Miami’s bench may seem rather shallow, but the Heat are actually operating at the league’s maximum roster size. So when Erick Dampier became a top candidate for replacing the minutes and production of Udonis Haslem, that meant one thing: if Dampier was to be had, one member of the Heat would have to go. Jamaal Magloire, Jerry Stackhouse, Juwan Howard, and Dexter Pittman, were all playing out minimal one-year deals, but in a bit of a surprise, Miami elected to part ways with Stackhouse in spite of their limited number of playable wings.
Stack, to his credit, understands the decision and doesn’t hold it against his now-former team. From Marc Stein, writing for ESPN.com’s The Heat Index, here’s Stackhouse’s reflection on his recent release:
“I never really got a chance to have any impact on what was happening one way or the other,” Stackhouse told ESPN.com via e-mail. “They know that. “I really feel they had full intentions of [providing that opportunity], but the injury to [Udonis Haslem] coupled with being outrebounded and losing the paint game in all of the losses — and even a few of the wins — put the onus on addressing those issues as opposed to finding out how I could complement what was going on, which I fully understand.
“The business is the business. I have no complaints. I thank Pat Riley and the Miami Heat organization for giving me the opportunity, which allowed me to get in NBA condition [and] will definitely benefit me when another opportunity arises.”
Miami doesn’t need high-minute subs due to the presence of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, but shouldn’t they have more than Eddie House and James Jones available in case of injury? Particularly considering the minor tweaks that has already caused Wade to miss games during the regular season and preseason?
I guess Stack’s usefulness to the Heat will be re-evaluated if any more injuries arise, but for now, Miami is content to wait for Mike Miller’s return while working Dampier into the big man rotation. No one should question the logic of the Dampier signing; his combination of interior defense (both on-ball and help) and rebounding is an unquestionable boon for Miami. But given the Heat’s needs elsewhere on the depth chart, it’s a bit curious that they chose to part with Stack as opposed to the now redundant Jamaal Magloire.