On Tuesday, the Miami Heat brought Michael Beasley back into the fold by offering him a spot on their training camp roster with a non-guaranteed contract that would net B-Easy over $1 million if he makes the team. Like Beasley, there are other NBA veterans who might play well if they latched on with the title-winning Heat.
After winning back-to-back championships, the Heat have done their best each offseason to bolster their bench. Whether it was signing oft-injured center Greg Oden, or retaining the services of Ray Allen and Chris Andersen, they’re always picking up NBA veterans who want to win.
With superstars LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh taking up the majority of the team’s salary cap, Miami needs to find players willing to settle for less than market value. Who better than veteran free agents â€” who have presumably made their millions already â€” to take a significant pay cut? With that in mind we compiled a list of veterans who would see their careers revived if they could find a way to align themselves with the Heat.
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Remember this guy? Ever since 2007, Daniel “Boobie” Gibson has been quite the non-factor in the basketball world. However, in 2011 he did marry Keyshia Cole and that has to count for something. Back in ’07, Gibson was playing second fiddle to none other than King James himself. Gibson made a name for himself knocking down threes off of the penetration of LBJ. Though the Heat already have sturdy players in the fold at point guard, adding another reliable shooter could only help.
Speaking of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals, the next name on the list was on the floor as LeBron dominated the Detroit Pistons for 25 straight points. Richard Hamilton is no longer the same player who called Kobe Bryant out and then went toe-to-toe with him in the 2004 NBA Finals, but he has perfected mid-range scoring. With D Wade starting to show his age (he now falls down seven times and gets up maybe four) another wing scorer would pay huge dividends for those moments when Wade isn’t at his best. With so many teams trying to clog the paint against James, Hamilton’s ability to knock down 15-18 foot jumpers would certainly open up the interior.
Tyrus Thomas the game changer is a thing of the past, I mean his time at LSU past. Thomas hasn’t had much of an impact in the NBA, but he does have two things that can’t be taught: size and athleticism. At 6-10 with a 7-3 wingspan, Thomas can still make some plays on the defensive end of the court. His time in the league hasn’t been all bad: he holds career averages of 7.7 PPG, 4.8 RPG and 1.3 BPG. The problem with Thomas is that he was drafted so high and then paid an enormous amount of money (over $37 million over seven years). At the veteran minimum, Thomas could be a steal if his talent finally shows up in South Beach.
Lamar Odom is a very good basketball player. Odom also has slipped into a battle with drugs as of late. What Odom needs more than a rehab facility is a practice facility. If given an opportunity, I believe LO could showcase some of the talent that once had several media outlets referring to him as a poor man’s Magic Johnson. The Heat love to exploit mismatches and Odom is a walking, (labored) breathing mismatch; he’s too quick for bigs and too long for guards. Given an opportunity to return to South Beach, much like the troubled Beasley, could work out beautifully for both Odom and Miami.
Yes, Tracy McGrady officially announced his retirement this summer. Still, I feel that T-MAC has some gas left in the tank. The competition level in China and the NBA are vastly different, but you don’t average 25.0 PPG 7.2 RPG and 5.1 APG anywhere without having at least some talent. He showed during his brief stint with the San Antonio Spurs that he is not the same player we love and remember. In Miami, like San Antonio, he wouldn’t need to be that guy. Imagine McGrady playing point forward for the Heat with LBJ and Wade on the wings. Whoever the other team’s point guard matches up against is going to be at an inherent disadvantage. I believe that T-MAC is capable of putting up 10 PPG, 3 RPG and 3 APG in a reduced role.
DeShawn Stevenson wants to be part of the Miami Heat. He let that much be known over the summer on Twitter.
Miami Heat Where I Wanna Go!!! Lebron Make it Happen
— dsteve92 & JMarie (@DSteve92JMarie) August 4, 2013
Stevenson had his share of battles against James when he played for the Wizards â€” his constant smack talk even inspired a diss track from Jay-Z. Now, as Stevenson enters the twilight of his career and his once world-class athleticism deteriorates, there is only so much he can do on a basketball court. What he can do is play defense like a pest. Imagine Shane Battier and DeShawn on the court at the same time. That would be pure entertainment for everyone except the Heat’s opponent. Battier would be taking charges left and right, while Stevenson guards the best player 94 feet while running his mouth at them every inch of the way.
Another former Miami Heat player who finds himself on this list is Cook. ‘Quan was part of the celebrated recruiting class that brought Mike Conley Jr. and Greg Oden to the Ohio State Buckeyes for a year and almost ended with a national title. In his six seasons in the NBA, Cook has been relegated to a spot-up shooter. Every team in the league can use a shooter, so Cook will probably find his way onto a team at some point. What better option than to team up with his college teammate Oden and try to win the title that eluded them in Columbus.
Leandro Barbosa was once a blur of speed and craftiness in the open court. The Brazilian guard would always find himself igniting the latest Suns fast break during his first few years in Phoenix. However, at 30 years old he isn’t as quick as he once was â€” though that still makes him faster than at least a quarter of the league. He needs to find a team that plays at an uptempo pace where he won’t be asked to do more than finish the occasional fast break.
Maybe the Cleveland Cavaliers were on to something when they had LeBron in town as Drew Gooden marks the second former teammate of LBJ’s to make this list. All sarcasm aside, Gooden is a big body that knows how to operate in the paint. If size is still a problem for the Heat this year, and the Indiana Pacers sure have a lot of it, adding a player like Gooden could help ease their pain in the post.
Joel Pryzbilla is the definition of a journeyman having played for a total of five teams in his 13-year career. The signing of Greg Oden and Chris Andersen in the past two years shows that the Heat are looking to shore up their interior, especially defensively. If Oden can’t fend off the injury bug, Pryzbilla could be a viable option to pick up those minutes that were originally designated for Oden.
What do you think?
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