UNDER CONTRACT: F LeBron James, F-C Chris Bosh, G Dwyane Wade, G-F Mike Miller, F Udonis Haslem, G Mario Chalmers, G Ray Allen, F Rashard Lewis, C Joel Anthony, F James Jones, F Shane Battier, G Norris Cole, C Dexter Pittman, F Josh Harrellson, G Terrel Harris, C Mickell Gladness, G Garrett Temple
DRAFT PICKS: F Jarvis Varnado (2010)
FREE AGENTS: F Juwan Howard
MOVES: Already in supertax territory and projected to stay there for several years, the champion Heat did not have the financial flexibility to sign any big free agents. But they got one anyway when they convinced Ray Allen to take less money to leave Boston and come to Miami for $9.3 million over three years. Allen was offered $12 million over two years by Boston but apparently no longer wanted to play alongside Rajon Rondo and did not want to hear his name in trade rumors, which Miami assured him will not happen. On a smaller scale, the Heat also reeled in Rashard Lewis with a veteran’s minimum two-year, $2.75 million deal. Lewis, who already has $13.7 million coming from New Orleans in a buyout, is done as a starter in this league but would not be a bad fit coming off Miami’s bench, standing at the arc and firing away. It’s kind of hard to imagine him keeping up with the defensive rotations, though. Another option as a stretch 4 is Josh Harrellson, who made threes and rebounded in his limited minutes as a rookie with New York last season. His deal is not guaranteed, however, so he has to make the roster. So do 2011 bit players Mickell Gladness and Terrel Harris, 2010 second-rounder Jarvis Varnado and former Spur Garrett Temple, who have been invited to training camp.
TO-DO LIST: Having added Harrellson just days before training camp – after looking at Chris Andersen and Hassan Whiteside - the Heat illustrated that they know they can get better. The current roster reflects a total commitment to small ball, with Chris Bosh preparing to play many minutes at center and no true trustworthy pivot. There may be times during the season where the Heat look like they need a big man who can walk and chew gum at the same time, but the small-and-quick formula produced a title last season, so it is hard to argue Miami’s approach. There was a possibility that the oft-injured Mike Miller would not be returning, but he is healthy – for now – and planning to return.
PROJECTION: There may be issues finding 30 minutes per game for Allen, and Miami may get pushed around from time to time. But let’s remember that the Heat won the championship and already have added Allen and Lewis, which makes them the favorites to repeat.
(RELATED: What grade did the Heat get?)
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