James Ennis allowed the Heat to push back his guarantee date.
They’ll use that opportunity to give him a little more competition for the regular-season roster.
Shams Charania of RealGM:
The Heat have 12 players with guaranteed salaries plus Hassan Whiteside, who’s a lock to make the team. Benson will compete with Ennis and Tyler Johnson ($422,530 guaranteed) for the final two regular-season roster spots.
Benson is a 6-foot-11 center with good timing for blocking shots. The Hawks drafted him No. 48 in 2011, and he played a few games for the Warriors the following season. The Michigan native has played in the D-League and overseas since.
The Heat have several players capable of playing center – Whiteside, Chris Bosh, Chris Andersen and Amar’e Stoudemire. Udonis Haslem and Josh McRoberts could even play the position in certain small-ball lineups.
Unless Miami trades Andersen, it’s hard to see Benson sticking over Ennis or Johnson, who play positions of greater need. Most likely, the Heat waive Benson and assign his D-League rights to their affiliate. Because he hasn’t played in the D-League in two years, he’s a D-League free agent and eligible for assignment.
Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside.
One of the NBA’s most-complete starting lineups or one of the league’s best players?
We’re on track to witness the debate this Christmas.
Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald:
The Heat are mainstays on the NBA’s Christmas schedule. They’ve played the last six years and 10 of the last 11.
The Pelicans, on the other hand, have just one Christmas game in franchise history – a 20-point loss to the Magic in 2008. Even if you count their time in Charlotte, which you shouldn’t, that’s the franchise’s only Christmas game.
This would be a cool old-vs.-new matchup, and Davis is perfect representation of new. He excelled last season in his first playoff appearance, and he deserves national attention again.
If you haven’t been following Bobby Marks this summer on Twitter… you call yourself an NBA fan? The former Brooklyn Nets front office executive has been bringing first-hand, insightful front office thoughts and knowledge to the Twitter table all through free agency. He’s now an NBA must follow.
Sunday morning he put up a series of tweets showing how every team has built its roster using three categories: Draft, trades, and free agency. (For clarification, he counts draft-day trades of rookies as part of the draft.) I thought this was too good not to pass along.
One big takeaway — the draft matters. A lot.
Sure, much of the Spurs contending roster came via free agency, but look who is in the draft column — Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili. The Clippers are not where they are without drafting Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. The Warriors drafted Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. The Thunder drafted Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Yes, the Cavaliers got LeBron James via free agency but does he come if they don’t draft Kyrie Irving? Maybe the most extreme example is the Pelicans, they have only one drafted player on the roster — Anthony Davis.
Fans love trades, and you can get cornerstone pieces that way (James Harden, Chris Paul, Marc Gasol, Carmelo Anthony, etc.). Free agency is exciting and sometimes big names like LeBron, Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, or LaMarcus Aldridge move teams. But the draft is where most teams that have a cornerstone player got them. Winning the draft and holding on to those guys is what matters more than anything else.