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Butler & Beverley cut, final roster set: Analysis and commentary

With the tough news that Patrick Beverley and Da'Sean Butler have been cut, the Miami Heat are set at the 15 maximum for their final roster on the eve of the regular season. There are conflicting reports as to whether both have fully guaranteed or partially guaranteed contracts. Until I can get to the bottom of this, let's go with the assumption that they will each earn about $474,000 of a two-year $1.3 million contract for their troubles. [Also, the Heat cut Beverley a day after making him deliver pizzas for Papa John's.] Injuries to other players might have done both in as the Heat felt the need to go full steam with the "Win Now" philosophy and stock up on veterans. It certainly worked in 2006 with a somewhat ragtag team of veterans and former All-Stars (Antoine Walker, Gary Payton) to compliment the star duo of Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal. But it's a shame the Heat aren't taking another page out of the Boston Celtics formula for consistent success, which is also to have a smaller core within the team of young talent who can learn quickly playing as well as training alongside star players. Veteran players can be counted on for their consistency and for having a fully-formed familiarity with the NBA game but having that X-factor in an unfamiliar but talented player that's blossoming like Rajon Rondo and Andrew Bynum did can also become an unexpected game-changer, both literally and figuratively. The two young players cut today could have represented that unknown variable but now we'll never know. Unless they're re-signed down the road. Stranger things have happened, such as James Jones coming back after being bought out after two years of uneven contribution. Apparently, the sheer size of the Celtics, Orlando Magic and the Los Angeles Lakers likely had a hand with the Heat going with four centers along with players such as Juwan Howard, Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem also capable of spending some minutes at the 5. With Miller's injury along with some other hobbled players, the coaching staff apparently changed their minds about waiting on Butler's potential or else they wouldn't have drafted and signed him without him ever being healed enough to play a second for them. Time will tell if this bench will give enough support to the Big 3 but taken as a whole, it is a bit of a miracle how much talent there is. Remember, the common knock against the Heat would be that they would have nothing but minimum contracts to offer the rest of the 12 players on the roster should they land Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James. Thanks to the way their contracts were signed and by shedding themselves of unwanted players they were able to retain team captain Haslem, sign a coveted free agent in Mike Miller and nabbed wily veterans like Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Eddie House to jump aboard on the cheap. Quite frankly, the NBA should just present Pat Riley with the Executive of the Year already at the home opener. Should this team not win the championship in its first year of coming together, it won't be for his lack of trying. Riley set out on his mission and met every lofty goal set forward at the beginning of the offseason. Now it's time for the players, with pretty much 80-90% primarily on the Big 3's shoulders, and coach Erik Spoelstra to do their part. Final Heat roster for the beginning of the 2010-2011 season: Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Mario Chalmers, Joel Anthony, Carlos Arroyo, James Jones, Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Eddie House, Jerry Stackhouse, Dexter Pittman, Juwan Howard, Jamaal Magloire. For comparison's sake, the 2006 Heat Championship roster: Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O'Neal, Jason Williams, James Posey, Alonzo Mourning, Gary Payton, Antoine Walker, Derek Anderson, Shandon Anderson, Wayne Simien, Michael Doleac, Dorell Wright, Jason Kapono, Udonis Haslem. Further reading: Miami Heat rookie Da'Sean Butler talks with Hot Hot Hoops Patrick Beverley interview Patrick Beverley determined to make the cut at Heat training camp