Saturday the Heat inked the 9th man on their roster, officially signing Zydrunas Ilgauskas to a 2-year deal at the veterans minimum. Big Z joins the ‘Miami Thrice', Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller, Joel Anthony and rookie Dexter Pittman on the Heat's quickly filling roster. It doesn't seem that long ago that Mario Chalmers was the only player locked up by Miami...
Not to worry, as there is still some pushing and shoving to be done by players looking to join the Heat and help chase the first title (of many) in the new era. Next up looks to be Juwan Howard, who has been in talks with the Heat all week. For a guy who played pretty well in over 70 games last year, starting in 27, you have got to be pleased with the depth that Miami will have on their bench.
Also a possibility to sign shortly is Carlos ‘I never turn the ball over' Arroyo. If he signs, then what happens to the possible return of Jason Williams? Would Arroyo be cool with possibly playing 3rd string? Would the Heat coaches make a 2nd team lineup that included or rotated Williams and Arroyo?
Carlos just helped his native Puerto Rico win the 2010 Centrobasket Championship, an official FIBA tournament, and was voted the tournament MVP after his 23-point performance in the gold medal game.
Arroyo did a great job last year regardless of whether he was starting or coming off the bench, but there will be a lot less pressure on him facilitating the offense in the coming season(s). Controlling the tempo and playing smart will be exactly what the Heat need when Arroyo comes off the bench, making him an obvious fit in Miami's rotation.
Along with Carlito, Jamaal Magloire is expected to re-up with Miami sometime in the next day or two. The Big Cat has been a ‘behind the scenes' leader on the Heat since his arrival in Miami back in 2008. Also, he isn't afraid to mix it up and get tough, and that's a role I'd like him to embrace.
The Heat are going to be one of the more disliked teams in the NBA...by fans, players, media, whoever. We have to protect out assets and that's something our bench players are going to need to do, and I expect Magloire to be leading that charge. It's not like our starting studs aren't able to fend for themselves, but I'd prefer someone else to fight their battles so that they don't have to miss any game time.
I'm not implying that teams will be ‘headhunting' or anything like that, but Magloire has already had to play the tough guy role with the Heat in the past...and that was before we signed LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Mike Miller and the rest.
SUMMER LEAGUE UPDATE
Last night the Heat wrapped up their Summer League schedule with a 73-69 win over formally undefeated Cleveland. Miami leaves Vegas 4-1 during their 5-game stint out west despite playing some pretty ugly games. At times, the Heat's offense reminded me of last season; passing the ball around the outside for 15 seconds before forcing up a bad attempt.
For the Heat, this game was no different then their previous four as both teams struggled offensively. Cleveland shot 38% from the field while Miami wasn't much better, hitting just 41% of their shots. Shavlik Randolph was having a good game, getting to the foul line and grabbing rebounds until his day was cut short.
Randolph took an elbow to the face from teammate Dexter Pittman early in the 2nd half, ending his Summer League a littler sooner then anticipated. The journeyman finished his summer averaging 13 points and 5.8 rebounds in 22 minutes but shot under 40%.
Looking ahead, other the Pittman its unsure if any of these guys will make the Heat's roster. Guards Patrick Beverly and Kenny Hasbrouck each turned some heads but whether or not they make the final 15 will depend on what other free agents Pat Riley brings in.
The same can be said for Jarvis Varnado, though I'd guess he has less of a chance because the Heat are already pretty good with big guys, and that's before signing Juwan Howard and Jamaal Magloire. I wouldn't mind if he did make the squad though because I think practicing with NBA talent will do nothing but help, and defensively Varnado is already the kind of player the Heat's coaching staff loves.
Patrick Beverly also showed some very good defensive skills during the summer games, though his offense wasn't nearly as impressive. 8-for-23 (35%) from the field while playing in 25 minutes a game is...well, bad. He did average 4.8 rebounds and 2.2 steals though, so there is still a nice upside with the kid.
For the Heat, finishing 4-1 is nothing to scoff at and credit is due to Miami assistant coach David Fizdale for leading the squad all week. Whoever the Heat choose keep around, expect them to be back in Miami in the coming week to practice with whichever Heat players are having their summer workouts at the AAA.
Any guys who don't make the cut, that doesn't mean their dream of joining the dynasty is over. Pat Beverly was a 2nd round pick for Miami in the 2009 draft and spent the season honing his craft in Europe. Whomever cant fit onto the 15-man roster should be ready to work their butt off either overseas or in the D-League and hope to have a shot at making next seasons team...or be ready to fill in should any injuries take place.