On Tuesday, Chris Andersen verbally committed to resign with the world champion Miami Heat. Andersen's deal with the Heat brings the roster to 13 fully-guaranteed roster spots. The Heat still have Jarvis Varnado under roster with a non-guaranteed deal.
Likely, the Heat will take Varnado into training camp to compete for the final one or two roster spots left for the team. If Varnado is on the roster on opening night, his contract becomes guaranteed for the season.
Either way, the Heat have one open spot on their roster and a lot of people and options available to them.
Some of those options will probably come in the form of a Varnado-type deal of a non-guaranteed training camp contract. Their only draft choice, James Ennis could be a candidate. They also have Myck Kabongo as an option. They can carry 20 players into training camp with them to compete for that spot, and that's how Riley and Spoelstra like it. A little bit of competition and determination make camp something to look forward to.
So outside of Ennis and Kabongo, what are some other players the Heat could target as a final roster spot? Their depth is something that doesn't scream "Welcome" to seasoned vets. With Joel Anthony and James Jones already buried on the bench when they are serviceable players for many teams, it's a tough choice of sacrifice.
The rest of the summer league roster isn't very intriguing. They are good young players, but fitting into the Heat's identity isn't something easy. Greg Oden has been a name continually tossed out there. He's expected to pick among five different teams, one being the Heat. He is a low risk, high reward option for the Heat if he wants to join the team.
Other players like Antawn Jamison and Chauncey Billups are out there and available, but it's likely that Miami goes young or less established. If the Heat decide to keep Varnado, then he becomes guaranteed. The last few seasons, Riley has preferred to keep a non-guaranteed roster spot on the team to give flexibility in other free agents later in the season after the trade deadline. Last year, dropping Terrel Harris and Josh Harrellson allowed them to pick up Chris Andersen, who was a catalyst in the 27 game win streak.
Here's a list of guys who have been around the league that Riley might be able to convince to take such a deal:
Brandan Wright, Roger Mason Jr., Sebastian Telfair, A.J. Price, Carlos Arroyo, Josh Selby, Ronnie Price, and Hakim Warrick.
Of everyone available, I believe if they can land Greg Oden, they will drop Varnado and pick up someone like a Terrel Harris. If they don't land Oden, Riley may very well keep Varnado, who has impressed in summer league and then go with another non-guaranteed deal. Selby is an interested player to consider in my opinion. He has raw skills and could be a good project.
Either way, the Heat will likely fill out their roster with someone who will wear a suit most of the time, so don't get too flustered over it. It would be nice to see someone like Ennis or Kabongo be able to grow under this coaching staff, but you never know with Riley. He will do whatever it takes to ensure another title run. So far, they have stood pat.
After these last three seasons, we continue the motto, "In Riley We Trust."
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