June 14, 2014

#LBJ and the Heat can do better than Melo

As I and six zillion other sports bloggers discussed a couple of days ago, the hottest NBA rumor is that the Knicks' free agent Carmelo Anthony would come to Miami on a max contract — IF the Big Three of LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade would all exercise their contract opt-out rights and come back for less, and other players would adjust their contracts as needed.

But, if you look at Miami's roster, they've got other, more pressing, needs.

1. Chris Anderson, the Birdman, is 36 next year. Even allowing for centers running less, the NBA being a kick-out league, etc., still, there's not a whole lot of mileage on his odometer. And, you can't count on Greg Oden behind him, of course.

2. Udonis Haslem, long-time defensive lockdown player and scrapper, can't even off the bench. He'll be 34 next year.

3. Shane Battier, of course, is retiring.

So, they need either a SF/PF banger or a PF/C banger, like, uh, in the coming year for sure. And, especially if it's the SF/PF type, more than just "banger," an all-around defender type is desirable. (And, we know Michael Beasley is not the answer for any of this, since his middle initials are DNP.)

And, as I said, the other position is a combo guard. Someone to spell Wade more at SG, and also let him go to SF and spell James a bit more.

But, let's say Miami is looking offense first at that first slot. He's a stretch as a PF, but, hell, wouldn't Luol Deng be a better option to integrate into the team than Melo?  Rudy Gay might be pretty cheap. Hell, Paul Pierce might want to do one more run, but not in Brooklyn. Or, if the Heat want to look defense first, Shawn Marion might be an option. Or Andrei Kirilenko.

For a guard, there's also multiple options that might not be too expensive.

Greivis Vasquez is a tall PG who can also shoot.  Kirk Hinrich might also be available if the Bulls think he's too old. Either one lets you dump
Mario Chalmers and sometimes play one of them at SG while Norris Cole is your point.

So, you do a midrange contract at one slot, and a minimum or a bump above it at the other, depending on exactly what Miami has to offer. 

Or else chase Deng at a price of 65 cents on the Carmelo dollar, assuming that's about what the NBA free agent market says he's worth.

Anyway, Miami's got better, smarter options than signing Carmelo Anthony to fill serious needs. And, if LBJ isn't ready to believe that, then part of Pat Riley's job is to convince him of that.

That's even more true after Game 4 of the Finals, where Wade well earned his ESPN F grade. The Heat needs to replace a fair amount of his game within the next 24 months and also find out ways to upgrade elsewhere. Per Van Gundy, I don't think Miami is the second-best team in the league this year, not right now, at least.

Meanwhile, there's other chemistry considerations. Carmelo isn't coming to Miami to be the third offensive option. Deng or somebody lower might accept Wade nominally being the No. 2. Carmelo won't. And Riley wouldn't be paying Carmelo to be the No. 3 option.

If Serge Ibaka is healthy at the start of the Western Conference finals, that's your NBA title series right there.

And, per my friend's comment below, AK-47 would be great in San Antonio. But, you gotta resign Kawhi Leonard first. Then, at least make a serious effort at resigning Patty Mills. (You'll get some cap freedom back in 2015-16, assuming at least Manu retires after one more year, and possible Timmeh as well.) First things first.

What they do NOT need to do is listen to this knucklehead commenter on Sports on Earth who says their first need is a center. In my last response, I gave up trying to further reason with him, halfway through, and I said 29 other GMs and head coaches would applaud if Pat Riley decided to concentrate his attention, and his free money, on a center first.


dhoelscher said...

Hi Steve. Agree with you 100 percent that C.A. is not the way the Heat need to go. Not being a fan of the team, however, I wouldn't mind seeing them go after him, for if they got him they wouldn't even make the finals next year. As a Spurs fan (also a life long Bucks fan--a whole other story) I'm much more interested to see what happens with them. If Duncan and Ginobili come back, what moves ought they to make? Seems to me if they were to bring in a rebounding specialist (Kris Humphries in an unselfish player who'd be a good fit off the bench) and a defensive specialist who could spell Kawhi in guarding guys like LeBron and KD (somebody like Kirilenko, if he's not too old), they'd win 70 games in 2015.

Dave Hoelscher

Gadfly said...

I'm at least a semi-fan of the Spurs ... and Kirilenko wouldn't be a bad add at all.

dhoelscher said...

There's also this: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2096282-ray-allen-says-retirement-is-an-option-after-2014-nba-finals-conclude