Thursday, May 13, 2010

What if Joe Johnson signs?

The season is not yet over and players are starting to make their pitch to the Miami Heat. First it was Raja Bell on a minimal deal and now it is Joe Johnson who is saying he is intrigued by the opportunity to build a winner in Miami.

Assuming the best free agent Miami could attract this off-season was Joe Johnson. How much would that improve the team? Who would be more likely to be asked to return and who would be given their walking papers?

How about the center who averages 17.5 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 1.8 bpg per 36? Jermaine O'Neal might be the best free agent center available.

Or the power forward who averages 17.8 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.1 spg, 0.7 bpg per 36? Michael Beasley wouldn't be so disgusted by his numbers if he got more minutes.

Or what about the power forward who averages 12.7 ppg, 9.5 rpg per 36? Udonis Haslem points pale in comparison, but his rebounding rate is the best of the bunch.

Or even the power forward/center who averages 5.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 3.1 bpg per 36? Joel Anthony would likely come back for under $1 million even if he decides to opt out as is being rumored.

I think you may only need to replace one of those guys with a more explosive option to make the front court more capable of matching up with and or creating match up problems for the opposition. We all know the top of the line options that will cost $15M+ (Boozer, Bosh, Stoudemire) but could there be a lower cost alternative that could be almost as intriguing?

How about a power forward who averages 15 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 1.9 spg, 2.5 bpg per 36? Tyrus Thomas is a restricted free agent for Charlotte and will likely cost in the $10-12M neighborhood. Is this a restricted free agent worth pursuing? By the numbers it is a no brainer, but does he have the brains? The last thing we need is to become a great regular season team that is too stupid to win when it matters... like Atlanta.

As coach Spoelstra famously said: "Got any ideas?"

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