Sunday, March 28, 2010

You Be the GM

Assuming a $53 million Salary cap for 2010, Miami has the ability to retain all of its rotation players, sign two first round draft picks and sign a free agent for around $10 million, assuming we are able to re-sign our guys for reasonable first year salaries as part of a long term deal. Just take a look at James Jones's contract to figure out how Riley can pull that off.

Jones was signed to a five year deal with partial guarantees in years 3-5, which made up for the lower starting salary (in comparison to his other offers) and allowed Miami to stay under the luxury tax in that season.

$4.1M Michael Beasley
$1.8M Daequan Cook

Partial Guarantee
$1.9M James Jones ($4.7M full salary)

Player Option
$16.4M Dwyane Wade (max deal at $16.6M)
$.9 M Joel Anthony

Team Option
$.9 M Mario Chalmers

Unrestricted Free Agents (with hypothetical starting salaries on their new deals)
$6 M Jermaine O'Neal
$4 M Udonis Haslem
$3 M Dorell Wright
$2 M Quentin Richardson
$1 M Jamaal Magloire
$1 M Carlos Arroyo

First Round Draft Picks
$1.5M Toronto #1 Pick (15th)
$1.2M Miami #1 Pick (18th)

That's $42.7M committed to 14 players (assuming they are all brought back, including James Jones), leaving $10.3M available for one player. The idea then is to put your thinking caps on, using these figures, and make decisions on these players. Who would you keep, who would you trade and who would you sign and for how much?

Here is a complete list of all of the restricted and unrestricted free agents in 2010 and 2011. It could be important to keep in mind who will be available in 2011 also:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dissecting the Race for the 5th and 6th spots in the East

You will read many places that Miami is in the 6th spot in the East and trail Milwaukee by just a game for the 5th seed. This is only a half truth as Miami is a half game ahead of Charlotte with a game in hand and has as many victories as the Bucks with two games in hand.

When taking a look at these standings from here on out, what you'll really want to do is look at the loss column and keep in mind that Miami will have to end the season with one less loss than both Milwaukee and Charlotte, considering they have lost the season series to both clubs.

When you look at the standings in that way, the Heat is one game behind Charlotte and three games behind Milwaukee, with those teams having one and two more games remaining on their plates respectively.

Miami has all but secured a playoff spot as they hold a five game lead in the loss column on 9th place Chicago by way of winning the season series 3 games to 1. Up next is a home game against the 8th seed Toronto, who with a victory would close the gap with Miami to one in the loss column, as they would take the season series 3 games to 1.

After the Toronto game, Miami closes the season with eight games against teams whose playoff hopes were dashed in December. Anything can happen, but the glass is starting to look half full again.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Good Luck Chuck?

Today Charles Barkley and the rest of the TNT crew will be at the United Center to provid the play by play analysis of the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls game. Earlier this season, Sir Charles compared the Miami Heat to the Jackson 5 saying Wade was Michael Jackson and the supporting cast was just a bunch of Tito's. This caught the attention of Udonis Haslem and Michael Beasley who spoke up after a couple of victories when Dwyane was injured.

"I'm mad,'' Beasley said. "I feel like I'm not getting that respect. I'm not saying I've won a championship or I'm scoring 40 a night. It's just disrespect, to us as a team. I read daily how Dwyane Wade needs help and how he has no talent on his team. I strongly disagree. I'm trying to show not only my team but the league I can be relied on day in and day out.''Udonis also said something about Charles remembering their names now and then the Heat went on to go on a prolongued slump which helped drop them all the way to number 9 in the standings. The lesson learned seems to be to just stay quiet and do your job and allow your play to do the talking.

Today, the nation will be watching and 2008's #2 draft pick will have a great opportunity to prove himself in front of one of his loudest critics while playing opposite that drafts #1 pick Derrick Rose. Michael is no longer mentioned in the same breath with Derrick, but as the guy that was picked ahead of OJ Mayo, Russell Westbrook and Brook Lopez (guys that Pat Riley was tempted to draft).

While those guys have proven worthy of being picked #2 overall, I think Mike should be offended and take advantage of this opportunity to shut the critics up. A look at Derrick Rose's All-Star numbers vesus Michael's "Tito" numbers show the gap to be a bit overstated.

Derrick Rose
20.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 5.8 apg, 0.7 spg, 0.3 bpg, 2.8 to in 36 mpg

Michael Beasley
15.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.6 bpg, 1.6 to in 30 mpg

Raise your hand if you knew Mike averaged more steals per game than the mighty Derrick Rose? That statistic actually shocked me. I love Rose's points, rebounds and assists numbers and think he is an impressive player. I actually was one of the first to get on the Rose bandwagon back when Michael was the favorite for the #1 pick (prior to the NCAA tournament), but take a look at what Mike's numbers would be if adjusted to 36 mpg (20% increase in playing time):

18.1 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.2 spg, o.7 bpg, 1.9 to

These numbers seem to suggest that Michael is more Jermaine than Tito, can he prove it to the world starting today? Maybe Charles Barkley's presence courtside will provide extra motivation and be some sort of good luck charm for a player that sometimes seems to lack focus.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Projecting the 2010 Free Agent Market

With each passing day, we get closer to the 2010 off-season. Assuming $53.6 is the cap, the teams with the most space according to

New York $21,571,737 $32,028,263
New Jersey $27,170,659 $26,429,341
Miami $32,254,326 $21,345,674
Washington $34,454,130 $18,943,379
Chicago $35,662,116 $17,937,884
Sacramento $36,454,130 $17,145,870
L.A. Clippers $38,235,273 $15,364,727
Minnesota $41,004,156 $12,595,844
Oklahoma City $42,104,151 $11,495,849

It would take a minor miracle for Miami to make a surprise run to the NBA Finals, so let's take another look ahead at the reconstruction process. Below is my (completely premature and amateur) prediction for the major 2010 free agents. With teams like New York, Washington, Chicago, and Sacramento clearing more cap room for this off-season, I am projecting more players to opt out and test the waters:

LeBron James.....................Cavs (opts out, re-signs for the max)
Dwayne Wade.....................Heat (opts out, re-signs for the max)
Chris Bosh..........................Raptors (opts out, re-signs for the max)
Amare Stoudemire.............Suns (opts out, re-signs for the max)
Dirk Nowitzki.....................Mavs (opts out, re-signs for the max)
Joe Johnson.......................Hawks (opts out, re-signs for the max)
Yao Ming............................Rockets (opts out, re-signs for the max)
Carlos Boozer.....................Knicks (signs for the max)
Rudy Gay...........................Grizzlies (re-signs for the max)
Paul Pierce.........................Celtics (exercises $21 million player option)
Ray Allen............................Celtics (re-signs for 3 years, $21 million)
David Lee...........................Thunder (signs for 5 years, $60 million)
Michael Redd.....................Knicks (opts out, signs for 5 years, $80 million)
Brendan Haywood.............Mavs (re-signs for 6 years, $70 million)
Shaquille O'Neal.................Cavs (re-signs for 2 years, $20 million)
Josh Howard......................Wizards (team picks up $11.8 million option)
Kenyon Martin...................Nuggets (exercises $16.5 million player option)
Al Harrington.....................Suns (signs for 5 years, $35 million)
Tracy McGrady...................Clippers (signs for 1 year, $10 million)
Luis Scola...........................Rockets (re-signs for 5 years, $40 million)
Marcus Camby...................Blazers (signs for 2 years, $16 million)
Jermaine O'Neal................Heat (re-signs for 5 years, $40 million)

Mathematically speaking, Miami would rather bring in a free agent via sign and trade. This would allow the team to hold onto any and all of its players, sign its draft picks and use the mid-level ($6 million) and bi-annual exception ($2 million).

I will be dreaming of signing LeBron, Bosh, or Stoudemire with the rest of you but if nobody moves I will take solace in the fact that we retained the best player in franchise history and try not to pout too much about what could have been. With Wade under contract for another six years it should be pretty easy to take the next step forward and become a contender again even if the dream of building a dynasty in Miami does not take root.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Orlando and Miami a 2 Versus 7 preview?

Miami has a big home game coming up against Charlotte if it wants to overtake them for the Eastern Conference's 6th seed. The Bobcats will be on the second game of a back to back that starts tonight in Atlanta, so there is reason to be optimistic. Two straight losses by the Cats would give Miami a 1/2 game lead on them.

However, should Miami remain in their current position, the #2 seed Orlando would be the first round opponent. At first glance it is a matchup we want no part of. However, JO seems to play with a lot more fire when he is up against Dwight. Also, the addition of Vince and subtraction of Hedo has made them a lot better of a match up for us, because it inserts two knuckle heads into the Orlando lineup in Mr. Carter and Matt Barnes. Rashard Lewis is not a true power forward, so they only have a noticeable size advantage when they go to their bench... assuming Dwight is kept relatively in check.

As frustrating as it has been to watch Miami fall behind at home to the Spurs and Magic and then come up short with their exhilarating comebacks, the mere fact that they have comebacks in them when other teams would have already packed it in is encouraging.

If Miami does want to avoid Orlando and Cleveland in the first round, they need to get hot right now as Charlotte, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Toronto are four of the next five opponents, along with the Nets. The final 8 games of the season will be against teams that are way under .500.

The ideal scenario seems to be the 6th seed and a first round match-up with Atlanta (who is battling Boston for playoff positioning), followed by a series with Orlando. However, I don't sense that Miami is afraid facing the Magic in the first round. They were one play away from taking the series 3-1. Hopefully Spoelstra and his boys put in some overtime on those late game scenarios that have seen potential victories against Orlando, Boston, Cleveland and Los Angeles (among many others) turn into gut wrenching defeats. This team has a hard enough road ahead without giving games away at the end.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Who is Kenny Hasbrouck?

The Miami Heat filled Rafer Alston's spot on the roster with rookie Kenny Hasbrouck out of Siena. Kenny went undrafted and was brought into Heat camp in the offseason, but was cut prior to the pre-season during injury.

He is described as a combo guard who is good at attacking the rim. According to coach Spoelstra he was a hard guy to cut and they have already seen improvement in his jumpshot since last summer. This claim is backed up by his numbers for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers 50.4 FG%, 38.1% 3PT%, and 80.6 FT%... a steady climb from his college averages of 44.5%/37.6%/74.0%.

His D-League averages of 16.9 pts, 2.9 ast, 1.6 stl suggest he could be a scorer off the bench with good ball hawking ability, but not much of a distributor. It will be interesting to get a look at him in live action, but this week's schedule is not very friendly.

Here is a story on Kenny and his family from last year's tourney, seems like a solid citizen at least... hopefully his play matches his attitude:

Friday, March 12, 2010

Bullying the Bulls B team

Derrick Rose has been ruled out of tonight's game, joining Joakim Noah and Luol Deng on the injured list. Miami will enter this game without the services of Dorell Wright, Rafer Alston (still technically on the roster) and Michael Beasley is a gametime decision.

If I were to guess tonight's Chicago Bulls starting lineup it would be:

C - B. Miller
PF - T. Gibson
SF - H. Warrick
SG - R. Murray
PG - K. Hinrich

It is not a scary lineup, but I wouldn't sleep on them. Miami will need to come out agressive as this is a MUST WIN game for the depleted Bulls, who still have to travel to Memphis and Dallas before coming home to welcome Cleveland.

If Mike Beasley sits out the game, I believe Udonis Haslem should be rewarded with a start. I really do not understand why Spoelstra is so hell bent on not messing with the rotation. It doesn't work anyway, shake it up, something good could happen.

In the only two games that Beasley has not been available, Joel Anthony was given the start. I really don't have a problem with this decision, because I believe he will get the job done, but I can't help but get flashbacks to last season's Diawara at the 4 debacle.

The Heat must develop a killer instinct and send Chicago reeling towards a 7th consecutive loss. A convincing victory against a desperate, albeit shorthanded, Chicago team will go a long ways towards re-igniting the passion and fire that this unit had when they came out of the gates with a 6-1 record.

Out of respect for those who are superstitious I will not predict the outcome, but I see Wade getting the better of Hinrich and company. He will go for the kill and try to earn some 4th quarter rest again.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Are you serious Dorell?

Really, Dorell Wright, Really? DUI? Why don't these guys learn? I guess he figured Arroyo's run in with the law was rewarded with a starting position. Honestly, what happened with Arroyo, was he drunk too? He refused to take a breathalyzer and took a beating for it, but he is still innocent until proven guilty so props to him, I guess. However, shouldn't a player get suspended for resisting arrest?

Back to the topic of drunk driving. It has gone too far. Am I the only person who saw Al Jefferson get a two game suspension for it and thought "That's it?". I remember my neighbor losing his job due to a DUI. Not in the NBA, two game suspension. Granted a two game suspension is a lot of money, but it is 1/41 of their annual paycheck and less than a week suspension. What sort of message is that sending? If the NBA really Cares about their communities they will make these off the court issues a priority in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Dorell's driving record is terrible, having his license suspended as recently as this past October. I think he should get a five game suspension. More than the T-Wolves, but not enough to drive him out of town ala James Posey and the body fat suspension. He is a free agent at the conclusion of this season and if the front office didn't trade him for a first round pick it is because they still value him.

No Place Like Home

The second game of this six game home stand is tomorrow against the Chicago Bulls. The same Bulls that were victimized by Wade's heroics last year in a double OT game that prompted him to jump on the scorer's table and yell "This is my house!" after sinking a dramatic buzzer beater off of a steal.

Go ahead and take a trip down memorable lane, I'll wait:

My favorite part is the post game interview, where he says he was gonna call the timeout. I would love for Wade to remind Chicago that Miami is his house once again. Like the Charlotte game, this one is worth two - A Miami win and a Chicago loss. Well, maybe three because Chicago is like Wade's ex that wants him to come back, you know?

Chicago has fallen one game out of the playoffs thanks to a five game losing streak. Tonight they start a back to back at Orlando and then Miami. Realistically, we could land a knock them into the brink of submission with a 7 game losing streak. It doesn't stop there though, because they will leave Miami and try to regroup for another back to back at Memphis and Dallas. Did I mention Chicago is 12-20 away from home? Then they get to go home to face Cleveland, so they could be in the middle of a 10 game losing streak if they don't catch a break.

The Bulls really have no one to blame but themselves for this mess. It is their lust for Wade that helped them decide that dumping Tyrus Thomas onto the Charlotte Bobcats and John Salmons onto the Milwaukee Bucks would be a good idea. Sure, they cleared the landscape a bit for the off-season, but they muddled their playoff picture this season and deserve to be on the outside looking in when the season ends.

What they don't deserve is to land the #1 pick in the lottery again.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

2010 Draft: Searching for A Few Good Men

I spent some time looking at guys that aren't consensus early lottery picks, because we cannot make the playoffs and draft Evan Turner, John Wall, Wesley Johnson, Derrick Favors or DeMarcus Cousins. It is extremely doubtful that we will be able to make a deal to be able to snatch up one of those guys, so I will ignore them for now.

The first guy that caught my eye was Charles Garcia, from Seattle U (a program that is in its second season in Division I), who was the very first to declare for the draft, check out his athleticism:

They compare him to a cross between Lamar Odom and Andray Blatche. He leads the NCAA by going to the free throw stripe 14 times a game, but he only makes 50% of those shots. He also is a turnover machine which could scare away Miami, who otherwise likes tall and versatile forwards.

Another guy that impressed me with his athleticism is Larry Sanders, from VCU. His shot blocking reminds me of Dwight Howard - although he doesn't jump as high, he has a 7'7" wingspan. Put him in the weight room with with Zo and this guy could be our center of the future. He seems worthy of a first round pick:

A more classic option at the center position is the Nigerian born Florida State Seminole Solomon Alibi. He is 7'1" 251 lbs and also a shot blocker and a project. He gets compared with Hasheem Thabeet and should be available in the mid to late first round as he also needs to develop his game and add considerable muscle to his frame. You can get a glimpse of him in this college feature:

In my research, I have not found any first round grades on point guards besides John Wall, so expect that position to be filled elsewhere. These 3 guys are high on potential, but none would likely crack the rotation in 2010. I have a feeling figuring out what Miami will do with these draft picks will not be easy. Do they want to keep them or ship them? Do they want to target specific positions or best available? Are they drafting on potential or NBA readiness? I am most certainly confused, I hope our front office isn't.

SPOntaneous Combustion

Spontaneous Combustion is a term used to describe cases of the burning of a living human body without any apparent external source of ignition.

SPOntaneous Combustion is a term to describe cases where our team is on fire and then they burn out thanks to Spoelstra's mindless rotations and motivational techniques.

Chalk up this loss in Charlotte as another SPOntaneous Combustion.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Beasley Trade is Inevitable, unless...

...he trades his nickname "B-Easy" for "The Beast". There was no hurrah for Michael article from me after his 14 point eruption the other night, because it isn't surprising. The guy is a "PTP'er", a "Diaper Dandy", and all of those great things that Dick Vitale would say... but we need him to grow up or get out of the way.

For my liking, Michael, DaeQuan, Dorell and Mario are "on the bubble" (another March Madness reference) for the 2010 Miami Heat roster. It may sound really harsh, but there comes a point when the finger pointing and excuse making needs to end. Michael has all the tools to score inside and outside, however, his attitude is "take what the defense gives me" or "Be Easy".

No Michael, don't be easy. Be nasty. Be tough. Be manly. Be Beastly. Wade punched you in the chest the other day and you stepped up and made some game changing plays. However, he can't punch you every day, you are going to have some inner fortitude to take your game to the next level.

Tomorrow, when you walk into practice I want you to walk up to Magloire and punch him. OK, not really, but you really do need to grow some huevos. Don't be a soft, finesse player, if we wanted a 6'10" shooter we would have signed Steve Novak. We tanked a season and you are supposed to be our prize. Grab 10 boards every games - it's not like Jermaine is hogging up the boards. Udonis comes in and gets 8 a game, why are you under 7 if you are logging more minutes? You need to take rebounding personally. Challenge Joel Anthony and Alonzo Mourning to a rebounding contest, playing for boonks (the loser bends over and gets kicked in the arse). Learn how to box out, throw elbows and play big or do we need to have big brother Zo punch you in the gut to remind you this is a man's sport?

I believe in you Mike, I just don't believe you are taking the right approach. Miami almost traded for Amar'e and they are targeting Chris Bosh and Carlos Boozer too. Take it personally. You do not want to play Small Forward, do you? I am perfectly content with signing one of these studs and have you split time at the 3 and 4, but you shouldn't be. You should be hell bent on making Miami change its 2010 focus onto finding centers, small forwards and point guards... and instead you are trying to become a Small Forward in a Power Forwards body. Stop that. Unleash "THE BEAST"!

I like the sound of it Michael "The Beast" Beasley. I hope you do too, because you can be a Hall of Famer. You are so lucky to be playing with a HOFer, but your window of opportunity to become his trusted sidekick is closing fast.

Skipping Out the Back Door

So, today we finally hear from Rafer Alston and it just sounds like a lame excuse from a guy who mistakingly thinks he's too good to be third string. Judge for yourself:

It sounds like Rafer thought that if AI can get out of Philly with his daughter's illness, he can use a family member to get out too.

Rafer, the hero, decides his twin sister needed him because she had attempted suicide. BS! The last thing you wanna do to a family member who almost committed suicide is put the spotlight on them... it is embarrassing to admit that you almost took your own life. Alas, twin brother Rafer decides to cause a scene, quitting his high profile job and tell the story to ESPN. I'm sure his sister is loving him right now.

This rivals Latrell Sprewell's need to "feed his family" as his excuse for rejecting a lucrative extension offer from the T-Wolves with worst attempt at shielding selfishness with family motives. AI's may just be the most shameless and disgusting, as he was promoting a party with Jermaine Dupri a mere seven days after abandoning the 76ers in order to take care of his sick daughter, check him out:

I used to feel bad for talented headcases like Latrell and Dennis Rodman for prematurely ending their own careers, but as I have grown up I realize that they took their jobs for granted and deserved their fates. When you're young and talented you can get away with murder, but the expectation is that thirty year olds will not say things like "my dog ate my homework" and expect you to believe it.

AI and Skip should head to China to sell shoes with Stephon Marbury. The NBA accepts your resignations.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Amare and Boozer?

Rumors had been flying around that Miami's talks with Phoenix and Utah were about making deals in the off season for Stoudemire and/or Boozer. We already had heard Boozer lobbying to join forces with Wade last season and now Amare is letting it be known that he is open to a sign and trade to Miami or Cleveland after the season.

You figure Phoenix and Utah will be in a better position to deal their stars for young players and draft picks in the off-season rather than in the midst of a playoff push.

However, I wonder if Miami can pull off either acquisition without including Michael Beasley. Honestly, Phoenix and Utah will not have the leverage to demand Beasley as both Boozer and Stoudemire could easily sign rich contracts without their former club's help. If Beasley is shipped it will probably be part of a much bigger deal. Maybe landing both players?

Neither Boozer or Amare will ever be compared to Alonzo Mourning on the defensive end, but each is legitimately one of the top Power Forwards in the game and Amare can be very effective as an undersized center. As sad as it is to admit, Michael Beasley's legacy in Miami may end up being that of a trade asset.

Ever since we lost that draft lottery and we heard Pat Riley say that he was going to "leverage" the pick, this possibility has been in the back of my mind. It seems Michael Beasley was drafted because he was the best available player, nobody traded up for the right to draft him and he has been available ever since.

With Pat Riley you never know what to expect, he has already pulled off the largest trade in NBA history to help bring Miami its first championship, could this off-season bring us a similar package? My guess is that Wade WILL have two All-Stars playing next to him next season even if it has to be at the expense of Mike Beasley.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Time to Heat up or Shut up blog writer Sekou Smith was impressed by the Heat's 114-111 overtime victory, saying the victory had "less to do with the Heat distancing itself from the likes of the Bobcats and more to do with showing the Los Angeles Lakers that its one-point Dec. 4 loss at Staples Center was a realistic depiction of how good it could be at the top of its game".

He says the difference between Miami and the other struggling .500 teams is the fact that we have Dwyane Wade, who "remains one of the games truly elite players". Like the rest of us, he wishes the supporting cast "came to play more often".

Nothing new here, we have all seen these guys show "flashes of absolute brilliance and complete disaster within the same calendar week". The thing I'm sensing is that the fan base is sick of it. Many of us have gotten so disgusted that we secretly want them to miss the playoffs and spare us the potential embarrassment of a playoff series against an elite club.

We figure we have a better chance to win the NBA draft lottery than to win the NBA title. Not true, if you believe John Hollinger's simulations which give Miami a 0.7% chance of winning the title. The third or fourth best teams missing the playoffs will have a 0.7% chance and 0.8% chance to win the lottery, so if you cannot see this team winning a title, you should not hold your breath on winning the lottery. John Wall would be a gift from the heavens, but I prefer to go for .

I have to admit I still feel the glass is half empty with this group of players, but I sincerely hope they play out the final 20 games and playoffs with a chip on their shoulder and take out their frustrations on their first round opponent. They need to make a commitment to each other and play as a team. That's all there is to it, play your game and pay no attention to the media. If they believe they can win, they need to play like it nightly.

A new season begins now. The goal should be to finish the season hot. Going 14-6 the rest of the way would give them a 45-37 record and strong chance of earning the 5th seed. It should also give them the confidence needed to become world beaters at the right time.

I am also not holding my breath on that scenario, but anything can happen and this is my wish for them. How likely is this scenario? What are your wishes for the rest of this season?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What if Wade did not play this year?

Consider me amongst those that thinks every win is beautiful. However, struggling to pull out a home victory against a severely shorthanded Golden State team was alarming.

I think it is safe to say that without Wade, Miami loses to that team yesterday. When one of the league's bottom feeders, playing with the minimum 8 players and two of them are of the D-league variety, is a tough matchup for you, you aren't very good. When you aren't very good and you have Dwyane Wade on your team, you flat out stink.

I am not going to get into the Tito Jackson debate, but seriously, are the New Jersey Nets better than Miami if Wade were not on the team?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Second Chance...

"Just when I thought you couldn't be any dumber, you go and do something like this... and totally redeem yourself!".

That is a classic line from Harry (Jeff Daniels) in the comedy "Dumb and Dumber", and it pretty much sums up the Miami Heat season for me. No matter how pathetic, ridiculous, stupid and irresponsible they find a way to reel us back in for the ride.

As I look at the standings today, I realize that the #4 through #10 seeds in the East have all lost a game or two or three consecutively to go along with our four straight defeats... except for Toronto, which has found a way to match our losing streak of 4 games.

Not only are we back in the 8th spot, after only one day of being on the outside looking in, but we are actually only 2 1/2 games away from our original target, the fifth spot. Any one of us will be relieved just to have this team qualify for the playoffs, but it is also nice to be able to look at that 5th spot and in the words of Lloyd (Jim Carrey) say "So you're telling me there's a chance!"

Monday, March 1, 2010

Pieces to the 2010 Puzzle

UPDATED CALCULATIONS - Assuming a conservative $53 Million Cap for 2010 (contracts rounded into tenths)

$16.6 D. Wade (his max contract starts at 30% of the cap)
$5.0 M. Beasley
$2.2 D. Cook
$1.9 J. Jones (assuming his release, deadline is June 30th)
$1.5 MIA First Round pick (estimate)
$1.3 TOR First Round pick (estimate)
$0.8 M. Chalmers
$0.8 J. Anthony
$29.1 for seven roster spots
$0.5 empty slot cap hold
$0.5 " "
$0.5 " "
$0.5 " "
$0.5 " "
$31.6 cap hold after the draft, releasing James Jones and re-signing Wade

Leaves $21.4 million on the table. Every time a player is signed, you eliminate a $0.5 cap hold too, so that is a lot of money. Assuming they spend it on:

2 players = $22.4 million ... two players averaging $11.2M
3 players = $22.9 million ... three players averaging $7.6M
4 players = $23.4 million ... four players averaging $5.9M (about 4 mid level exceptions)
5 players = $23.9 million ... five players averaging $4.8M
6 players = $24.4 million ... six players averaging $4.1M

Most likely, the last few roster spots would be filled with players earning the veteran minimum after the money has been exhausted between two to four players. A second round pick or undrafted free agent could also round the roster, but let's not waste our time with roster spots 11-15.

What would you guys do if you had these numbers to play with? Besides Wade, the Heat has $10-15 million in tradeable assets, depending on whether it keeps James Jones on board for another season or not (yes, Beasley is a trade asset... think back to Boston trading Al Jefferson for KG). Maybe the glass is half full after all?

Thanks a New Day for providing the maximum starting salaries for the top players:

$17.3 A. Stoudemire
$16.8 J. Johnson
$16.6 D. Wade
$16.6 L. James
$16.6 C. Bosh
$14.4 C. Boozer
$12.0 R. Gay