Lately, everyone has been chiming in with their two cents on what the Heat roster will look like in a couple months. Who are they going to sign? Who will be gone? Who will stay? Realistically, it could be any combination of things that lead to the Heat's roster for next season...but I think we can all agree that whatever that roster looks like, it will be a damn good one.
That being said, I thought that I'd put pen to paper on my current opinion on how Pat Riley will shape his soon-to-be contending Miami Heat roster. Since at this point there is so much speculation, call this list a combination of what I think and what I hope. Yes...I'm a blogger, but I'm also a Heat fan too. Sue me. I'll do it position by position, and when it's over I welcome your opinions, criticisms and all that goodness. Here we go...
Starting: Amare Stoudemire, Backup: Joel Anthony?
I have a feeling that Chris Bosh is going to follow LeBron James wherever he goes, and yea, best-case scenario has the three teaming up in Miami, that just isn't likely. Amare has been close to exiting Phoenix once already this season, and I can't see another Western Conference Finals loss changing that. This year will be the 3rd time in 6 years that the Suns will make it to the West Finals. The other 3 years in there have them losing in the 2nd round, 1st round, and last year they failed to make the playoffs all together.
Joel get the question mark because while I'd like to see him back here backing up whoever the Heat get to play center, he is still a free agent. I think there will be several guys taking a little less money to play in Miami, but honestly I have no idea what Joel's value is on the open market. The smart move would be to stay in Miami and continue on the path of improvement that has seen his game grow by leaps and bounds over the past 3 years. But who knows...maybe he ends up starting somewhere out west and leading the NBA in blocks next season.
Starting: Michael Beasley, Backup: Udonis Haslem
I can't see the Heat shipping off Beasley with there still being so much up side to his young and raw talent. The only way I thought that would go down is if D-Wade said ‘I'll only stay if Beasley goes' and it doesn't seem that will be the case. To tell you the truth, at this point, I'm not a big Beasley fan. I was a bigger fan of his after last season then this one, and I that's because I expected him to mature both on and off the court and I did not see that at all. The kid needs to grow up and wise up this summer...
As for Udonis...I firmly believe that he wants to remain in Miami. I also believe that Pat Riley will offer him a fair amount to stay here and be a part of what they are building. I think he will get better offers, but in the end I feel that U-D isn't the kind of guy to be bought or lured away by a more lucrative contract. Miami is his home, and they are building a damn good team. He'll want to be a part of that, and I think that will be the case.
Starting: Joe Johnson, Backup: Dorell Wright
Johnson wants out of Atlanta. It's an overachieving team whose fans boo-ed him off the court during their last game. He is also very close friends with Dwyane Wade, and I'm sure that Wade will have a part in the recruitment of J-J. Bottom line, the Heat needs a sharpshooting wingman for Wade who can produce on the outside as well as in the post if needed. Johnson fits the mold perfectly and that combined with his boy D-Wade convincing him to sign down here...I can't see this not getting done.
Dorell still has a lot to prove and why not do it with the Heat? He is coming off of his best NBA season for many reasons...the main ones being his production, his shooting improvements and his health. He made $2.5 million last season and I imagine the Heat can get him back for a similar amount.
Starting: Dwyane Wade, Backup: Raja Bell, Daequan Cook
Dwyane Wade is not leaving Miami. He is going to be a big part of the recruitment of other superstar players and be as big a part as Pat Riley and Micky Arison in building that championship roster. But he is NOT leaving. Not much more to it then that.
Raja Bell will be a great addition to the Heat and he'll come cheap. He is exactly the kind of player Pat Riley likes; hard working, good defender and can contribute offensively. He is coming off of a season in which he played in just 6 games due to a non-shooting wrist injury and I'm sure is hungry to get back out there and be productive again. He has already expressed his desire to join the Heat, so it seems like a legitimate guess that he'll be playing for the Heat next season.
I don't know if anyone on this roster will be hungrier for a comeback season then Daequan Cook. He's due $2.16 million next season and I can't see anyone willing to take on that contract (even if it is expiring) after the year he had in 09-10. He played a total of 19 minutes over the last 23 games of the season, and that coming on the heels of a very disappointing end to the 08-09 season. I hope that Michael Beasley pays attention to how hard Daequan works this offseason. Last summer he worked a lot of his ball handling, but this summer I expect Daequan to have similar workouts to the ones that Dorell Wright was doing to significantly improve his shooting.
Starting: Mario Chalmers, Backup: ? (Patrick Beverly or Carlos Arroyo?)
Mario just needs to sharpen his skills this summer. His constant turnovers and occasional ugly shots had me wavering on the kid many times last season, but he has some serious talent that often overwhelmed the negatives. He can drive the ball, he can shoot, and has very quick hands on defense. He'll need to improve on the bad decisions, which comes with experience and maturity. Once he cuts out the turnovers and improves his footwork on the defensive end, he'll be a solid point guard for the talent-heavy Heat.
I'd like to see Pat Beverly win a spot on the roster next season but honestly I cant say if that's a realistic possibility. His numbers last season with Olympiacos Piraeus weren't incredibly impressive (17 games, 9.5 min, 3.1 ppg on 53% shooting, 2.0 reb, 0.6 ast and 0.7 stl) but those stats can be misleading. We'll just have to wait and see what happens over the summer and into training camp.
So there you have it. My opinion on how the Heat roster will shape up for when we win our 2nd NBA Championship in the 2010-11 season. I realize a lot of this has to do with players taking less then market value to play for the Heat, Dorell and Udonis included, but it's a special case where these guys will want to play together for the greater goal. It also helps that so many of them are already good friends.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Quentin Richardson do the same in order to stay and play with his best friends (D-Wade, Dorell and Q were a very tight-knit bunch, hence their self-appointed group nickname: the 1-3-5). Also, the backup positions can be interchanged...because Dorell can play guard or forward, Chalmers can play the 1 or the 2, etc. This is just a tentative thought of how the main positions of our roster will come to be for next season. We'll know a lot more in about 5 weeks.