Miami Heat: 7 Players to Replace Mario Chalmers at Point Guard
The Miami Heat need to find a suitable replacement at the point guard position moving forward if the team is serious about earning a title.
With Mario Chalmers being a restricted free agent, it's imperative that the team does not overpay in an effort to retain the incumbent starter.
After coming so close to securing the championship in 2010-11, the club will look to build upon its success, and a new face at the point guard spot would be a welcomed addition.
Here are seven players for the team to target through free agency or trade.
7. Shaun Livingston
Despite the fact that Livingston was recently traded to the Milwaukee Bucks, it's very possible that the veteran point guard could once again be on the move.
Projected to be no higher than third on the depth chart at his position for the Bucks, the team could look to move him to a needy club like the Heat in exchange for future assets.
After a horrifying knee injury that could've de-railed his career entirely, Livingston has fought back and is looking for the right spot to showcase exactly why he was the fourth overall selection in the 2004 draft.
6. Jonny Flynn
After being taken with the sixth overall pick in 2009, Flynn has really failed to make a lasting impression thus far early in his career.
The Syracuse product was sidelined for a bulk of the 2010-11 season after undergoing hip surgery in the prior offseason and he never truly seemed to be right at any point during the campaign.
He couldn't seize hold of the starting spot for the T-Wolves, playing off the bench behind Luke Ridnour, and despite being dealt to the Rockets in a draft day trade, he's going to be behind both Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic if he remains with the team.
Perhaps a new location where he actually has a fair shot at playing time would be best for his confidence, but it's not going to happen with the Rockets.
5. T.J. Ford
A lot of people are quick to write off Ford after he toiled at the end of the Indiana bench, but at just 28 years old, I'm not prepared to do that yet.
The eighth overall pick of the 2003 draft, Ford really hasn't been given a fair shot at a substantial role over the last couple of seasons on an Indiana squad that has been going through a re-building effort.
While he certainly wouldn't be asked to do much for the Heat, Ford could represent a serious upgrade at the point position given his natural basketball I.Q. and affinity to contribute in a number of areas across the stat sheet.
4. Sebastian Telfair
Like Ford, Telfair is a name that often gets overlooked because he has bounced around the league throughout his NBA tenure.
However, we're talking about a guy who's just 26 years old, was the No. 13 overall pick in 2004, and was once touted alongside LeBron James as a top prospect coming out of high school.
While it's safe to say he won't have a career comparable to James', Telfair could flourish in the right situation where all of the pressure is off of him.
It would be interesting to see what he's capable of doing given the overload of talent at his disposal.
3. D.J. Augustin
Augustin seemed to make some significant strides as the unquestioned Bobcats starter last season, but for some reason, Charlotte still seems a little hesitant to invest in him as the point guard of the future.
A very sound fit for Miami, Augustin would bring a game to the Heat that is predicated on success from the perimeter as well as a low turnover rate, two things that the club struggled to get from the point position last season.
He would be an excellent addition for Miami, but the real challenge in coaxing the Bobcats to deal him would be what the team could potentially offer up in return.
After a season where Augustin progressed in the right direction, he certainly won't come cheap.
2. Ramon Sessions
The Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks all expressed interest in acquiring Sessions just before the Cavs made Kyrie Irving the first overall pick, and the veteran remains a distinct possibility to be dealt when the action picks back up.
But let's add a new team to the mix in the Miami Heat. The Bucks are likely out after the team landed Beno Udrih behind Brandon Jennings, and while the Lakers and Knicks could (and should) still express interest, the front-office in Miami should make sure that they have Cavs' GM Chris Grant on speed-dial after the lockout ends.
He's got no future in Cleveland behind Irving, Baron Davis and even Daniel Gibson, and he could actually do quite well if given the opportunity to start, as illustrated by his impressive averages from last season as a starter: 14.5 points per game and 6.0 assists in 38 contests.
1. Kirk Hinrich
With Hinrich's $8 million contract set to expire at the conclusion of the 2011-12 season, the Hawks would be wise to pursue a trade for the veteran.
Jeff Teague finally stepped into his potential and blossomed last year, looking like he was ready to fill the role of full-time starting point guard for Atlanta.
From Miami's perspective, Hinrich brings the exact combination of cerebral play, shooting skills and experience that are all necessary on a club that has its sights set on securing a championship.