NBA Free Agents 2011: What Pat Riley Needs To Do To Improve the Miami Heat

Joseph BeguiristainContributor IINovember 29, 2011

NBA Free Agents 2011: What Pat Riley Needs To Do To Improve the Miami Heat

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    Pat Riley has a history of pulling off great deals during free agency and at the trade deadline.

    He brought Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway to Miami in the '90s. He brought in Shaquille O'Neal, Jason Williams and James Posey to a team that would go on to win the 2006 NBA Championship along with Dwyane Wade (a player he drafted). And of course, he brought in LeBron James and Chris Bosh last summer.

    During this free-agency period, there are quite a few intriguing names on the market that Riley should convince to bring in. Here are the five things Riley needs to do to make sure the Miami Heat make the NBA Finals once again.

1. Sign Samuel Dalembert

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    Samuel Dalembert to Miami seems like the most likely fit for both sides. The Miami Heat need a center that is competent on offense and that has the defensive skill set the Heat pride themselves on. Samuel Dalembert provides both of these.

    In addition, Dalembert lives in Boca Raton, FL which is only about an hour-and-a-half away from Miami. He also has many relatives that live in Miami and he is close to his native Haiti.

    Last season, Dalembert averaged 8.1 points per game on 47 percent shooting, 8.2 rebounds per game and 1.5 blocks. Looking at the slew of centers on the Heat's roster last season, none of them come close to that production. The closest was Zydrunas Ilgauskas who is now retired. He averaged five points and four rebounds a game last season.

    Undoubtedly Pat Riley will do all in his power to get Samuel Dalembert to play for the Heat.

2. Sign Shane Battier

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    Shane Battier is a true professional in the NBA and I think he would be a great addition for the Miami Heat. Battier can fill that James Posey role by playing lockdown defense and stretching the defense from behind the arc. Signing Battier is less of a pipe dream than Dalembert because Battier's salary matches the mid-level exception better.

    Last season for the Grizzles, Battier averaged 7.6 points, 2.3 assists and 4.5 rebounds a game. He can be a solid contributor off the bench, especially if Mike Miller continues to struggle.

3. Sign T.J. Ford

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    T.J. Ford isn't a big-name acquisition, but he is a solid point guard that really hasn't gotten his chance and can be had for cheap. In Indiana, he never really fit the system that former coach Jim O'Brien ran and current coach Frank Vogel runs.

    With the Heat, Ford should be able to finally find his niche playing with two of the top five players in the game today. Ford last season averaged 5.4 points and 3.4 assists per game.

4. Give Norris Cole a Shot

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    It will probably take a little while for Cole to become acclimated to the NBA, especially coming into a situation with so much pressure, but I think it is imperative that he gets a legitimate shot to start.

    Cole was a flat-out scorer at Cleveland State. Cole averaged nearly 22 points, five assists and six rebounds a game this past season. He showed his talent and how he plans to bring it to South Beach in his 41-point, 20-rebound, nine-assist performance against Youngstown State last season.

    People may be skeptical about his competition in the Horizon League, but as Cole put it, “I feel basketball is basketball. The Horizon League has great teams that you may not know, and there is good guard play, so every night I was going up against a good matchup.”

    The only gripe I have about this guy is why lose the high top?

5. Sign Eddy Curry or Kwame Brown If Samuel Dalembert Wants Too Much Money

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    If Samuel Dalembert ends up signing with another team for more money, I believe Eddy Curry or Kwame Brown can be decent pickups.

    Eddy Curry has tried out for the Heat a few times now and each time he has walked away without a deal. I think if Curry is really dedicated to be a part of something special, he will make the team and contribute. He plans to work out with the Heat soon.

    Considered one of the biggest busts ever, Kwame Brown might get a laugh or two if the Heat were to acquire him. But the Heat need youth at the center position, and he can be had for the league minimum. He averaged nearly eight points and seven rebounds on 51 percent shooting this past season.

Something Will Get Done

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    Other players that would be great are Caron Butler and Nene, however, I think those guys aren't realistic due to the Heat's financial constraints.

    All in all, you know Pat Riley will do something in free agency that will improve the Heat as always. Playing with the Big Three isn't all that bad either.