The Miami Heat have made some solid moves this offseason in their attempt to put themselves in position to compete for the Eastern Conference title this upcoming season.
The Sun Sentinel is reporting with all the transactions the Heat have made, they are facing a total payroll cost in excess of $130 million. Miami, which has 17 players currently under contract, re-signed Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic this offseason while Luol Deng exercised his player option. The Heat also signed Gerald Green along with Amar’e Stoudemire and rookie Justise Winslow.
The other Heat players under contract include Chris Bosh, Josh McRoberts, Chris Andersen, Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem, Zoran Dragic, Shabazz Napier, Henry Walker, Hassan Whiteside, James Ennis and Tyler Johnson. Walker, Whiteside, Ennis and Johnson’s contracts are not guaranteed.
Winslow, Napier, Ennis, Zoran Dragic, Johnson and Josh Richardson, the Heat’s second-round selection in 2015, played for the Heat’s summer league teams this summer. Winslow was the most impressive of the bunch finishing fifth in the Orlando Summer League MVP race. He tallied 46 points to go along with nine rebounds and eight assists in his first three games in Orlando. Winslow, who injured his ankle in Las Vegas, finished the summer league schedule, averaging 9.0 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists in six games.
“Winslow was ultra effective on both ends of the floor,” said Josh Cohen, who ranked the MVP’s for Orlando Magic website. ” He especially was impressive absorbing contact on his drives to the basket. Winslow attempted 30 free throws and had a James Harden-type scorer’s mentality. However, he really struggled shooting from 3-point distance (1-of-8).”
Richardson is not currently under contract with the Heat but that will likely change after his impressive summer league performance. Richardson showed he could score during his time on the court though what endeared him to Miami’s summer league Dan Craig was his defense.
“He’s an elite defensive player, for that position. He has a skill set defensively where he can move his feet really well, but he’s long. And he’s super active. He never really takes himself out of position. He stays in place. And he just gets up into the air space of players and makes them uncomfortable.”
Napier also had an impressive summer league campaign while Ennis and Walker did not according to the Miami New Times.
Heat Beat reporter Ira Winderman recently wrote that Miami may add a few more players to get to the maximum 20 prior to training camp before ultimately having to get down to 15. If Richardson signs with the team the team will have two spots left. There are rumors swirling around the league that Ben Gordon and Dorrell Wright are two possible candidates.
Gordon, 32, did not have his option picked up by Orlando prior to the start of free agency. He played well for the Magic last year, averaging 6.2 points while shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 36.1 percent on three-pointers in 15 minutes of action. Gordon, who doesn’t get to the hoop much anymore, is a career 40.1 percent three-point shooter.
Gordon also has the ability to score in bunches but does not really do much else. He is not a good distributor and doesn’t play defense.
Wright spent his first six years in Miami and has said to be interested in returning to the Heat. The Miami Herald has reported that while the Heat are not currently pursuing Wright, it doesn’t mean they won’t at a later time.
Wright, 29, has been on a downward tilt after his two career-seasons with the Golden State warriors (2010-12). He averaged 4.6 points and 2.3 rebounds in just 12.3 minutes of action last year in Portland as he shot just 37.9 percent from the field — marking the third straight season he has failed to knockdown 40 percent of his shot attempts.
Wright has become mainly a three-point shooter — at least 50 percent of all his field goal tries have been from beyond the arc. He does a decent job on the defensive end due to his length, which allow him to play the power forward spot against the other team’s reserves.
Ennis and Walker are two of the players not projected to make it out of training camp with the team. So, if Miami signs two more that means they would need to remove three more players and the most likely scenario would be to trade one or more players.
Despite the fact that Miami has spent a considerable amount of money this offseason, they are not keen on paying the luxury tax so they are looking to shed salary. There have been many rumored Heat players on the block though recently the most bantered about names have been Chalmers and Napier as Heat management is not happy with theier backup point guard situation.
The Heat have a plethora of point guards with Dragic, Chalmers,Napier, Richardson and Johnson. Chalmers is coming off a season where he averaged a career-high with 10.8 points in nearly 30 minutes despite shooting only 40.3 percent shooting from the floor as well as a career-low 29.4 percent from beyond the arc for a career-worst effective percentage of 45.8 percent. The 29-year old is due $4.3 million this upcoming season.
Napier wasn’t overly impressive as a rookie last year as he battled a sports hernia injury. The No. 24 overall pick in the 2014 draft averaged 5.1 points while averaging 19.8 minutes in 51 appearances. He shot only 38.2 percent from the field but did knock down 36.4 percent of his three-point shots. Napier also posted 2.6 assists and 1.6 turnovers a game. In addition, he registered a minus-3.2 +/- rating and an effective shooting percentage of 47.6 percent.
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