The Heat are already learning the perils of life without LeBron James.
Sure, they’ll miss LeBron’s production when the season begins. You don’t easily replace an all-time great player in his prime.
But LeBron also has an ability to attract high-profile teammates, even for small roles.
Former All-Stars Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Juwan Howard, Jamaal Magloire and Jerry Stackhouse and former top-10 picks Greg Oden, Michael Beasley, Eddy Curry and Erick Dampier passed through Miami in the last four years. The Heat might not have gotten those talented players in their primes, but they got talented players.
Undrafted rookie Tyler Johnson has reached an agreement on a free agent contract with the Miami Heat, a league source told RealGM.
Johnson, 21, had significant overseas offers, too, deciding to go with the Heat’s deal with an opportunity to make the regular season roster.
These are the type of players who sit on the end of the bench for nearly every team in the league. Even with LeBron, Miami had plenty of low-profile reserves.
It’s not even certain Johnson, who played at Fresno State, received any guaranteed money and will make the roster. He could be gone during training camp.
But the Heat are relying more on these marginal talents that previously. There’s more pressure to unearth gems and find rotation players where nobody else is looking.
Maybe Johnson can become one of those players, but his résumé is much thinner the ones Pat Riley is accustomed to seeing.