In a surprise move, the Miami Heat have given spots on the 15-man roster to Eddy Curry, Terrel Harris and Mickell Gladness, who received non-guaranteed contracts from the team earlier this month. Many people assumed Miami would leave only one spot for young camp invitees Harris and Gladness. The team has cut veteran guard Eddie House.
Pat Riley notoriously values veterans over youthful players with potential. He even said before the lockout that teams don't win championships with inexperienced, athletic players. House certainly had his moments during the 2010-11 season for the Heat, hitting the game-winning 3 in a contest with the Oklahoma City Thunder and even scoring nine points in Game 6 of the 2011 NBA Finals. The 2008 NBA champion did not participate in training camp this year because of offseason knee surgery.
Before the lockout began, I said that Riley should surround the Big Three with younger players. Riley signed a lot of "locker-room guys" like Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Juwan Howard and Jamaal Magloire prior to last season, but they couldn't contribute on the court. By the conference finals, the Heat had five centers -- Joel Anthony, Ilgauskas, Erick Dampier, Magloire and Dexter Pittman -- but only one received minutes, Anthony.
Last season, Pittman, Anthony and Mario Chalmers stood as the only players with fewer than four years of NBA experience. Now the Heat have a veteran-laden group -- Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller, Chalmers, Anthony, Shane Battier and James Jones -- with a lot of young players. In addition to the 24-year-old Harris and the 25-year-old Gladness, the Heat also have two 23-year-olds in Norris Cole and Pittman. This youth movement could also signal a desire from Riley and owner Micky Arison to stockpile young, cheap talent. The NBA will impose a harsher luxury tax penalty system starting in the third year of the new collective bargaining agreement. Arison revealed that he voted against the new CBA because of the increased revenue sharing and cost of keeping the Big Three together.
Like House, Harris can shoot the 3-point shot, making four 3s in the preseason opener. But at 6-foot-5, is not undersized for a shooting guard. Additonally, Harris showed some promise on the defensive end, even taking a charge in Sunday's preseason game. Gladness impressed in Wednesday's game, grabbing six rebounds in just nine minutes. Like last season, the Heat will start the season with four centers.
Below is a list of the Heat's 15-man roster.