Well, the Miami Heat’s season has gone as expected: a myriad of losses. However, the infamous Pat Riley is not one to let this continue for too long. Riley told WQAM’s Joe Rose on his radio show,
“We’re dealing with that word that you hate to use — that we have to rebuild, But we will rebuild quick. I’m not going to hang around here for three or four years selling this kind of song to people in Miami. We have great, great fans. They’re frustrated. They’ve been used to something great over the last 10 years and so right now we’re taking a hit. I think we can turn this thing around. … You can use that word rebuild. But we’re going to do it fast,”
This is what the agenda of the Miami Heat’s front office comprises of; trade, waive or wait for Chris Bosh to medically retire, deciding to keep or deal Goran Dragic, choosing wisely with yet another lottery pick in 2017’s NBA Draft, and chasing whatever possible free agents they can acquire.
Allow me to update you on how Bosh’s contract has left Miami’s salary cap in shambles but can still have some good come out of it. Bosh signed a deal that will guarantee him a salary of $79 million over three more years. However, that number could shrink if he agrees to a buyout. This is highly unlikely. For the good of both parties, Miami should just waive Bosh. Once a team picks him up, a highly desperate team like Brooklyn or Detroit will pick him up, this could remove the $ 25 million-plus per year which would be astronomical for Miami’s salary cap. This would make Miami major contenders in the 2017 free agency.
The 2008 second round pick in Goran Dragic has finally become the player Miami has hoped he would become. Over the last 10 games, he has averaged 22 points, approximately 7 assists, and a steal as well. In Miami’s wins this year, he’s averaged 20.9 points and 6 assists. In Miami’s losses, he’s still been productive with 18.2 points and 7 assists.
That’s just it, he’s scoring more because he has the ball in hands a lot more. You saw what happened in the previous years when Dragic was paired up with other competitive guards. Also, Don’t panic about the turnover numbers for Dragic with 3.2 per game. That also attributes to the fact that he has the ball in his hands a lot.
If you still question that, Russell Westbrook has 5.5 turnovers per game (Just saying). What am I getting at? Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside are the only proven starters on the Heat for the upcoming year. Dragic is now 30 years of age. His elevated play in recent games has attracted the eyes of GM’s across the League. Miami spent this past offseason filling the roster with old, washed up players. I mean the biggest name was Derrick Williams! Really, Derrick Williams who’s pretty much known for dunking. He was just one of those lottery picks who couldn’t adjust to the NBA. That happens to a lot of players (*cough* *cough* Austin Rivers). Anyway, the rumor is that Miami might use Dragic’s recent success and move him for some first round picks. Miami could definitely use the fresh legs, especially with this loaded upcoming draft class. Either way, the decision to keep or deal Dragic for 1st round picks should be okay with any Miami fan.
Miami has another shot to get it right in the draft. Not to say that the Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson picks weren’t good. Actually, Richardson turned out to be a complete steal in the second round and was snubbed from being selected for one of the two All-Rookie Teams. Winslow was also a good pick. He’s an athletic wing with great defensive capabilities. He also displayed his abilities to step up in big moments when he led Duke alongside Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor to topping Wisconsin with Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminski in the NCAA title game back in 2015. Winslow’s development has since been stanched. A major reason for that is the departure of Dwyane Wade. You could even see it, how Winslow’s play flourished under Wade’s teaching. Either way, Winslow’s development could be in jeopardy by being thrown into the spotlight too fast.
A Possible Future
Miami has another lottery pick (top 10) for the 2017 NBA Draft. Nbadraft.net has Miami taking the former 2016, No.1 high school player in the country in Harry Giles. Harry Giles was supposed to be a dynamic duo alongside Jayson Tatum at Duke, who is also a projected lottery pick, but a knee injury has slowed the debut of the coveted big man. However, at 6-10 and 240 lbs., he along with Whiteside can do some major damage to the League’s best front courts (the Cavaliers or Spurs).
Now lets let our imagination run wild for a bit. Let’s say Dragic isn’t traded. Miami’s starting lineup consists of Dragic, Winslow, Whiteside, and Giles. But wait, there’s one more spot open. This is where free agency comes in. This is all in hopes that the financial situation with Bosh goes Miami’s way. Let’s say Miami gets the money back from Bosh and now can splurge in free agency. I’ll hold my breath, but we could see the return of flash (Dwyane Wade). Other free agent targets Miami could go for include Serge Ibaka, Jeff Green, Blake Griffin, Manu Ginobili, Tyreke Evans, or even J.J. Redick. These are all possibilities, however, separating Griffin and Redick from Doc Rivers and Chris Paul is going to be very tough. Ginobili most likely won’t leave San Antonio. So what does that leave for Miami, if you want youth then targets like Ron Baker who was a star scorer out of Wichita would be nice and cheap. Tim Hardaway Jr. wouldn’t be a bad one either and would highly affordable. Jonathon Simmons is having a good year in San Antonio and is due for a pay raise. Expect teams to reach out to him as well. Other attractive names include Kyle Korver, Jodie Meeks, or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
I saved this option for last. This wouldn’t be that tough to incorporate into Miami’s roster. DeMarcus Cousins and the Kings haven’t always seen eye-to-eye. If Miami could entice him to coming to South Beach, Miami could easily have the best fron tcourt in the League. Cousins is THE best Center in the league and is a big man that doesn’t need a guard to put the ball in his hands. Whiteside is a unmovable, defensive force on the block and also leads the league in rebounds. Top that off with also signing Cousin’s teammate in Ben McLemore.
Now Miami goes from one of the worst teams in the league to one of the top in the East again. The possibilities are endless, but we’ll just leave it to Pat Riley to come through on his word and put something like this together.