Despite saying that the Heat would make no big moves this off-season, the Miami Herald is reporting that Miami has contacted free agents Ron Artest and Allen Iverson. Granted, either guy would help out in a big way (personally I'd prefer Artest, hands down), but this is almost a complete contradictory of what Pat Riley came out and said a couple weeks ago; that the Heat were going to chill out until the summer of 2010 and land a big name to play next to D-Wade.
Riley entered the start of the free agency negotiating period Wednesday saying he would be reluctant to spend the $5.5 million mid-level exception because the Heat already was past the league's anticipated dollar-for-dollar luxury tax on excessive payrolls. Riley also had been unwilling to add contracts that extend beyond next summer, when the Heat will have spending flexibility to re-sign Dwyane Wade and another top-tier free agent to maximum contracts.
Iverson would likely be the cheaper option as Miami could possibly sign him to the $2 million veterans exception, but that is if the former league MVP is willing to take a little less to play in D-Wade's playground. Assuming we can give Iverson a concrete role and playing time, that could be a move that would really help out the Heat. A-I is still a potent offensive threat and would give Miami one of the more electric backcourts in the NBA, but he really struggled in Detroit last year with his 'role' somewhat up in the air all season. A change of scenery and a new (and better) team could be just what the doctor ordered for Iverson.
Artest will cost the Heat a bit more, but could be more of what Miami needs. He is not looking for a 1-year deal from anyone, which already makes him coming to Miami a tougher sell after a very productive season in which his Rockets pushed the eventual NBA Champ Lakers to a 7th game in the 2nd round of the Playoffs. Still, Artest is one of the best defensive players out there and despite how I feel about him personally (after the whole fighting with Pistons fans thing), he could really help out the Heat and I'd love to see him in a Heat uniform.
Agent David Bauman said Thursday that Artest wouldn't be interested in a one-year deal from the Heat or any suitor, which might also include Houston. ''We've talked to a handful of teams, and there's some mutual interest,'' Bauman said Thursday. ``But it would be inappropriate for me to mention everyone we're looking at.''
So what do you think, Heat fans? Do we go after one of these guys or still just chill out until next summer? Remember, Dwyane Wade has said he would like to see the Heat make some kind of move 'now' instead of waiting. Even if we make no move, he still will likely stay in Miami (at least I think so), but hey....if we can win now, why not?