Earlier today the Heat released Anthony Mason Jr and Mickell Gladness, the first of many roster cuts likely to come this week. Miami already has three preseason games under their belt, and with another two coming up at the AAA in the next few days I'm sure that there will be more ‘trimming of the fat' in the near future.
The Heat have to get their roster down to 15 exactly two weeks from today, and as of right now they are sitting at 18 after releasing Mason and Gladness. That means that there are going to be four more guys getting the big ugly ax, and looking at the roster I think that the decision is going to be relatively easy.
There are 14 guys that in my opinion are locks. Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Joel Anthony, Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Carlos Arroyo, Juwan Howard, James Jones, Eddie House, Jamaal Magloire and Dexter Pittman are all going to make the team.
With shooters like Jones and House, it gives the bench depth on the outside. Magloire's value to the team lies in his off-court leadership, which can be vouched for by anyone who has been on the team for the least two years, including D-Wade and Udonis (the captains). Pittman has a huge upside and will spend the season mostly watching and learning in practice, but he could be a difference maker when the calendar turns over.
That leaves one spot for five guys; Patrick Beverly, Kenny Hasbrouck, Da'Sean Butler and Shavlik Randolph. I think you can scratch Randolph off that list right now. Despite that he hasn't played particularly well, the Heat are also pretty set with their big men. The favorite for that last roster spot has to be Pat Beverly.
He was great during the Summer League and has been hustling his ass off this preseason. His offensive stats haven't been overly impressive, but this coaching staff loves defense and that an area that Beverly strives at, though it's still yet to be seen whether he can do it against top-notch NBA quality.
Da'Sean Butler hasn't been able to play yet for Miami because he's still recovering from a torn ACL suffered during last March's Final Four. He could be a real asset to the Heat down the road but until we can get him on the court, it's just a matter of keeping him around. Unfortunately, in order to do that the Heat will have to use up their 15th roster spot.
I doubt that Pat Riley will look to sign a free agent to fill the final spot because they have already committed money to everyone currently on their roster. That means there are 3 players that are under contract with Miami that will not making the final squad.
When the season starts, the Heat will have to list three players as inactive every game. My guess for those spots are Dexter Pittman, Jamaal Magloire and whoever gets the 15th roster spot. There will already be two centers active (Joel Anthony and Big Z) combined with Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem and Juwan Howard, all of whom have and will be used by Erik Spoelstra to play center. That being the case, there is no need to have any more big guys on the active list.
We'll see how things pan out as the season gets closer, but I don't think there is much mystery to what will be going down with the Heat's roster. I just want the next two weeks to go by as quickly as possible...