Cost-Effective Moves the Miami Heat Could Make in Free Agency

Peter Emerick@@peteremerickSenior Writer IIJune 20, 2013

March 17, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chauncey Billups (1) controls the ball against the New York Knicks during the game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat are one game away from back-to-back NBA titles, but that doesn't mean it's too early to take a look at this upcoming summer of free agency.

Regardless of whether LeBron James and Co. hoist the 2013 Larry O'Brien Trophy or not, they need to be relatively active this offseason.

With aging players like Ray Allen, Mike Miller, Shane Battier and Udonis Haslem, Pat Riley needs to find some talent not only to bolster the Heat's depth, but also to start building for the future of the franchise.

OK, before we get ahead of ourselves, let's get one thing straight. Pat Riley won't be establishing a future for his franchise via free agency, that is, unless he decides to trade one or two parts of the Big Three—Chris Bosh and/or Dwyane Wade.

Before we get into a debate on whether Bosh or Wade hold any significant value in the trade market, let's refocus on the task at hand—finding cost-effective moves the Heat can make to bolster their roster this offseason.

Chris Andersen, C, Miami Heat 

The most obvious move the Heat can make is by retaining the talents of the one and only Birdman, Chris Andersen.

Whether you love him or hate him and his eccentric tattoos, there's no debating that he's the kind of player the Heat need in the paint.

He brings intensity to the court every second he's on the floor, and he's the kind of player who's not going to back down from a challenge or threat—just ask Tyler Hansbrough about that. 

Aside from the energy and intensity he brings, Andersen is also a guy who can clean up the glass and be an interior presence on defense at the same time. Andersen has potential to make some cash this upcoming offseason if he wants to pursue his options, and teams are willing to invest in an aging role player.

But the Heat would be wise to lock him up to a mid-level exception the first moment they can, because he's helped them reach Game 7 in the 2013 NBA Finals. Honestly, without Andersen, the Heat would probably be watching the Indiana Pacers take on the San Antonio Spurs—that's how important he is.

Tony Allen, SG, Memphis Grizzlies

Much like Chris Andersen, the next player on this list, Tony Allen, is the kind of guy who can make a difference on the defensive side of the ball–and that's what the Heat need.

He can bang with players bigger than him, and he can run with the best perimeter players in the game.

Not only is Allen an athletic and versatile defender, but he can also find his stroke along the way.

This past season, Allen averaged 8.9 points and 4.6 rebounds in just 26.7 minutes per game. That's the kind of production the Heat could use coming off their bench, especially if Ray Allen decides to exercise the player option in his contract this offseason.

Allen already has a championship ring, though, so enticing him with the thought of winning another NBA title won't be that easy. Let's be honest, though, who wouldn't want to add another ring to their legacy?

If the Heat could sign Allen to the mid-level exception of around $3 million, they would be making one of the best steals—no pun intended—of the 2013 offseason.

Chauncey Billups, PG, L.A. Clippers

Adding a 37-year-old Chauncey Billups certainly wouldn't make the Miami Heat any younger, but it would give them veteran leadership in the backcourt, which is something a championship-caliber team can always utilize. 

While there's no way the Heat would offer him close to the $3 million he got paid this past season, they could get away with offering him a veteran minimum.

He may not be the player he once was with the Detroit Pistons, but he has a reputation for knocking down big shots time and time again.

Just imagine a small-ball lineup at the end of a game with LeBron, Dwyane Wade, Billups, Ray Allen and Chris Bosh. Talk about having shooting threats all over the court.

Adding Billups would also be a great move for Norris Cole, who could finally learn from a veteran at his position who knows how to win and knows how to control the pace of a game with the best of the best.

Antawn Jamison, PF, L.A. Lakers

There's no doubt Antawn Jamison wasn't happy with his situation early on in the season with the Lakers out West.

He wasn't getting the minutes he was accustomed to, and he wasn't exactly getting that "legitimate shot" at an NBA title like he had hoped.

That all could change if he wants to take his talents to South Beach this offseason.

The Heat need a player who can spread the floor but also be a force in the post and on the glass, and that's exactly who Jamison is. 

LeBron James played with him in Cleveland, and while it didn't work out as well as they had hoped there, Jamison could have the shot at redemption his career and legacy needs in Miami.

This past season, Jamison averaged 9.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in 21.5 minutes per game. That production doesn't point to his ability to still take over games with intelligent play on the post and on the glass, and a long-range shot from the perimeter.

Jamison would be a great addition for the Heat; they would just need to get him for the right price. 

DeJuan Blair, PF/C, San Antonio Spurs

This one would be an odd move, but there's no doubt DeJuan Blair has some serious potential that hasn't been fully realized yet.

Not only his he a ridiculously opportunistic and intelligent rebounder, but he can also finish around the rim with both class and authority, which is rare for a player with his unique size and skill set. 

The Spurs would be foolish not to try to retain his talents this offseason, but that all depends on the growth and maturation of Blair's relationship with Gregg Popovich. 

The Heat need to hope that it completely falls apart and Blair wants to head to a team that can give him a shot at a title while getting actual playing time. The Heat is that team, and adding Blair to their roster would be a very solid move.

While the Heat don't have much money to spend this offseason, there's no doubt that talent is out there for them to get. 

It's all about being smart with their cash, and they've already proved that they can do just that. 


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