Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Turning up the Heat in Free Agency

For the NBA fans who can't get enough basketball talk, fear not. Free agency started at midnight last night, and fans abound are fantasizing about who their favorite team will pick up in order to make them a championship contender this season. In all reality however, most fans are looking forward to the free agency of next year. The 2010 free agency could potentially see LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki, Carlos Boozer, Manu Ginobili, Amare Stoudamire, and Michael Redd among other names. I say potentially because a lot of things could happen in the next year as far as trades and contract extensions go.

Next year's free agency is most certainly going to affect the moves that teams make this year. They could choose to not make any major moves in order to save money for next year. This honestly could be the biggest free agent market in the history of the NBA.

This is in contrast to this free agency season, which honestly is one of the years that you actually do not want to be a free agent. The highlights of this class include Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva, Jason Kidd, Rasheed Wallace, Trevor Ariza, Lamar Odom, Hedo Turkoglu, and Andre Miller. A very solid group of players, but nothing close to what could happen this time next year.

(Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva are reported to have signed with the Detroit Pistons)

Why I'm writing this, however, is specifically referring to the Miami Heat's situation in this offseason, the 09-10 season, and next offseason. I personally think that there is a very good chance that it go one of three ways: really good, really bad, or stay the same. It sounds so simple, but in fact it could be very complex.

The dream scenario for Heat fans would be to get a big man along the lines of Bosh or Stoudamire to go along with Wade. That way, the Heat would have two big-time players, which is essentially what you need in order to be a legitimate championship contender.

There are problems in trying to get these superstars. One would be, in the case of a trade, who is Miami willing to part with? In all likelihood any trade for either of those two big men would involve Michael Beasley, the second pick from the 2008 draft. Are Heat fans willing to do what could essentially be called trading away your future for the present? Keep in mind that the Heat would probably have to give up another bench player and a draft pick possibly to get someone of the caliber of Bosh or Stoudamire.

Something else to keep in mind is since those players would be unrestricted free agents at the end of next season, a trade for them would definitely have to include signing them to a long-term deal. Do the Heat have that kind of money? They are saving money this offseason, but that is also in the hopes of re-signing Wade. As we all know, that won't be cheap itself. The biggest question will be this, will there be enough money in Miami to sign a Chris Bosh and re-sign Dwyane Wade? People also have to keep in mind that Bosh has already openly expressed that he wouldn't mind playing with King James, and James said he wouldn't mind playing with Wade. In all honesty, I don't see Wade playing with James down here. The only way that happens is if Wade County is on the move.

The Heat fans may also have to look at the harsh reality that Wade could be on the move next offseason. If the Heat have another average season or anything around there, including a first round exit, then Wade could really look at his options out there. Other teams with more money will be more than willing to throw money at Wade. A team like the New York Knicks or New Jersey (soon to be Brooklyn) Nets could have the salary cap space to afford Lebron and D Wade. These are things that Heat fans definitely do not want to hear, but it is very possible.

What could happen this offseason is the Heat go out and pick up a solid big man, maybe like a Rasheed Wallace, Glen Davis, or Chris Andersen. That would allow Udonis Haslem to go back to his natural position of power forward. They also need to get Michael Beasley on the court to allow him to show his potential. In the mean time Heat fans, enjoy the ride for this season, because none of us know what will happen beyond that.

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