When Pat Riley addressed the media at a press conference last week, he told everyone the Miami Heat didn’t need to rebuild, but simply retool. This, of course, assumes the team will be able to retain LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, who had a “summit” yesterday in Miami to discuss their future plans.
The Heat are in a tricky position. They’ll have to deal with LeBron’s impending free agency on July 1st, but also upgrade the supporting cast around him. Assuming the Big Three returns, depending on the paycuts they take, if any at all, the Heat may not have much money to pursue other free agents.
So, a reported list of players they’ll be interested in signing goes like this: Kyle Lowry, Trevor Ariza, Shawn Marion, Marvin Williams and Kendrick Perkins.
Lowry, Ariza and Marion fall into the same group of free agents who the Heat will likely be priced out of. Lowry was one of the top point guards in the league this season. The Toronto Raptors will be able to offer more money, and it’s a comfortable situation for the 28 year-old. This is the first opportunity at a big money contract for Lowry as well, so while the appeal of playing with LeBron is intriguing, does Lowry really want to leave money on the table for the opportunity? Ariza is coming off a career year in shooting, Marion is still a very effective defender. Both players will command a lot of interest from other teams.
The possibility of Williams and Perkins are less ambitious. Perk has declined in the last few seasons in Oklahoma City, to the point where he’s become unplayable against certain opponents, one of them ironically being the Heat. On paper, he would fill a need for Miami, to acquire an interior defender to play next to Bosh, but whether Perk can be effective at all is a serious question. He’s also due $9.1 million next year, so filling this specific need will not be cheap for the Heat.
And while we’re here, it bears mentioning that Perkins got upset at LeBron a few years ago when he got a little too excited on Twitter over this dunk:
In response to LeBron, Perk said, “You don’t see Kobe Bryant tweeting. You don’t see Michael Jordan tweeting. If you’re an elite player, plays like that don’t excite you.” If the Heat acquire Perkins, the most pertinent question will be whether the acquisition excites LeBron at all.
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