The point guard rotation in Miami is clear-cut: Goran Dragic starts, Mario Chalmers comes off the bench, then second-year player Tyler Johnson will mop up any remaining minutes.
But as we noted before, Chalmers has been and remains available via trade. He’s been on the trade block since about when Don Johnson became the face of Miami police.
If a Chalmers trade happens, is Johnson ready to step up? That’s one of the big questions as the Heat head into training camp next month, reports Barry Jackson at the Miami Herald.
And with Tyler Johnson also cleared to return from his broken jaw sustained in Summer League (he has been working out in Delray Beach), the Heat is back to full strength a month before training camp. The Heat, incidentally, wants to take a long look at Johnson and Josh Richardson in training camp before deciding whether to make a renewed attempt to trade Chalmers.
If they can stay healthy, with Chris Bosh and Dragic running the show, the Heat very well could be a top-four team in the East. On paper they have a lot of talent, we just need to see how it all blends. Then, if they are on that kind of trajectory, would they want to trade Chalmers? Only if they have someone who can step in and take those minutes on without much of a drop-off.
Just something to watch as the Heat start to move toward the season. Because you can be sure Chalmers’ name will come up in trade rumors. Guaranteed.
There was a day when Amar’e Stoudemire was one of the most feared players, one of the toughest covers in the NBA. He was athletic, versatile, inside-out four long before that became trendy. He was a guy worthy of a max deal, he was a cornerstone player — if he could stay healthy.
The last four seasons the injuries have won out. Stoudemire has missed more than a third of the possible games he could participate in, and he hasn’t been the same explosive player when he did suit up (although he has remained efficient).
Stoudemire signed with the Miami Heat for this season and told the Associated Press he thinks he can bring back some of that vintage form.
“Just four years ago I was an MVP candidate and an All-Star,” Stoudemire said. “I feel like I can still get back to that All-Star level of play. If I can achieve that, then that’s going to help the team in its entirety. … I will accept whatever the role is.”
Whatever that role is, he’s trying to be realistic about what might happen. In case he needed to be humbled, fans are still confusing him with Chris Bosh.
“Stay tuned,” Stoudemire said. “At this point, I don’t know what I’m going to bring. My goal is to become a better player than I was last year, expand on what I did last year. I have a lot of skill set left in this body and I want to show that.”
Miami has a ton of potential up front — if everyone can stay healthy. Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside will start. Behind them is Josh McRoberts, Chris Andersen, Stoudemire and Udonis Haslem — all veterans who know how to play the game. It gives Erik Spoelstra interesting options, but he needs guys who can stay on the court this season.
If they do, and if the rotations come together, this could be the second best team in the East during the regular season.
There are rarely NBA trades in late August or September, and the ones that do happen can best be described as a minor shuffling of contracts.
Which means Heat fans should expect to see Chris Andersen and Mario Chalmers in uniform when the Heat open training camp next month. Both have long been part of trade rumors, and both have yet to be moved as there isn’t much of a market.
Expect that to continue as Heat training camp opens, reports Barry Jackson at the Miami Herald.
Though there is no absolute edict from owner Micky Arison to trim payroll (and that’s beyond Miami’s control to a large extent anyway), we’re told the Heat still would prefer to lower its looming tax bill, which would be around $23 million if Miami closes the upcoming season with this current roster.
Miami remains willing to dealing Chris Andersen (due $5 million) but hasn’t found much of a market for him, according to an NBA official who has been in contact with the Heat… The Heat expects to bring Mario Chalmers to training camp (as opposed to trading him first) but hasn’t ruled out trading him in October or beyond if it can find a taker, something it hasn’t been able to do to this point.
I wonder how big a mandate lowering the tax bill actually will be. Lowering those payments has been a concern for Arison in the past (it was one thing that ticked LeBron James off) and it should be more so now. Miami faces the repeater tax this season, which would mean for every dollar over the tax line ($84.7 million) they would pay $2.50 instead of $1.50. (That’s just for the first $5 million over the line, the penalties get harsher from there.) If the Heat don’t think they have a good shot to knock Cleveland off the top of the mountain, why pay that extra cash?
Chalmers has been on the trade block since roughly Grover Cleveland’s presidency and at some point another team will need a point guard and will take him on. Probably.
Andersen couldn’t care less if the Heat are shopping him. Still, with bigs always in demand around the league, the Heat will be patient and expect teams will come calling to take on the Birdman’s $5 million deal.
Golden State won its NBA title this year going small — Draymond Green at the five was not something the Cavaliers had an answer for. The two years prior, the Miami Heat won a couple of titles playing Chris Bosh at the five, spacing the floor with his jumpers.
Small ball works. Not for everyone — Green allows the Warriors to go small and not get hurt defensively — but it has proven to work with the right lineups.
Just don’t tell Miami center Hassan Whiteside that.
The Warriors Draymond Green saw that tweet and fired back.
Then they exchanged a couple more barbs.
Whiteside may want to note that the Warriors beat the Memphis Grizzlies to get to the Finals, and last I checked Marc Gasol was pretty good at scoring inside. Same with Zach Randolph. Didn’t do them any good. To be fair, part of it is the Warriors are versatile — they can go small, play bigger, and they remain very effective on both ends of the floor. But their core identity is smaller and faster.
For two years prior, even Whiteside’s own team leaned small to win — Chris Bosh as the five and LeBron James at the four for long stretches. It’s what created matchup problems for opponents. It’s what worked.
There will always be a place for a skilled big man in the game, but the old basketball adage “tall and good beats small and good” doesn’t always ring true anymore. Not if you have the right smalls.
Heat owner Micky Arison is potentially staring at the repeater tax — just tack an extra dollar on every dollar already taxed. For example, with the lowest tax rate (less than $5 million over the tax line of $84.7 million) the bill jumps from $1.50 per dollar to $2.50. To paraphrase Ron Burgundy, this escalates quickly.
The Heat are currently at $90.3 million in guaranteed salary, they just need to trim $5 million or so to get below the line. If you’re a contender well over the line (think Cleveland) you just bite the bullet as an owner, but if you’re just over the line why pay the extra?
Enter the Chris Andersen rumors — the Birdman makes $5 million a year. Throw in the emergence of Hassan Whiteside plus the return of Josh McRoberts, and the Heat could solve a lot of problems by moving Andersen. He has been linked to the Clippers for Jamal Crawford and other teams in deals that would lessen the Heat’s payroll (the Clippers trade is highly unlikely).
Do these rumors bother him?
The better question is, does anything bother him? Andersen sounded like a veteran who has been down the road before speaking to Ira Winderman at the Sun Sentinel.
“It’s a business, man,” Andersen, 37, said. “It doesn’t bother me one bit.”
Miami is going to do something to cut payroll and moving Andersen may be that thing. It likely doesn’t happen until camps open, teams get a look at their rosters, and one of them realizes they need to pay for a backup center. That’s when Pat Riley calls.
But whatever happens, it’s not going to bother Andersen. He’s good.