After the Miami Heat officially announced their major transactions, discourse shifted to a new topic — the last couple roster spots. Miami now has 13 players under contract. The conversation inevitably turned to Udonis Haslem, who has seldom played since the Big Three days.
When people say that 15th roster spot doesn’t matter…— The Needle Mover (@alfonsohoops) August 6, 2021
Wasn’t Udonis once on the fringe of an NBA roster? Didn’t he turn that into a legendary career with the Heat? Isn’t it disrespectful to his legacy to imply a 15th man can’t amount to anything?
#HeatTwitter at war over the 15th roster spot.— Daniel Day-Drinking Lewis (@Alf954) August 6, 2021
Nature is healing.
That’s a conversation we’ll have if and when we get there. But for now, I want to talk about another (old) potential player for one of the last remaining roster spots — J.J. Redick.
The 37-year-old Redick was a teammate of Jimmy Butler with the Philadelphia 76ers and has spoke about having “loved playing with him.” He offered glowing praise of the Heat during their run to the Finals in 2020, which fueled speculation. And in addition to talking with Butler about his decision to leave Philadelphia, Redick has also interviewed Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro on his podcast.
He’s friends with Butler, can mentor Robinson and Herro (as well as Max Strus) and offer spot minutes in the backcourt early in the season while Victor Oladipo recovers from his season-ending surgery. He’s an amazing shooter. (Also relevant: Kendrick Nunn left to join the Los Angeles Lakers.) What’s not to like?
Redick is 37 years old. And though he played well with the Sixers a few years back, a sore right heel sidelined him for the final three regular season games and the entire seven-game playoff series the Dallas Mavericks had with the Los Angeles Clippers. The Heat no longer have Andre Iguodala (37), Trevor Ariza (36) and Goran Dragic (35), but added Kyle Lowry (35) and P.J. Tucker (36). Is another 37-year-old what this team needs?
Aside from Redick’s age, another concern is that he doesn’t fit the mold of a backup wing defender — one of the few remaining needs the Heat have. Behind Butler and Robinson, who can defend opposing shooting guards and small forwards well? I’m not ready to say KZ Okpala can offer what Derrick Jones Jr. did at his best with Miami.
What do you think? Should the Heat use their 14th roster spot on Redick?