The Miami Heat trimmed its roster to the league-required 15 this weekend, cutting undrafted free agents Jason Richards and David Padgett.
Richards, an undrafted point guard just kind of hanging out on the roster after a season-ending knee injury, saw his fate sealed by the signing of Shaun Livingston. Padgett gave the Heat some decent minutes in preseason, and I would have preferred to see Miami release archaic former All-Star Jamaal Magloire and give the young undrafted big an extended look. But with the Heat already apparently taking a small luxury tax hit on Livingston, that was never going to happen.
So the 15-man is set. Here it is:
C Udonis Haslem Mark Blount Jamaal Magloire
PF Michael Beasley Joel Anthony
SF Shawn Marion Dorell Wright James Jones Yakhouba Diawara
SG Dwyane Wade Daequan Cook Marcus Banks
PG Chris Quinn Mario Chalmers Shaun Livingston
Now here's the interesting part. Coach Erik Spoelstra indicated that he is trying to shoehorn that roster into a tight eight-man rotation.
"I'd like to get to an eight-man rotation where the ninth guy is a guy to help out if somebody needs a blow," Spoelstra said. "I think that would be important to this team to develop that type of cohesiveness."
I think it's important to note that Spoelstra said he would "like to get" to an eight-man rotation, not that he necessarily knows which eight guys will be a part of it. He does say later in the story that he has a lineup and rotation in mind for Wednesday's game against the Knicks, but doesn't say that it would necessarily be the eight-man rotation that will eventually be the Heat's standard group. Maybe I'm overanalyzing, but you kind of have to do that with quotes from NBA coaches.
Wade is saying he's cool with the roster as it stands, citing Haslem's athletic advantages at center:
“If Udonis is at the five it’s going to be hard for people to keep up with him running up and down the floor. We’ve got advantages, and we’ve got to take advantage of that.”
I'm wondering how exactly that roster fits into eight slots. Wade, Marion, Beasley and Haslem are guaranteed spots. Magloire and Jones are injured and will complicate things later, but not now. Anthony, to my extreme disappointment, and Diawara have proven too limited offensively to warrant major minutes. So that leaves Quinn, Chalmers, Banks, Livingston, Blount, Wright, and Cook fighting for four spots.
Quinn will probably start at point guard, so he's got one. Blount's the lone 7-footer and only big man reserve, so he's in. Livingston's probably out for now, as the Heat will probably let his knee continue to progress in practice.
The Post has it breaking down this way, with Cook even behind Diawara on the depth chart.
As for the starting lineup, the Heat will likely go with Quinn, Wade, Marion, Beasley and Haslem at center. The three-man bench will likely consist of Banks, Blount and either Wright, Diawara or Chalmers, with Chalmers seeming to have the inside track.
Diawara has been pretty awful this preseason, so I'd like to see him removed from the conversation. It would make sense to me to give both Wright and Chalmers some regular run, though Wright is severely squeezed by the existing glut of interchangeable forwards. We will see on Wednesday, I suppose.