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Jared Dudley says Blake Griffin could sign with Heat

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Griffin’s former teammate said that the five-time All Star will probably stay with the Clippers, though.

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Finals haven’t even started, and we’re already hearing rumors of a potential huge free agent Miami Heat signing.

In an interview on Kevin Arnovitz’s The Basketball Analogy podcast, Jared Dudley said that his former teammate Blake Griffin could sign with the Heat. However, Dudley said that he thinks both Griffin and Chris Paul will ultimately remain with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Dudley also mentioned that the injury-prone Griffin could sign a five-year, $175 million contract with the Clippers -- should they offer him the max — while the most another team could offer is a four-year, $130 million contract.

“He could go to Miami, can be the man….and you’ve got no state (income) tax…but that five-year max contract, you’re going to lose about roughly $30 million.”

Later in the interview, Dudley added a bit more context.

“My whole thing is – where do you want to live. He lives in LA which he loves, Miami is a good place. Miami is understandable – Pat Riley, they would make the playoffs with him, so that’s the only one I could somewhat see. You’re not going to Dallas… you’re not going to Houston. New York Knicks, you’re not going there.”

My take on this rumor? Dudley is right — Griffin will probably re-sign with the Clippers. A player who has missed 83 games over the last three seasons should take the money. It’s why Amar’e Stoudemire signed with the New York Knicks in 2010. Griffin had arthroscopic knee surgery just six months ago.

At 28, Griffin already looks past his prime (even when healthy) — and the NBA’s evolution seems to be passing him by. Dudley said that Griffin could sign with the Heat if he “wants to be the man of the team.” But I don’t think an NBA team can win a championship with Griffin as their best player.

Moreover, in Pat Riley’s season-ending press conference, the Heat President mentioned that the new collective bargaining agreement further incentivizes star players to stay put.

"Today, it's a lot different and for any great player who plays with a team is going to have to give great pause to probably walk away from $65 million to $70 million or whatever the number might be to go somewhere else. He’s going to really have to want to come to you or he's going to want to leave where he is. So we’re going to focus on our guys."

Instead of trying to sign a player whose contract will look like an albatross in two years, Miami can look to re-sign James Johnson and Dion Waiters and go from there. While it’s true the Heat won’t win a championship with Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic as their best players, a team can build a championship contender doing what the Heat are doing — building a culture. Players will recognize that, and they’ll come to Miami in free agency or via trades. It’s how the San Antonio Spurs have remained dominant over the last 20 seasons, even bridging the post-Tim Duncan era. If the Heat sit tight this summer, they may find a great player sooner than some fans might think.