It was not too long ago that the San Antonio Spurs nearly ended the “Big 3″ era for the Miami Heat and deemed Lebron James a liar for promising more rings than he has fingers. All thanks to a shiny-headed veteran, James’s promise and the “Big 3″ remain intact. The shiny-headed veteran Ray Allen will return for another season in South Beach, but Miami made some questionable moves in the NBA offseason.
With James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh under contract, the Heat have very little financial wiggle room. Many key components will return this season, but General Manager Pat Riley and Owner Micky Arison failed to address Miami’s biggest problem: their lack of an inside presence.
The Heat struggled all season on the inside. They ranked 30th in rebounding and struggled against Roy Hibbert and the Indiana Pacers in the playoffs. So Riley and Arison took a big gamble and signed the deteriorating 7-footer, Greg Oden. Oden signed a two-year contract worth roughly $2 million.
Oden is like that old car your parents give you when you get your license. The car has been patched together so many times that it is one blown gasket away from the junkyard. Since being drafted in 2007, Oden has played a grand total of 82 games and has had microfracture knee surgery three times. He has not played since 2009 and his health is as big of a question as Bosh’s low-post game.
On top of signing a crumbling tower that has only proved he is as fragile as glass, Miami released veteran Mike Miller. Miller, who was a crucial part of Miami’s two titles, was released mainly on financial reasons. The Heat were projected to pay around $33 million in luxury tax. Waiving Miller saved Arison nearly $17 million.
It is easy to understand why Miller was let go from a financial standpoint, but it was a bonehead move from a basketball standpoint. Miller did struggle with injuries the last two seasons but he was arguably a bigger factor in the finals than Bosh was. After watching the near collapse of the “Big 3″, one might think that Arison would be willing to spend a little money. After all, Miller could sink a shot with one sneaker. Oden might break a knee trying to tie his shoes.
After dissecting Miami’s offseason, it is time to give the defending champs a grade. The return of 95% of the roster deserves an A. The waiving of Miller and signing of Oden should receive an F, but gets a D because of the slight chance Oden could have an impact. After accounting for the unknowns of Wade’s health and Bosh’s inside presence, Miami earns an offseason grade of C+. As usual, it is a championship season or bust for the Heat.