Due to the expiration of Mickell Gladness’ second 10-day contract, the Miami Heat have one available roster spot. The team didn’t make a transaction during the March 15 trade deadline, but still could look to add a player to bolster the frontcourt.
Most of the available players won’t make much of an impact. The Heat aggressively courted Troy Murphy as a buyout candidate last year, but he hardly found playing time after he signed with Boston. Even the buyout player the Heat signed last year, Mike Bibby, wasn't a long-term solution to the Heat's point guard problems. At the very least, though, Pat Riley wants someone who can help Miami for the rest of the season and playoffs. Here is a list of potential buyout candidates and free agents the Heat could sign.
Chris Kaman: Pat Riley has targeted Chris Kaman as a buyout candidate for at least a month. The seventh pick in the 2003 NBA Draft and one-time All-Star would resolve most of the Heat’s deficiencies at the center position, likely becoming a starter after getting familiar with Miami’s system. He is a good rebounder and can score in the post, two areas that Joel Anthony has a difficult time filling. But Hornets general manager Dell Demps said that buying out Kaman is a long shot, so he represents more of a dream scenario than a realistic one.
Ronny Turiaf: Fox Sports Florida’s Chris Tomasson tweeted March 15 that the Denver Nuggets will waive the 6-foot-10 power forward to make room for Wilson Chandler. The player who was drafted just eight spots after Wayne Simien – Miami’s draft pick in 2005 – has played in just four games this season with a broken hand. But he was cleared to play Tuesday and may stand as the best, most realistic option for the Heat. He can rebound, plays with passion and can even slide over to the center position against some teams. Turiaf was a rotation player for the Los Angeles Lakers during their 2008 run to the Finals, and is only 29 years old, young for a buyout candidate. If the Heat sign Turiaf, the former Gonzaga standout would help relieve Udonis Haslem and Chris Bosh.
Jermaine O’Neal: Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the 7-footer would like to return to Miami, and Celtics coach Doc Rivers said that he doesn’t expect O’Neal to play another game in a Celtics uniform. The 33-year-old re-aggravated a left wrist injury before the All-Star break, and hasn't played since. O’Neal has not rebounded well since his heyday in Indiana, and much of his offense comes from pick-and-pops, which Bosh already does. O'Neal and Bosh actually played together on the Toronto Raptors in 2008-09, and it didn't work. The Heat will most likely sign O’Neal if the other options aren’t more appealing.
Dan Gadzuric: The 10-year NBA veteran currently plays for the Texas Legends of the NBA D-League. He’s nearly averaging a double-double now and still has more mobility than Eddy Curry. If Gadzuric signs with Miami, he’d most likely serve as a stopgap option.
Francisco Elson: Tomasson reported that some discussions between the Heat front office and the free agent have taken place. He was a rotation player for the San Antonio Spurs during their 2007 title run, but the 36-year-old center would probably only serve as an insurance guy at this stage of his career.
Rasheed Wallace: The retired power forward reportedly worked out with the Heat a few weeks ago. Wallace last played during the 2009-10 season with the Boston Celtics, and looked out-of-shape and unproductive throughout the year. Like Elson, Wallace probably won’t handle a significant role with the team and instead serve as an insurance option in case someone gets injured.
Greg Oden: The Blazers waived the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft to make room for other players they traded for. The once-promising center who has now undergone three microfracture surgeries wants to play again, and Pat Riley reportedly offered him a contract last December. Oden can't play this season, but the Heat may want to sign him now so he can work with the team's training staff and doctors. If the Heat tried Curry as a solution to the center position, they'll try anyone.