Monday, February 15, 2010
Sticking to the Plan
Pat Riley's 2009 Miami Heat leaves a lot to be desired. It is widely believed that the roster is filled with expiring contracts in order to enter the 2010 free agent bonanza in position to re-sign Wade and add another superstar player. This is, after all, what Pat Riley himself has told the world and it makes a lot of sense.
Miami is currently the only team in the NBA that can pair two max contracts this off-season. While it is hard to believe that any player will turn down a 6 year, $124 million deal to stay with their current team, I give Miami credit for giving James, Bosh and company something to think about.
However, I am not 100% convinced that the organization has placed all of their eggs on the 2010 basket. Anybody that has spent some time playing around on the NBA trade machine has noticed that we have expirings in all shapes and sizes: $23M (JO), $9M (Q-Rich), $7M (UD), $4M (Jones - partial guarantee), $3M (Wright).
Miami has enough pieces to make a solid offer for Amar'e without including Beasley... my offer would be UD, Jones, Wright, Cook, two first round draft picks and cash. Phoenix could take that offer straight up or use some of those pieces to go after Andre Igoudala, whom they are said to covet. The offer blows the rumored Cavaliers offer of JJ Hickson, Big Z (whom Phoenix would agree to buyout?) and a late first round pick out of the water and is reminiscent of the offer that landed Shaq in Miami years ago when the Heat sent every asset not named Dwayne Wade to the Los Angeles Lakers.
By trading Cook and Jones, Miami saves about $3 million in 2010 salary commitments. The two first round picks would also take home another $3 million or so in 2010. Mathematically speaking this trade clears nearly as much cap space as trading Beasley for Stoudamire as Ira had suggested.
With all this being said, it seems that Phoenix, like Toronto, would be better served holding onto their unhappy big man until the off-season as they could possibly negotiate better deals in an off-season sign and trade transaction even if they cannot ultimately convince them to stay.
Since Miami has not made a strong run after any of the available All-Star caliber Small Forwards that were traded in the last 12 months (Richard Jefferson, Stephen Jackson, Caron Butler, Josh Howard), I do not see them going after Igoudala. It is looking like Amar'e or bust.