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Heat roster cuts loom ahead

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The Miami Heat are just about a week away from needing to trim their roster to the regular season limit of 15.

NBA: Preseason-Brooklyn Nets at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat currently have 20 players on their roster. That’s the NBA maximum for training camp and preseason. They must reduce that to 15 players by the time the NBA season starts. And believe it or not, that is next week.

So we want to break down the roster for you right here and give you and idea of what is to come. Here’s what their roster currently looks like:

Guards: Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson, Briante Weber, Beno Udrih, Wayne Ellington, Dion Waiters, Rodney McGruder
Forwards: Justise Winslow, Josh McRoberts, Udonis Haslem, Derrick Williams, Luke Babbitt, James Johnson, Chris Bosh, Keith Benson, Stefan Jankovic, Okaro White
Center: Hassan Whiteside, Willie Reed

Taking into account of role and salary commitments, here are the players that are locks on the roster:

:: Dragic, T. Johnson, Richardson, Waiters, Ellington
:: Winslow, McRoberts, Haslem, Williams, Babbitt, Johnson, Bosh
:: Whiteside, Reed

That’s 14 players. And yes, you must include Chris Bosh unless the Heat are able to find another solution. But for now, unless they waived him early (unlikely), he will count on their roster.

Dragic...lots of money due
Johnson...just invested $50 million
Richardson...upside is tremendous
Waiters...great bargain
Ellington...needed 3-point shooter
Winslow...he will be here for years other choice
Williams...good rotation player with guaranteed $$
Babbitt...floor spacer in front court needed
Johnson...guaranteed $$ and rotation player
Bosh...he must remain on the roster

That means Udrih, Weber, McGruder, Benson, Jankovic, and White are all fighting for that final spot on the team come opening night. Of those players, only Beno Udrih has a complete guaranteed contract. That puts him in the lead and in the drivers seat when it comes to keeping that spot.

It seems likely that the Heat want to stash McGruder, Jankovic and Okaro White on their D-League team. Keith Benson doesn’t seem to be in the plans. And they would also send Briante Weber there as well, but the fear is that he has shown enough upside to be added by another team if the Heat do pass on him again.

So...Beno Udrih or Briante Weber becomes to most likely scenario to figuring out the complete roster. Either of these two point guards are looking at a role that has them as the third string point guard.

Beno Udrih
He offers a veteran presence and stability at point guard. He isn’t going to overwhelm anyone, but he also isn’t going to make many mistakes. He picks and chooses his spots and showed good poise at point guard off the bench last year.

Udrih is a safe choice for someone who knows what they have to offer. And salary-speaking, he is being paid regardless, so it is logical to keep him.

Briante Weber
He has the capability of becoming a stingy defensive point guard. He reminds you of Patrick Beverly. He’s nothing special, yet, on offense. But on defense, he is a hound. He would continue to be a project for the Heat, with likely stints in Sioux Falls for more playing time.

But with the “rebuilding process” that Pat Riley has already stated in place, maybe Weber over Udrih is the best move for the franchise.

My prediction is that the Heat keep Beno Udrih and send Weber to the Skyforce. But as we have seen over the last few years, if the Heat like a player, they will make roster moves to bring them back. They did it with Whiteside and Tyler Johnson.

What do you think?