Earlier today the Charlotte Bobcats waived center Erick Dampier, voiding his non-guaranteed $13 million contract. Now there will be a 48-hour waiver period before he can sign with any team he wants. They acquired him in a trade with the Dallas Mavericks back in July in exchange for Tyson Chandler, but have been unable to reach an agreement on a new contract and had been looking for a trade partner to dump Dampier.
The Bobcats needed to get under the NBA luxury tax, and now without Dampier's $13 million hit they are able to do so. What does this mean for the Heat? Well the story is that a long-time friend of Dampier's from his hometown of Jackson, Mississippi has said that Miami would be ‘at the top of his list if he is released'. The Miami Herald is also reporting that Dampier's reps have informed the Bobcats of his desire to play in Miami as well.
Here's the thing. The Heat can still just offer the $1.4 million veterans minimum because they are over the salary cap. If Dampier signs elsewhere he can make up to the $5.8 million mid-level exception. So how much does he want to play for an NBA title, and does that desire supersede making the all-important buck?
You also have to take into account that the Heat already has four centers under contract for next season. Joel Anthony, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Jamaal Magloire and Dexter Pittman are all signed up for the upcoming season, though many people feel like that stable of big's isn't enough for the Heat to compete.
Dampier is known as a very good rebounder, averaging over 7 boards a game in each of the last five years while playing under 25 minutes a game. He's a career 49.7% shooter from the field, but will be more of a help on the defensive end. Along with the rebounds, Dampier is also a very good shot blocker.
He's no Joel Anthony, but Dampier has still averaged over a block a game in each year of this decade. The only question is where would he fit on this roster. Essentially he could step right in and start, but he could also end up 3rd on the depth chart behind Joel and Big Z.