Unless you lived in a cave somewhere for the past few months, you are well aware that the Miami Heat are not the current reigning NBA champions. This past NBA season is considered to many residents of South Florida as a complete and utter failure, due to the fact that their beloved Heat couldn't pull out a win in the final games that mattered. There is much hope beyond the horizon, however, and, barring a complete season-cancelling lockout, the Heat could be back with a vengeance.
Miami's core talent consists of the "big three" of LeBron, Wade and Bosh—but, as the entire world was witness to this past year, they cannot do it alone. Dallas won the championship because of Dirk (obviously), solid role players, and an all-around balanced team that was determined to become champions.
Next season, the Heat are hoping to avenge their finals loss and become the champions they believe they can be. It's not just D-Wade and LeBron who believe this is their year to shine, there is also a number of veteran free agents looking to re-sign and get another shot at a title.
It never hurts to have a solid veteran presence in the locker room, but are these players the right choice for the Heat? Who should stay and who should be forgotten? Let's explore which veteran players the Heat will likely re-sign for their possible last shot at a ring.
Say what you will about Bibby, but he was still a decent point guard in Miami for most of the season/playoffs. Of all the veterans on the team, Bibby probably feels the youngest and feels like he's a big reason the Heat made it so far.
Whether that's true or not is up for discussion, but Bibby definitely contributed to this season's Heat and believes they have what it takes to win a championship in the near future. My guess is that the little PG will take any money he can get for another chance at earning a ring.
Juwan Howard is a veteran thug—not the bad type of thug, but the type you want when you get into a tussle on the floor and need some backup. Besides being a solid veteran presence who isn't a center (the Heat have those in spades), Howard is a gritty, tough forward who will play his man and earn his minutes.
His clock is ticking and the former Fab 5 member knows next season may be his last shot at a title. Look for Howard to stay in South Beach and do what he can to help bring it home—whether it be dishing out advice or dishing out some punches.
When Joel Anthony can't quite get it done, or gets into foul trouble, the Heat have a number of veteran centers to back him up. The question is whether Miami is willing to sign both Erick Dampier AND Jamaal Magloire who undoubtedly would love to sign and get another shot at a championship. Dampier played twice as much as Magloire did, even if that still isn't a lot of playing time at all.
My opinion? Dampier stays and Magloire goes. One Canadian center is good enough for Miami.
We don't only need to talk about current Heat players who want to sign; there are other vets out there looking to be a part of a championship club. And yes, that's Michael Redd in a picture from playing with Team USA at the Olympics in 2008. Could he want to join the party with his national team buds in Miami? For sure.
Redd has been a bit under the radar in recent years, but could be looking to score big as either a point guard option or off-the-bench scoring help for the Miami Heat. Redd is a baller when he's healthy and could do some damage for the Heat. At 31 years of age, this could be Redd's last hope.
Sure, the Kings have a good thing going now, but that good thing could be pushing block-machine Samuel Dalembert away. Besides, whatever the Kings may be doing rebuilding-wise, is certainly not going to vault them to Miami Heat-level status in the near future. Dalembert could look to take his blocking talents to South Beach in hopes of getting something he never came close to in Philly or Sacramento—an NBA championship.
It's tough to say that Ford is a veteran, considering he was drafted only a few spots below Wade, Bosh and LeBron, but he definitely is a cheap PG who is looking for a shot at the big time. If Miami is looking to freshen up their point guard position, Ford could fit in rather nicely. He definitely would know he is not the star in town and would gladly bolster his assist totals, but he could also be acquired very easily for the league minimum. Sounds good to me.
As a fan, you may not like to hear this, but the Heat could very well sign Eddy Curry—who they invited to work out in late June—to a league minimum contract this season. Curry, when healthy, is a beast—he's seven-feet tall and knows how to use every inch. If Miami grants Curry one last shot at a title, I'll bet he could make his mark on this team and provide some inside force off the bench.
Here are some facts:
Martin is 33 years old.
Denver just drafted Kenneth "rebound machine" Faried.
K-Mart likes winning more than he likes Denver.
He has never won a championship.
Seems like he could make a nice fit in Miami. Put him on the bench, have him back up Chris Bosh, use his explosiveness in positive short bursts and limit his opportunities for injury. This could be the right recipe for bringing K-Mart to the Heat in hopes for another championship run—this time with a positive outcome.
Hang on. Hear me out, okay? Kwame may be considered by many to be one of the biggest busts in NBA history, but many critics would be singing a different tune if he was taken any number of spots lower in the draft. But he wasn't, fine. I get it.
The fact is that Kwame just needs the right motivation. Motivation like, "sign with us for next to nothing in order to have a pretty solid chance at a ring and you get to work with Pat Riley as a bonus! Oh, did we mention the big three?" That's some damn good motivation.
Riley could help Kwame grow the way he helped Alonzo Mourning—not saying the two players are on the same level, but Riley just makes big men better and he could really help out the Heat when they need some bench depth. With barely anyone in the league taking a chance on him, Kwame should be jumping at an opportunity like this one.
J-Rich is an explosive shooter/dunker with some serious talent, and could provide a lot of help for the Miami Heat off the bench. While he will have to check his ego at the door, J-Rich knows how to score and could be willing to opt for the league minimum in order to be that extra puzzle piece for the Heat's hopes for an upcoming title run. He's a vet with a decade of experience, but the athleticism of a sophomore.
If Richardson wants to go deep in the playoffs, something that's not happening in Orlando, he should hop on the I-95 South for about three hours and check out South Beach. He could fit in very nicely on this team.