Shabazz Napier: Future Heat Player?

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As we close in on the 2014 NBA Draft, fans from around the league want to know who their favorite teams are going to target come Thursday night. For the Miami Heat, the answer to that question seems to be Shabazz Napier.

Napier, a point guard out of UConn, is exactly the type of player Heat president Pat Riley likes to have on his team. Having played all four years during his college days, Napier is already set to transition into the pros, having spent enough time mastering the game and perfecting his craft. He has won two national championships in 2011 and 2014, the latter in which he was named both American Athletic Conference Player of the Year and the tournament’s most outstanding player. He averaged 18 points and 5.8 rebounds this past season, gradually improving each year.

In fact, reports allege that Riley flew to work Napier out, trying to convince the Huskies talent to stop training so that he would fall in rankings as Miami has the No. 26 pick. Unfortunately, this is near impossible as teams like the Orlando Magic (No. 12), the Atlanta Hawks (No. 15), the Chicago Bulls (No. 16) and so on are all considering drafting Napier.

Riley would not be the only one impressed with Napier’s efforts however; this past April, LeBron James himself tweeted “No way u take a PG in the lottery before Napier.”

It is unlikely that the Heat will be able to move up in the draft either, with only the 26th pick and Norris Cole to offer. And getting rid of Cole would be a huge mistake. The team does not even have a first-round pick from next season to give, as the Cleveland Cavaliers have Miami’s if it falls between 11-30.

But having put all of this on the table, with James having just opted out of his contract, and everyone still waiting on news from Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, truth be told, the draft may not even be too high on the Heat’s radar currently.

Tune into ESPN at 6 p.m. CT to catch all the happenings of the 2014 NBA draft. 

LeBron James Has Opted Out

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ESPN was first to break the news this morning that LeBron James has officially decided to opt out of his contract with the Miami Heat. Since then, James’ fans and haters alike have been speculating as to what this could mean, and what effect it would have on Miami’s future. Ah, the circus that is NBA free agency.

The facts:

James was supposed to earn $20.5 million next season and $22.1 million in 2015-16.

Now he has three choices. He can either sign a five-year maximum deal with the Heat for roughly $130 million, sign a deal for less money and less time with the team, or sign a four-year deal worth up to $96 million with another team.

In other words, James opting out does not necessarily mean he is going anywhere.

What else you should know:

Teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have yet to come forward with their own courses of action.

James has not yet set up any meetings, but may do so after July 1.

James has always valued winning championships over everything; therefore, it is unlikely that money is acting as the main motivator for any of his decisions.

The photo that James’ wife Savannah posted on her Instagram, is probably not an indication of anything more than her excitement to go back home for the summer.

In James’ own words:

“Being able to have flexibility as a professional, anyone, that’s what we all would like,” he stated last week. “That’s in any sport, for a football player, a baseball player, a basketball player, to have flexibility and be able to control your future or your present. I have a position to be able to do that. … There’s a lot of times that you’re not in control of your future as a professional.”

Although the dramatics of this offseason may not send the league into as much chaos as “The Decision” did, I am willing to bet things are still going to get crazy, and soon. Buckle up folks, the ride is about to start.

Heated Topics

The 2014 NBA Draft is right around the corner, and who the Miami Heat go after may be an indication of what is expected to happen with the current lineup, come next season.

5 things to know about Miami’s offseason.

Draft may be a good way to replace Mario Chalmers.

Heat have several voids to fill before next season.

According to Pat Riley, 2013 draft pick James Ennis has a bright future.

Word on the street is Miami may trade its pick for Iman Shumbert.

Right now, Kyle Anderson would be best-case scenario on draft night.

Mock drafts are coming in steadily.

Stay tuned for more on this year’s draft as Thursday night approaches.

2014 NBA Free Agents

As we all know, free agency is upon us (starting July 1) so I thought it might be helpful to provide a full list of available players:

Jeff Adrienforward, player option

Cole Aldrich, center, unrestricted free agent

Lavoy Allen, forward/center, unrestricted free agent

Ray Allen, guard, unrestricted free agent

Al-Farouq Aminu, forward, unrestricted free agent

Chris Andersen, forward/center, player option

Alan Anderson, guard, player option

Carmelo Anthony, forward, early termination player option

Joel Anthony, forward, player option

Trevor Ariza, forward, unrestricted free agent

Darrell Arthur, forward, player option

D.J. Augustin, guard, unrestricted free agent

Gustavo Ayon, forward, unrestricted free agent

Leandro Barbosa, guard, unrestricted free agent

Andrea Bargnani, forward, early termination player option

Jerryd Bayless, guard, unrestricted free agent

Aron Baynes, forward, unrestricted free agent

Kent Bazemore, guard, unrestricted free agent

Michael Beasley, forward, unrestricted free agent

Chauncey Billups, guard, team option

DeJuan Blair, forward, unrestricted free agent

Steve Blake, guard, unrestricted free agent

Andray Blatche, forward, player option

Eric Bledsoe, guard, restricted free agent

Matt Bonner, forward, unrestricted free agent

Trevor Booker, forward, unrestricted free agent

Chris Bosh, forward, early termination player option

Avery Bradley, guard, unrestricted free agent

Elton Brand, forward, unrestricted free agent

Aaron Brooks, guard, unrestricted free agent

MarShon Brooks, guard, unrestricted free agent

Caron Butler, forward, unrestricted free agent

Rasual Butler, guard, unrestricted free agent

Andrew Bynum, center, unrestricted free agent

Vince Carter, guard, unrestricted free agent

Mario Chalmers, guard, unrestricted free agent

Jason Collins, center, unrestricted free agent

Darren Collison, guard, player option

Jordan Crawford, guard, restricted free agent

Jae Crowder, forward, team option

Dante Cunninghamforward, unrestricted free agent

Jared Cunningham, guard, unrestricted free agent

Troy Daniels, guard, team option

Ed Davis, forward, unrestricted free agent

Glen Davis, center, player option

Nando De Colo, guard, unrestricted free agent

Luol Deng, forward, unrestricted free agent

Boris Diaw, forward, unrestricted free agent

Toney Douglas, guard, unrestricted free agent

Chris Douglas-Roberts, guard, unrestricted free agent

Tim Duncan, forward, player option

Jordan Farmar, guard, unrestricted free agent

Jimmer Fredette, guard, unrestricted free agent

Channing Frye, center, player option

Francisco Garcia, guard, player option

Pau Gasol, forward/center, unrestricted free agent

Rudy Gay, forward, player option

Drew Gooden, forward, unrestricted free agent

Ben Gordon, guard, unrestricted free agent

Marcin Gortat, center, unrestricted free agent

Danny Granger, forward, player option

Aaron Gray, center, unrestricted free agent

Jordan Hamilton, forward, unrestricted free agent

Al Harrington, forward, unrestricted free agent

Devin Harris, guard, unrestricted free agent

Udonis Haslem, forward, player option

Spencer Hawes, center, unrestricted free agent

Gordon Hayward, forward, restricted free agent

Xavier Henry, forward-guard, unrestricted free agent

Jordan Hill, forward-center, unrestricted free agent

Kirk Hinrich, guard, unrestricted free agent

Ryan Hollins, center, unrestricted free agent

Robbie Hummel, forward, unrestricted free agent

Kris Humphries, forward, unrestricted free agent

Bernard James, center, unrestricted free agent

Damion James, forward, unrestricted free agent

LeBron James, forward, early termination player option

Richard Jefferson, forward, unrestricted free agent

Jonas Jerebko, forward, player option

Grant Jerrett, forward, team option

James Johnson, forward, unrestricted free agent

Wesley Johnson, forward-guard, unrestricted free agent

James Jones, forward, unrestricted free agent

Chris Kaman, center, unrestricted free agent

Ryan Kelly, forward, unrestricted free agent

Andrei Kirilenko, forward, player option

Rashard Lewis, forward, unrestricted free agent

Shaun Livingston, guard, unrestricted free agent

Kyle Lowry, guard, unrestricted free agent

Shelvin Mack, guard, unrestricted free agent

Shawn Marion, forward, unrestricted free agent

Cartier Martin, forward, unrestricted free agent

Kenyon Martin, forward, unrestricted free agent

Josh McRoberts, forward, player option

C.J. Miles, guard, unrestricted free agent

Darius Miller, forward, unrestricted free agent

Mike Miller, forward, unrestricted free agent

Patty Mills, guard, unrestricted free agent

Nazr Mohammed, center, unrestricted free agent

Greg Monroe, center, restricted free agent

E’Twaun Moore, guard, unrestricted free agent

Anthony Morrow, guard, player option

Byron Mullens, center, player option

Toure’ Murry, guard, unrestricted free agent

Dirk Nowitzki, forward, unrestricted free agent

Jermaine O’Neal, center/forward, unrestricted free agent

Greg Oden, center, unrestricted free agent

Emeka Okafor, center, unrestricted free agent

Jannero Pargo, guard, unrestricted free agent

Chandler Parsons, forward, team option

Patrick Patterson, forward, unrestricted free agent

Paul Pierce, forward, unrestricted free agent

Zach Randolph, forward, player option

Jason Richardson, guard, player option

Luke Ridnour, guard, unrestricted free agent

Brian Roberts, guard, unrestricted free agent

Nate Robinson, guard, player option

Brandon Rush, guard, unrestricted free agent

Mike Scott, forward, unrestricted free agent

Thabo Sefolosha, guard, unrestricted free agent

Kevin Seraphin, center, unrestricted free agent

Ramon Sessions, guard, unrestricted free agent

Chris Singleton, forward, unrestricted free agent

Jason Smith, center, unrestricted free agent

James Southerland, forward, unrestricted free agent

Lance Stephenson, guard, unrestricted free agent

Rodney Stuckey, guard, unrestricted free agent

Garrett Temple, guard, unrestricted free agent

Adonis Thomas, forward, unrestricted free agent

Isaiah Thomas, guard, restricted free agent

Anthony Tolliver, forward, unrestricted free agent

PJ Tucker, forward, unrestricted free agent

Hedo Turkoglu, forward, unrestricted free agent

Evan Turner, guard, unrestricted free agent

Ekpe Udoh, center, restricted free agent

Beno Udrih, guard, unrestricted free agent

Greivis Vasquez, guard, unrestricted free agent

Jan Vesely, forward, unrestricted free agent

Charlie Villanueva, forward, unrestricted free agent

Dwyane Wade, guard, early termination player option

Earl Watson, guard, unrestricted free agent

DJ White, forward, unrestricted free agent

Marvin Williams, forward, unrestricted free agent

Mo Williams, guard, player option

Nick Young, guard, player option

Note: restricted free agency means the team that owns the player’s rights may match his offer. 

Free Agency: Anthony or Lowry?

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The Miami Heat still have a lot to decide internally, but this has not stopped NBA fans across the globe from voicing their opinions on what Miami’s next big move should be. Although free agency does not technically begin until July 1, there are two key players that the Heat seem to have their eye on and have begun to possibly pursue. I have my own set of ideas as to what would be best for Miami and it’s upcoming season, but I also want to know how you all feel.

So should the Heat look to add Carmelo Anthony or Kyle Lowry? Or is there another top talent that should make it into their rotation? Voice your opinion via the poll and/or a comment below!



Miami Heat: By The Numbers

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With their season having ended this past Sunday night, the Miami Heat cannot relax just yet. Between the NBA draft happening June 26 and free agent negotiations starting on July 1, the Heat have a lot to consider moving into this next year.

There has been a lot of speculation regarding what the team will look like a few months from now, based on everything from mere logic to reading between the lines of what players themselves have stated. However, right now, all that we can be sure of are the numbers. Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh all currently have early termination clauses on their contracts. With this said, if James and Bosh were to opt in, they will make $20.16 million next year and $22.1 million during the follow one. Similarly, Wade would rake in $20.16 million this upcoming season and $21.7 million during the next.

As for Udonis Haslem, he is projected to make $4.62 million next year but also has an opt-out clause. Chris Andersen has a player option set for $1.45 million, but is expected to bypass this in order to become a free agent. Assuming this is the case, joining him in free agency are Mario Chalmers, Toney Douglas, James Jones, Michael Beasley and Greg Oden. Rashard Lewis is currently also on the market however, along with Ray Allen, he is not sure he will take his NBA career any further. And of course, there is Shane Battier, who has already announced his retirement.

On the other hand though, Norris Cole is sticking around for slightly over $2 million and Justin Hamilton has a non-guaranteed deal of roughly $816, 482. As it is hopefully becoming clearer now, there are a lot of things up in the air currently concerning the state of this organization. The NBA’s salary cap for the 2014-2015 season is said to be set at $63.2 million, with a tax level of $77 million. The Heat have paid tax for three out of the last four seasons. Let us pretend that each of the members of the Big Three opt in. This will once again bring Miami above the cap, to an approximate value of $3.3 million in terms of a taxpayer mid-level exception; therefore limiting their veteran minimum to $1.4 million.

In this case, they can probably forget about bringing in coveted free agents such as Carmelo Anthony, Pau Gasol, or  Kyle Lowry. However, if the Big Three opt out of their current contracts, Wade would be earning about $87.2 million over four years and James and Bosh are likely to gain $115.1 million over five years; all of which are obviously outrageous figures, especially regarding Wade and Bosh. Therefore, the team’s best bet would be for Wade, James and Bosh to opt out and return for less money, the same going for Haslem. Of course, there is also the possibility that one of the Big Three will decide to leave, in which case the Heat would probably extend their cap to the minimum. Although personally I see the three of them continuing to work towards at least another championship together, there is no denying that something about this season felt different, if not off.

“I don’t think anybody really enjoyed this season like in years past,” Bosh told The Associated Press. “There was no, like, genuine joy all the time. It seemed like work. It was a job the whole year.”

Heat president Pat Riley and the rest of the front office have a lot to figure out over the next couple of months, starting with making sure their star players are happy. It seems as though not just free agents but also certain Miami players will have to be wooed all over again, to make sure next season’s team is up to par.

Heated Topics

As I spent Sunday evening with my family, celebrating the fact that I just earned my Master’s Degree, the Miami Heat faced the San Antonio Spurs in Game 5 of the 2014 NBA Finals. Unfortunately, by the end of the night, the Heat failed to have something of their own to celebrate, their dream of a three-peat fading in the distance.

Taking a 4-1 series lead over Miami on Sunday night, the Spurs became champions.

The grades are in for the Heat’s performance in Game 5.

LeBron James not to blame for series loss.

The Big Three as a unit left more to be desired during this series.

“Defense wins championships” cliche still holds true.

Despite their recent loss, the Heat are already favored to win next year’s championship.

San Antonio were playing like winners, way before the finals.

Manu Ginobili among those to thank for San Antonio’s road to success.

Spurs’ assistant coach Sean Marks unsure of his future.