Can The Miami Heat Keep It One Big Happy Family?
Six Free Agents To Sign If Things Go Wrong
Now that all of the confetti and Gregg Popovich Game 6 conspiracy theories are out of the way, we can focus on how the Miami Heat can find the little pieces to keep things going.
It wouldn’t be a total rebuild but more like a retooling of role players to help the effort, similar to the three-peat dynasties of the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls. And the Heat know how to do it.
But after two years of free agency home runs with Ray Allen and Shane Battier, the question still remains; how can Pat Riley keep the team intact while getting a few hungry players at a discount?
It all starts with the guys in their own locker room. The Heat have three key cogs in their rotation up for free agency and another who could be released starting with Allen who might opt-out of his two-year contract on Saturday.
"He's coming back," said teammate Chris Bosh via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "There's really nothing else to think about. That's just how I see it. There's only one decision to make; that's easy."
Bosh feels the same way that most of us do. The only way that we can see Allen leaving South Beach is if he’s ready to retire. And even then, he might not leave the scene — just the team.
Another big decision is whether they decide to keep their starting point-guard Mario Chalmers.
Although Rio has had his ups and downs, he always seems to come up clutch when everyone least expects it. His shooting ability and tendency to space the floor come off as the right fit for Dwyane Wade and LeBron James' attack the rim games. Kind of like the perfect DH for when your team’s sluggers aren’t hitting.
And with the free agent crop of point guards stuck on slim to none, Chalmers should have no problem keeping his little brother status.
However, the two biggest uncertainties come in the case of loyalty. Will Chris “Birdman” Andersen be loyal to the team that gave him a chance to get back in the league and succeed? And will the team stay loyal to Mike Miller after coming alive in two Finals appearances or hit him with the amnesty?
Scroll through the next six slides to see which free agents could be an upgrade if the Heat have to break up any parts of their happy family.
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Richard Nurse is a Miami Heat columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @blackirishpr.
Stephen Jackson is one of those free agents that can fit with the Miami Heat whether they lose a key player or not. His tendency to knock down shots and play hard nosed defense would be a welcomed addition against teams like the Indiana Pacers.
The only problem is trying to figure out if he would have an issue with the limited playing time.
The Crafty Spaniard
Jose Calderon has been known to give the Heat just as many fits as their own point guard, Mario Chalmers (when he's going bad), which makes him the perfect candidate to take Rio’s spot if the team doesn’t re-sign him. Leading the league in three-point percentage doesn’t hurt either.
The Blue Collar Worker
Although undersized, Paul Millsap's versatility and ability to rebound and bang with the league's biggest stars would make him an attractive option if Miami can't pull in the last face on this free agency slide.
Grit and Grind
It would be hard to get Tony Allen out of Memphis, but his no nonsense style of defense would go a long way in helping the Heat slow down the likes of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony.
Mr. Big Shot
Chauncey Billups made it known that he desperately wants to be a part of a championship team, so why not bring in another big bodied shooter who's never afraid of a big shot?
According to Greg Oden's agent, the former number one draft pick could finally be ready to suit up and make an impact after three and a half years off the court.
"The Heat need some size, that’s not a secret," Mike Conley Sr. told Fox Sports Florida. "Whether it’s in a backup role or whatever, he could help them. I know they’re interested in him and he’s interested in them."
If Oden is healthy his wide seven-foot frame could be exactly what the Heat need to put them over the top and ease past the Roy Hibbert's of the world.