As Miami Heat fans watch their team get a little taste of the injury bug hitting Michael Beasley (hamstring), LeBron James (ankle) and Dwyane Wade (knee) the thought has to cross their minds that this could be the last ride for this squad as it’s constructed.
And no, I am not talking about the Big Three. Chris Bosh, James and Wade will make their own decisions at the end of the season. It’s the other 12 players that Pat Riley will have to decide what to do with. Well, 8-10 to be exact.
Role players like Norris Cole and Chris Andersen are locked into contracts for next season while others like Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem will have the option of whether or not to rejoin the team. Anthony is likely not to go anywhere because no other organization will be offering him $3.8 million. On the other hand, there is a chance that Haslem could choose to venture somewhere else for more playing time, like many of the other Heat players may have to do.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman broached the subject when asked if Miami’s loyalty to bench-warmers would be a burden to their ability to make late-season additions:
“I think they [the Heat] ride out the approach through the end of the season, then can part amicably when many of the contracts expire. I think there will be a significant thinning out this offseason to allow for new, and potentially younger, talent.”
And two players that you can bet Miami will be moving on from are Ray Allen and Shane Battier.
Sure, their production has been down from last year and they have not been hitting nearly as many threes, but their slumps won’t be the reason that they leave. Allen has hinted about the end coming when his contract was up, and Battier makes it no secret that this is his final year, so you can bank on him going “til the wheels fall off.”
Hate it or love it, the 2014-15 Heat will feature a ton of new faces — Big Three or not.
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