, and of course, is the reigning three point champion.
Miami will definitely try its best to bring Jones back.
Center Nene Hilario will without a doubt be strongly pressed by the Miami Heat, especially after Nene expressed interest in coming to play in Miami over the past season.
The only question is whether or not he will be willing to take a pay cut, because like Tyson Chandler, Nene's phenomenal year has likely made his price a little bit too much for Miami to afford. However, if the Heat somehow does manage to land Nene, he could be the tipping point to making this team lethal.
Many feel that Samuel Dalembert is the most realistic option for the Heat at center this summer. He's on the older side, won't have too high of a price tag, and shouldn't be that hotly pursued league-wide.
However, remember that the Heat don't need much at the center position, they just need enough to get by. And Dalembert could provide them with that.