Let's take a look at the facts. The Heat is still in need of a veteran presence at the point. Despite Pat Riley saying that Miami is still unlikely to sign any players this off-season, they as recently as last week had Shavlik Randolph down for a visit, or ‘try out'. Now let the record show that I am totally in favor of the Heat bringing in another guard, but what I don't understand is why the Heat would have someone like Randolph in for a visit when they could possibly sign Allen Iverson or Jamaal Tinsley for the same price. Granted, Randolph isn't a guard, but with the Heat having Udonis Haslem and Michael Beasley to play the 4, I don't see why they would spend any money on anything except a veteran guard.
Should the Heat bring in a free-agent point guard, they will almost certainly be signing them at the veterans' minimum salary. So why would you sign a guy like Shavlik Randolph when for the same price you could get Allen Iverson? I know there are a lot of people out there who look at Iverson as tainted, someone who will do more damage to the team then good....but I'm not of that same opinion.
First of all, should Iverson end up in Miami, it would only be for 1 year. There is only so much damage that can be done in one season, especially for a guy who is trying to repair a damaged image.
The whole situation in Detroit last season was a mess from the very beginning, and you have to wonder why the Pistons even made a move like that. I understand that they felt Chauncey Billups was on the decline, and there was a younger guy waiting in the wings (Stuckey), but you would think they'd have at least discussed the possibility of Iverson moving to the bench with the player instead of just letting thins ride out the way they did.
However, the situation with the Heat would be different. Iverson knows now what his roll would be with Miami, and I'm sure that is something that would be discussed between he and Pat Riley several times before any contract is signed.
Last week in an interview with NBA TV, Iverson made some interesting comments. First, about still being a free agent much later in the summer then he expected:
"I thought it would be a fun process, but obviously it hasn't been, just for the fact that I don't think it's that tough on me, personally, but it's kind of rough on my family, my wife not knowing where we're going to be at, and having to get the kids in school and get them adjusted somewhere. But it's a business and it's a process that I have to go through and I'm willing to get through it."
No shock that a player with an ego like Iverson would've expected to be signed by this point of the off-season. The much more interesting quotes came after he was asked about possibly taking a back seat, or reserve role, with whatever team he signed with. After what went down in Detroit last season, there are a lot of question marks around Iverson and his willingness to be a good teammate and do what's best for the team he is playing for.
"Everybody makes a big deal out of the coming-off-the-bench thing. It was never even an issue until it happened in Detroit," he said. "Nobody ever talked about me coming off the bench until the situation happened in Detroit and then that put it in people's minds, and gave them something to think about and something to talk about. I want to win. I want to contribute. I want to be a part of some type of success, whether it's on a championship team or if it's on a team that's on the up-rise. With me signing with somebody, I want it to be with somebody that's dedicated to trying to win a championship. I have a lot of things on my resume. I've done a lot of things in my career. But it's just that one missing piece, that one missing piece to my resume, and that's a championship. At this point in my career, that should be the only thing that's important to me and that's the only thing that is important."
That can be taken a few different ways...but here is my take. The first part of that quote, the part about coming off the bench, seems like he is saying that him being a ‘back up' shouldn't be a consideration. That just because the Pistons thought he should come off the bench, why should anyone else. But then he goes on to say that he just wants to be part of a winning team, no matter if they are fighting for a title or just a playoff spot. As long as the ultimate goal is a championship, that's what he is going for. The ‘one missing piece' from his resume.
Personally, I think Iverson would be the best bet for Miami right now. I'm sure there are plenty of you who disagree with me, but hear me out. Pat Riley wouldn't sign anyone who wasn't down with whatever the teams' plans for next season are. In Iverson's case, his role would likely be to come off the bench but still get around 25 minutes a game. Remember, even though Mario Chalmers started every game last season, he only played about half the game. How much does ‘starting' a game mean to a player if you are still getting significant playing time? We shall see.
Since day one of Pat Riley coming out and telling us about his plan for the summer of 2010 I have been totally in his corner. I can be rational and realize that if our best chance at building a championship team and maybe even a dynasty-like team is though the free agents of next summer, then I can deal with a season of mediocrity. However, it seems that I am in the minority. More and more people are coming out and saying that winning ‘now' is better then waiting for perhaps a better opportunity. Sure, either way it's a roll of the dice...but I feel that we'd be better off with the same core players (Wade, Beasley, Cook, Chalmers) and another superstar for years to come instead of making more drastic moves to get someone now. I thought the idea of trading Beasley was crazy when he have clearly barely scratched the surface of what this guy can do.
Remember how for a little while it seemed very likely that the Heat would be acquiring Chris Bosh, either in a trade this offseason or simply by waiting until after the season was over? Well, those days are far-gone. Now, Bosh appears to be happy with staying put in Toronto since the team has made some moves in an attempt to keep the superstar happy. Here is what he said last week:
"(I) like that we're not sitting around, waiting around, putting all our eggs in the basket and saying we're going to wait for 2010 because we want to have (salary) cap space to get players you might not be able to sign," Bosh told the Globe and Mail of Toronto. "The do-it-now approach is very motivating for everyone."
While he was speaking in general, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to read between the lines and see that he may be talking about Miami. I'm not as distressed about what Bosh said as I am about the idea that Dwyane Wade very well may think the same way (remember, Wade and Bosh are good friends and share the same agent).
Sure, the Heat made some efforts to bring in Lamar Odom and inquired about Carlos Boozer, but nothing came from any of that. Our big move of the summer was to bring in Quentin Richardson and get rid of the contract of Mark Blount. For someone like me, that's a great move, and I'm happy with the team we're going into the season with. Sure, I'd love to see a veteran guard join the squad, but I still see the possibilities of next summer. However, Bosh, Wade and who knows who else may not see things the same way.
The hardest part of this whole situation for us, the unknowing Heat fans, are that we have no idea what the major players of this screenplay are thinking. What does Riley think about the possibility of Wade being impatient? How about Wade; is he cool with waiting until next summer knowing that Riley made attempts at signing guys this summer but nothing worked out? Have the two spoken at all about it? You have to assume they have, but nothing is certain and we're all just sitting around waiting. The good thing is that the offseason hourglass is almost out of sand. We're going to get answers one way or the other...but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't' getting a little concerned.
The bottom line is very simple for me, as it should be for any Heat fan: Do whatever you have to do in order to keep Dwyane Wade here in Miami, to keep him happy, and to build a team around him. We've got the tools and the young talent to have something special brewing, but without Wade, it could all be for not. For now, all we can do is wait, and hope...