Who Should the Miami Heat Really Be Targeting This Summer?

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Now that the glorious signing period for the heralded Free Agent Class of 2010 is officially less than a month away and most of the Miami Heat’s likely targets have already officially begun their off-season, my brain is on official overload concerning the roster moves Pat Riley & Co just might be scheming up. Over the next several days and weeks, I will rank who I believe the Heat should go after position-by-position. I will begin with power forward. I chose this position is first because there are so many available, and because the Heat need someone reliable to play the position because of the instability of Michael Beasley’s play/future combined with Udonis Haslem’s possible/likely exit.

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1. Chris Bosh Of the big forwards available, Bosh is simply the one with the most overall talent. He took a big step forward in the rebounding and toughness departments with his play in 2009-10. He has the ability to get his own shot, and that would benefit Dwyane Wade greatly. Bosh is also an underrated helpside defender. It’s going to take max money to sign Bosh (which according to Cap projections is just under $17 million per), but the service he will provide is ultimately worth it. While he is the top priority (in my opinion), it’s about more than just him wanting to give it a whirl in South Beach. If he chooses to not leave the cupboard bare in Toronto and allow the Raptors to facilitate his move via sign-and-trade, him coming to Miami is all but impossible.

 

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2. Carlos Boozer Boozer can’t get his own shot with the same amount of success as Chris Bosh, but having Booz as the #2 option in a much more effectively run offensive system would be a good problem to have—just ask the Utah Jazz. He works hard and positions himself well to get rebounds. Booz is also a willing passer. He has been at or near the top of the League among power forwards in assists for several seasons running. Some of that is the system he’s been in, but hopefully Coach Erik Spoelstra will actually install a system in training camp, and a passer is still a passer, right? I can see Boozer signing in the $13-$15 million per range, plus he’s likely out in Utah because of their cap situation, Paul Millsap, and the fact that the Jazz have the 10th pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.

 

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3. David Lee I’m high on Lee because he’s such a hard worker. One of the funniest—and most true—things I’ve seen in written media is as follows: SLAMonline was having a nickname contest for David Lee. The best name offered up (in my opinion) was "Shawshank Redemption." The user’s rationale was that Lee, as a hardworking guy, was the only person on the Knick’s roster who didn’t deserve to be there. I don’t know if that guy won the free t-shirt, but he should’ve. All jokes aside, David Lee won’t be a 20-10-4 guy at his next stop, but he’s still going to work hard. I expect his rebound numbers to stay about the same, and his point production to cool off, but he’ll still average a double-double—even if his next coach never calls a play for him. He’ll get 10 points a game off offensive rebound and putback situations and just being in the right place at the right time. Lee is an even more intriguing fit with an extra playmaker on the wing (say, Joe Johnson) and a defensive stopper holding down the center position. Plus, he’ll probably be the cheapest player ever coming off an All-Star season. I see him going for $10-$11 million per.

 

 

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4. Dirk Nowitzki This guy would be higher on the list, but I have concerns about his age. Because of his style of play, however, Dirk could play well into his 30s—a la Jason Kidd and former teammate Steve Nash. He’s one of those rare guys who can have a perimeter-based game yet still average 8 or better rebounds per game for most of his career. Dirk takes his game to the block when needed, but he’s mostly a finesse player (you know that going in), and he’s a damn good finesse player at that. Plus, his rebounds were a little down this season because he had the three-headed combo of Erick Dampier/Drew Gooden/Brendan Haywood gobbling up a lot of rebounds (that Shawn Marion guy is no slouch in that department either). Due to his age, he may be willing to take a little less than a max deal with the guarantee of four additional years with double digit-millions in each. I could see him signing with the right Championship-caliber team (like the Heat) for $14-$15 million per. He, like Bosh, may elect to get some talent for his former team in return if he opts to leave. In which case, he probably wouldn’t even be in play for the Miami Heat—that’s if Presidential Pat has any interest in him anyway.

 

 

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5. Amare Stoudemire Why do I have STAT so low on my list of power forward prospects (behind Shawshank and an aging Dirk Nowitzki)? I just don’t see his game meshing with the Heat into a Championship combination. Is he an upgrade? Yes! But there are a few things that concern me about Stoudemire. First is his idea that he is—without question—worth a max contract. Sure he shut up and played ball and put up sick offensive numbers over the last 20 games or so of the 09-10 campaign. Sure he put in a phenomenal 40+ points in against the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals when the Suns’ backs were all but against the wall. The problem is he should not have needed his team to get embarrassed to put in such work. He’s also a little moody. He makes misguided attempts to lead his troops when he himself is in need of a solid mentor. It also concerns me that a 6’10 guy who is often the most physically gifted athlete on the court has as his career high in rebounds and average of 9.6 per game. His mid-range jumper is semi-respectable, but he’s not out there jacking up a lot of perimeter shots each game. Rebounds (again, my opinion) are the single most telling statistic you can look at to determine how hard a post player works when he’s on the floor. I’m just saying. It’s going to take max money to sign Stoudemire—unless all the other teams with cap space refuse to give in to the temptation to feed into an overbidding frenzy for his services—but faced with the prospect of not upgrading the position at all, I think you have to pay the guy. But I would only do so after failing to work out something for Bosh, Boozer, Lee, or Dirk (in that order).

 

Feel free to agree or disagree in the comment section. I’d love to know what other fans think about this. Stay tuned for the next most important position for the Heat to upgrade!

 

 

 

 


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