With the season now over, let's take a look at a few things to monitor this offseason:
1) Michael Beasley - Don't read into any of the silly "infractions" that Beasley and Mario Chalmers received throughout the season. This is a kid we're dealing with here, everyone knows that. If these infractions were really something worth talking about, I have a hard time believing that Mario Chalmers would have started 82 games. With that said, you're going to hear a lot of talk this offseason about Beasley not being the type of player that fits the Heat culture. I imagine the Michael Beasley for Chris Bosh stuff is going to gain a ton of steam throughout the offseason, leading into the draft.
A move like that would be silly and impatient on the Heat's part. Maybe silly isn't the right word, but certainly impatient. If the Heat wait just one more year, they can have a shot at both of them. Does anyone think that Wade and Bosh is enough to win a title? How about waiting a year? Does Wade/Bosh/Beasley sound like a core you can build with and contend for a title? The latter sounds a lot better to me. Beasley comes cheap. In the NBA, managing that salary cap is extremely important. It's why the Heat were at such a great advantage in 2006, when the NBA Finals MVP was only making $5 million. This isn't about being a contender next year. It's about being a contender for many years. It's worth the wait.
2) Jermaine O'Neal - This is an interesting one. The only way that moving Beasley makes any sense to me, is if you also move Jermaine O'Neal and his $23 million expiring contract for a couple of very solid players. I'm not talking throw ins. I'm talking about players like Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng. (That's just an example, don't read into that)
It'll be interesting to see what this guy can do with an offseason where he is relatively healthy. I've been pretty hard on this guy throughout the season. Throughout his career actually. But anyone throwing the "soft" label at him for not being well enough to play Game 6 and 7 is just flat out wrong. You can't mess with concussions. It's not worth it.
3) Dwyane Wade's contract - This is the summer where the whispers will officially start from those who think Wade could leave in 2010 (Don't count me as one of those who believe that a possibility). The Heat will try and get him to sign an extension this summer. Dwyane will not sign that. This is why the Heat are going to quietly offer him this extension, where he will quietly decline and wait for 2010. The Heat will do this, so that there will not be a big fuss. The exact opposite is going on in Toronto, where the Raptors will very publicly offer Bosh an extension. He will decline, and then the Raptors will have shown their fans that they've made an effort to keep him before being forced to trade him.
4) Udonis Haslem - It's very possible that Udonis has played his last game with the Heat. He is going into the final year of his contract, and we all know how valuable those are. Plus, he's one of the better contracts in the entire league. Great value. This is a chip the Heat could use, maybe their best chip, in order to get some perimeter help and free up minutes for Michael Beasley. If you're not going to play Beasley at SF, I don't how you go into next year with Beasley, Haslem, and O'Neal all still on the team.
This could be an interesting offseason for this franchise.
Got a question for Zaslow? Leave it in the comments below and he'll get back to you.