Beyond the Raptors: Miami Heat

If there is anyone who scares me when it comes to dealing Bosh, it's Pat Riley. I know Colangelo wont give away Bosh, but Riley squeezed blood out of a stone on that Jermaine O'Neal deal, no telling what he could do on a Bosh one.

An issue that has me boggled is folks thinking that Bosh will up and just leave the Raptors, signing with another team. We have heard that Bosh, LeBron and Wade wont lose money if they sign with another team (instead of a S&T) since their next contract will pick up where this max one leaves off, but it’s a question of security. God forbid one of them, in this case Bosh, gets injured badly 4 years from now. That next contract doesn’t help him at all, since it wont be close to a max one. Whatever, I’m rambling…

I checked in with Surya Fernandez from Hot Hot Hoops to talk about the Heat and the newly formed commission (Bosh, Wade, LeBron and Joe Johnson). We’re still getting weak trade offers for Bosh; I guess a 24pt 11reb a night kind of guy has no value around the league. It’s actually making me question what I think I know about basketball (which granted isn’t very much since I thought the Suns were going to be thumped buy the Spurs in the 2nd round).

Without even making a reach, Riley has a lot of options to pair Wade with an elite level forward this summer (Bosh, Boozer and Stoudemire), so you can expect him to jump at the first option regardless of who he really covets. I’m going out on a limb and predicting Bosh doesn’t end up in Miami this summer, but that the Heat will be a 50 win team next season with the additions Riley makes.

Sam Holako: What do you make of this free agent commission Wade, LeBron, Bosh and Johnson have put together to discuss their fates? Seems sinister, and frankly, I’m a little disappointed about it – whatever happened to being a man?

Surya Fernandez: It’s all a matter of perception. Toronto needs to find another willing team to do a sign and trade should Bosh want to go elsewhere to get something decent in return and start a new era. The Heat have been treading water for the last couple of years and are finally free of that huge chunk of salary cap that dated back from Shaq’s last contract extension. Wade doesn’t sound like he’s leaving so there’s little doubt that he’ll try to do some recruiting at this summit. There’s nothing else for him to talk about. I don’t mind players that are friends getting together and talking about something this important in their lives and careers. Maybe they all go their separate ways and nothing much comes of it. Just imagine what owners and GMs talk about when they all get together. It must be worse than a sewing circle.

SH: With Wade staying, I look at the team, and don’t see much of anything there: Chalmers is a nice player, Beasley has talent, I’m a fan of Joel Anthony, but outside of that, what does Miami do to round out the roster? What does Miami do to become relevant again?

SF: o question it’s a huge question mark with that many contracts clearing the books. But there is a lot of flexibility that comes with that. Udonis Haslem and Dorell Wright are solid players that can be retained or used for sign and trades to secure a point guard, the Heat’s biggest need. Chalmers and Beasley can be traded but if they stay will provide depth.

I’m not a fan of simply giving out max contracts to just anybody and I would pass on Amar’e Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer and Joe Johnson because other teams that may miss out on the bigger names will be offered a max contract by a team like the Knicks, Clippers or Nets. If you can sign James or Bosh then that’s great but the Heat could also use the rest of the $10-12 million to round out a roster with some quality big men and long range shooters. I just wrote (Affordable free agents that the Miami Heat should pursue) about nine free agents that the Heat should go after if they went this path.

Another method that isn’t discussed much is to hold on to some of the cap space to facilitate trades with other teams after the season starts leading up to the trading deadline. Riley said last month that the makeover process could take up to 18 months. Teams will want to shed contracts (like the Marcus Camby or Eric Maynor trades) and the Heat could absorb them easily (and perhaps acquire a few draft picks in the process) to get some more depth leading up to a playoff run.

SH: That’s quite the list, what stands out for me is Oberto and Foye. With the Wizard probably shopping Arenas; what would you think about engineering a trade to land Arenas and Oberto for cap space and Haslem, still having enough cap space to sign a Bosh? That would be a lethal backcourt.

SF: On paper it would be a lethal backcourt. The problem is that the Wizards on paper before the start of this season were thought of as a playoff team. First you have that huge contract that in and of itself would be drawback even if it was the Arenas of a few years ago. Then you have the health issues that he never seemed to have recovered from then the gun incident that derailed the entire franchise. I’d stay away from him.

If Miami wants to try it out with an oft-injured player past his prime I’d rather take on Elton Brand and net the second overall pick too from the Sixers. His contract is just as bad as Arenas but at least then you could rationalize it by having two players who combined make “X” amount of money because of this trade. Both could be useful immediately for the Heat if Brand is at least healthy enough to contribute like Jermaine O’Neal did this past season (putting aside the Celtics playoffs). And the Heat will have an awesome rookie talent at that pick.

SH: Philly was my next option; I really think Brand will surprise folks once he gets out of Philly. Make me an offer for Bosh in a S+T.

SF: You can have your first round pick back from the Marion-O’Neal trade plus another first rounder, Cook and Chalmers (who both need a change of scenery as well). It’s better than losing him for nothing. Offering Beasley as well would be the last resort since Bosh might be persuaded to just simply sign in Miami, not have to pay income tax and the Heat could keep those players and picks I just offered to your Raptors and send them to another team for a solid player who makes less like Rudy Gay. I like Bosh but if the Raptors want to trade him to the Lakers for oft-injured Andrew Bynum then be my guest. The Heat would then go after Stoudemire and maybe Boozer.

SH: I think it’s safe to say he wont leave $30mil guaranteed on the table, so thanks for giving us back our 1st rounder, lol. Can you talk about Riley a bit. Heard he may want to take over as coach again, dropping Erik Spoelstra like he did SVG, if the Heat land another elite player to pair with Wade. Is this just all chatter, or are there some legs to these rumours?

SF: Riley threw that out there as bait for free agents to consider should they want to directly play for him. But even though he only would consider it if he was asked to now it’s hard to not to see Spoelstra as a lame duck after saying that. Quite frankly, I think the Heat has done enough for Erik since hiring him to cut video back in 1995 so I really wouldn’t mind it if the Heat had a veteran seasoned coach going forward. If it has to be Riley so be it. People complain enough that the Heat are somewhat wasting the last couple of years of Wade’s prime and I don’t see Spoelstra as a coach to take your team deep in the playoffs. He might be good at analyzing videos and preparing his players but his in-game decisions, robotic substitution patterns and poor play-calling in late game situations have been the subject of tough criticism from diehard Heat fans.

Van Gundy was squeezed out because Shaq did not want to be coached by him anymore after the Pistons series in ’05. That’s what can happen when teams employ superstars and GMs and owners have to choose whether to listen to them or not. I’m not defending Riley (and I’m positive he smelled a golden opportunity to collect another coaching ring) but sometimes it’s not as simple an issue as it may seem from outsiders looking in. The end result back then was a ring, let’s see what happens this time around.

SH: From the outside looking in, it seemed as though Riley created the atmosphere for SVG to ultimately get canned. Regardless, he was the right man for the job. Could we interest you in Turkoglu?

SF: Agreed but SVG really did muck things up a bit at the end of the Pistons series though. It sure looked like a slimy move on Riley’s part but it sure worked out. Not surprising Riley might consider jumping back in if the roster starts looking like championship material this year.

The Heat only should take Hedo if they can get Marcus Banks back!

SH: So the Heat tried to trade Beasley for Dooling, and were denied (they say he plays a very similar game to Yi); why is Beasley’s value so low?

SF: There is no accuracy to that report. It came out of a podcast with nobody to corroborate it. Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel has already confirmed that the Heat never made such an offer.

There’s no comparison between Beasley and Yi. It’s almost laughable. If you’re referring to Sebastian Pruiti’s comparison to them on Nets Are Scorching all I can tell you is that stats don’t tell the whole story. Stats don’t speak about how his unexperienced coach has never put Beasley in a situation to succeed on the court, how Beasley has never had a consistent role in this team or how he’s never had a chance to play with a decent playmaking point guard since he arrived in the NBA only two years ago.

Quite frankly I’m glad his value is perceived to be low so maybe he’ll stick around. Maybe it’s his personality or maybe it’s the off-court issues. I don’t know how many players in the 4-5 million dollar range could put up 15 points and 6 and a half rebounds in less than 30 minutes while playing in an offense that is solely geared towards Dwyane Wade. Power forward should not be a position of concern for the Heat with so many holes to plug so I can’t really justify carving out such a huge slice of the cap space for Bosh or Boozer.

Yes, of course he needs to work on his game and his defense (as should all young NBA players strive to do this summer). But give him a better coach, more minutes without fear of immediately being pulled off the court because of an error, and a true point guard who can run plays for him that can give him some easier looks closer to the basket. Then we can talk about whether he’s a bust or not. I don’t know how much more value the Heat could get out of that position.

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