2014 Miami Heat

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Miami Heat (Last Year: 54-28)

2013-14 Season Summary:
With reports that LeBron James will indeed opt out of his contract with the Miami Heat, suddenly the sting of the franchise being unable to complete the three-peat has been erased. Now, the team turns into panic mode as it tries to figure out how to bring James back to Miami while also wondering about the futures of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Those two also have the ability to become free agents this summer.





2014-15 Projected Depth Chart:


C: ^Chris Bosh/Chris Andersen

PF: ^Udonis Haslem

SF: ^LeBron James

SG: ^Dwyane Wade

PG: Norris Cole



NBA Free Agents:


SF-LeBron James (UFA)

^SG-Dwyane Wade (PO)

^PF-Chris Bosh (PO)

^PF-Udonis Haslem (PO)

PG-Mario Chalmers (UFA)

SG-Ray Allen (UFA)

F-Rashard Lewis (UFA)

SF-Michael Beasley (UFA)

SF-James Jones (UFA)

PG-Toney Douglas (UFA)

C-Greg Oden (UFA)




2014-15 Team Salary: Approximately $3.5 million





NBA Offseason Team Needs:


1. LeBron: Pretty simple; Miami needs to do everything in its power to re-sign LeBron James. Give him the key to the city, name the arena after him, buy him the entire beachfront; do whatever it takes.

The King figures to test the market with teams like the Lakers and Cavs headlining a list that has a realistic shot to lure LeBron out of South Beach. I still maintain that Miami has the best chance of keeping James, but a lot will depend on whether or not Wade and Bosh choose to become free agents. If all three opt out but then are willing to take a paycut to return to the Heat, the team would find itself with more flexibility in free agency to bring in more talent. That scenario seems like the best option for James.

If Miami is unable to make a new deal with James happen, Plan B will be exploring sign-and-trade deals so that the Heat can bring back some talent in return. Teams like the Clippers, Rockets, Bulls, maybe the Knicks, or Nets could all get involved in that scenario.

2. Depth. Everywhere.: With Chris Andersen and Norris Cole the only players under contract for next season, the Heat needs to address every area whether the Big Three returns to Miami or not. Let me break this up into two sections:

A.) If LeBron returns: the Heat need to find a capable low post scorer, a better point guard option and improved shooters on the wing – especially if Ray Allen does choose to retire.

B.) If LeBron leaves: Miami needs to clearly find an alpha dog since Wade is past his prime and maybe needing to “reinvent himself” as Pat Riley suggested during his end-of-the-year press conference. Plus, Bosh is simply not the go-to option on a title contender. If James did just bolt via free agency, the Heat would have the cap space to land a marquee free agent, and we all know how luring South Beach can be, so the franchise wouldn’t have to go into a full-fledged rebuilding effort. Any sign-and-trade deal should include a big name to help replace LeBron’s superstar status.









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